My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: MacBook Pro and Intel LightPeak - Thunderbolt and The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Friday, February 25, 2011

MacBook Pro and Intel LightPeak - Thunderbolt and The Fantastic Mr. Fox


I saw the Lightning’s gleaming rod
Reach forth and write upon the sky
The awful autograph of God.

Joaquin Miller, The Ship in the Desert

Thursday February 24 2011AD was indeed a day to remember – and was forecast correctly as per the article “Apple planning Major Product launch next week”, published February 18, 2011 5:23 pm By Jeff Bertolucci, PCWorld.

Thus my apologies to the author for placing his article in the same basket as the so-called journalists at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg and their spiel about a smaller Apple iPhone as dissected in my blog article entitled “Apple and the Cloud Phone - Cheaper by the Dozen and Up in the Air”.

And in reticence, guess you can trust the Mafia …er….I mean the Italian tech blog, iSpazio, who I have never heard of before, save to say they remind me of Marco Polo. Indeed, they may really be working for the Sicilian Mafia based on the Italian last name of the article author, who may just be a Mafia Journalist, La Cosa Nostra style. In that case Viva La Familia!

So it was true! Apple was planning an update of their MacBook Pro line of laptops, now confirmed in the article “Apple updates MacBook Pro line for 2011”, published February 24, 2011 5:53 AM PST by Dan Ackerman, Crave - CNET News, but the devil in this surprise low key launch as of course the details.

Apple and Intel jointly unveiled their latest partnership: MacBook Pros sporting Intel’s Sandy Bridge Processors and a new 10GBps capable Fiber Optic standard called Thunderbolt.

Now those of you who stumble across my blog who are ardent and fire breathing critics of my ramblings (for fans are for keeping you cool!) should recall that I had mentioned Intel and McAfee partnership being committed with the intention to integrate Anti-Virus into their chipsets as per my blog article entitled “Intel and LightPeak - Race towards the Sun”.

Since then of course the US$7.68 billion dollar deal has cleared EU (European Union) regulators as stated in the “Intel takeover of McAfee cleared by EU Regulators”, published 26 January 2011 last updated at 18:45 GMT by BBC News, thus putting clothes on my nubile naked arguments with regards to Intel’s baking of security into their products.

In that same blog article, however, I also pointed out that they would probably partnered with Microsoft to make an all optical motherboard and computer system, as their test for LightPeak, albeit conducted with an Apple Mac, would have a wide market for acceptability among Microsoft Windows users.

A totally new motherboard architecture based on on-board Fiber Optic connectors and LightPeak to replace all external connectors! Boy, do I love to dream: a machine like that would be the equivalent of driving a Bugatti Veyron! Super cool, super fast street legal online game playing brilliance powered by Intel. Everything would be fast, with even the processor being a Fiber-Optic based CPU/GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) hybrid. Oh, if it were real……I do so love to dream!

Snap back to reality folks! Look alive people!

This recent announcement, albeit not the dream I envisioned, is real close. The new Apple MacBook Pro line as laid out like a good poker hand of kings in the article “The New MacBook Pro”, viewed Friday February 25 2011 by Apple, however, still has the following new things worth admiring on their line of Apple MacBook Pros:

  1. 13” (US$1199)
  2. 15” (US$1799)
  3. 17” (US$2499)
First, under the hood.

The Apple MacBook Pro’s are packing Intel Sandy Bridge Processors inside, as stated in the article “Intel's sandy Bridge for laptops tested”, published January 12, 2011 10:03 AM PST by Dan Ackerman, CNET News - Crave, a slick take on their marketing ad campaign of the early decade of the 21st Century.

This of course, after having the much publicized problems sorted out by using people as guinea pigs to run through the mazes and check them out as stated in the article “Intel finds design Flaw in Sandy Bridge Chipset”, published January 31, 2011 10:13 AM by Agam Shah, IDG News, PCWorld.

The fact that this is a CPU/GPU, with the onboard Graphics being the Intel’s HD 3000 GPU integrated into the chipset, explains the name “Sandy Bridge”: two (2) teams of engineers, one charged with the design of the Intel CPU and the other for the GPU.

Working together to bridge the physical divide between the CPU and GPU, the engineers created this marvelous feat of engineering that considerably improves game playing as well as performances without increasing speed and improve power consumption, as GPU are more efficient than CPU. Sandy Bridge indeed!

FaceTime, which originally debut on the Apple iPhone 4, had now gone HD (High Definition) as per the spec sheet from Apple.

Even AMD is in on the partnership, with an AMD Radeon Graphics Card on the 15” and 17” models. Sweet!

But the best I save for last, being it is based on yet another prediction of mine: the MacBook Pro will come integrated with Intel’s LightPeak as promised and slyly hinted in the article Intel's Light Peak: One PC cable to rule them all”, published September 23, 2009 12:54 PM PDT by Stephen Shankland, CNET News - Deep Tech.

Intel’s LightPeak has rebranded ThunderBolt, a name implying how the strength and speed will “box yu’ cross yu face” as we Jamaican would say with its breathtaking super-fast 10GPps theoretical bi-directional Data Transfer protocol that is backward compatible with DisplayPort connector and effectively has the potential to replace ALL high speed connectors on you PC.

Yes, you read that right. I did not mis-speak.

All PC’s in the future will have all their connectors replaced by ThunderBolt. Currently, it is now a copper based connector system, oweing to the fact that as is, it has to be backward compatible with the HDMI (High Definition Media Input), USB 3.0, FireWire and Ethernet physical connections and protocol.

But the promise of latency free high speed Data Transfer rates, which currently can only reach 2GBps in real world applications, is still plenty faster than current Data Transfer speeds. So by the year 2015, this connector protocol in its full Fiber Optic glory (can Intel make its cable glow blue while transferring Data?) will be on all PC’s as well.

This based on the support resplendent in the rubbing of shoulders with such heavy hitters in the PC peripheral world, namely DVD-Burner maker LaCie and Harddrive maker Western Digital as stated in the article “Intel unveils Thunderbolt Data Transfer Tech”, published February 24, 2011 8:46 AM PST by Rich Brown, CNET News - Crave.

So expect in short order, the next set of Monitors, Laptops, Macs, Apple iPhones and Apple iPad to sport Thunderbolt. Not new, as Fiber Optic patch cables have been used for years on Telecom Provider Switch equipment. 

Never mind the Telecom Equipment Provider: Ericsson, Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent as I witnessed while working as a Network Maintenance Technician at Telecom Provider C&W (now Telecom Provider LIME!) had Microwave Radios, Telecom Switches and even Mobile Cellular antennas to use Fiber Optic instead of those cumbersome copper waveguides. Fitting, as both are waveguide technology! Even the 120GB Microsoft XBox 360 comes with Fiber Optic support!

In effect, Apple and Intel are actually going back to old haunts, as did the lead character in the movie The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) only to end up helping his fellow animals in his old forest neighborhood: PC Makers.

Even the line of Apple iPod, Apple iPod Nano, Apple iPod Shuffle and Apple iPod Touch will eventually sport the all Fiber Optic version of this rebranded LightPeak this coming refresh. PC users you will have to wait! As of now however, it would be good for ye to bid a fair adieu to proprietary HDMI (High Definition Media Input), USB 3.0, FireWire and Ethernet physical connections and protocol.

Thus my dream might come through, as the internal electronics of PC would slow down the faster ThunderBolt technology, necessitating an upgrade to this all-Fiber Optic design.

Also, by no means will ThunderBolt be the only game changer in the room in 2015. Also to debut in that year: 10GBps capable Wireless Broadband Protocol WiGiG, which is based on Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and PowerLine Broadband, which is based on the HomePlug AV (IEEE 1901) for Broadband over Power Lines as predicted in my blog article entitled Wi-Fi, LightPeak and PowerLine Broadband - The Young and the Restless”.

If I am alive in 2015AD, this blog article should confirm my dual prediction: Fiber Optic motherboard architecture and LightPeak aka ThunderBolt, WiGiG and PowerLine physical connectors and protocol ubiquitous on every electronic device.

But as for now, I, like most of the Apple-loving sheep, am giddy with excitement as this may mean that ThunderBolt may debut on the Apple iPad S as stated in the article “Apple issues March 2 invitations”, published February 23, 2011 11:07 AM by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, CNN Money Fortune!!! People, my blue shirt is pressed and ready and the date marked on my calendar.

Apple iPad Day: Wednesday March 2nd 2011………..
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