Feb 242011

With the announcement of Apple’s new MacBook refresh came the debut of another revolutionary transport technology: the semi-awesomely named ThunderBolt. Developed in partnership with Intel the I/O is dual protocol (supporting both video and data transfer) and allows for bi-directional transfer rates of 10 GB/s. This is big for a couple of reasons:

1. It’s fucking fast. As in “transfer a BluRay movie in 30 seconds” fast; 20x faster than USB 2.0, and 12x times faster than FireWire 800.

2. Its supported by 2 tech super-heavyweights who are committed to its implementation across its product lines. This ain’t Apple’s implementation of FireWire in 1995.

3. Its support for multiple I/O’s and its support for daisy-chaining means fewer cables and ports – if you’re into that kind of look.

There’s a little something going on in North Carolina, however, that’s going to have a less obvious but nonetheless huge impact on Apple customers. You can bet there’s enough ThunderBolt running through Apple’s new server farm to string up the entire IT group of your average Fortune 500 company. When Apple’s glut of storage comes online, ThunderBolt will provide PCI Express interconnects much easier, cheaper and more energy efficiently. The geektastic description for such a use case from HPCWire here.

As usual, when Apple does something as big as introduce an entirely market-untested protocol like ThunderBolt, it’s not just one application they’re shooting for. My dream of ubiquitous content counts on it.

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