Intel Thunderbolt Technology, "developers will have a blast," apparently

Intel’s reputation pulled in somewhere around 75 journalists and analysts onto a briefing call last night, with an invite specifying nothing more than, “We can’t tell you what it’s about.”

This magical mystery call turned out to be the launch of Intel’s Thunderbolt (no relation to the kid), which is a new high-speed PC connection technology that runs at 10Gbps supporting both data and display on a single cable — with Apple as the first OEM to ship it in a new line of MacBook Pro laptops.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Intel to bring Thunderbolt technology to Mac users,” said Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Mac hardware engineering. “With ultra-fast transfer speeds, support for high-resolution displays and compatibility with existing I/O technologies, Thunderbolt is a breakthrough for the entire industry and we think developers are going to have a blast with it.”

Really? That’s cool, how? Actually, he didn’t say so much really.

Originally codenamed LightPeak, this next-generation data transfer interconnect has largely been previewed at the Intel Developer Forum conferences first appearing in 2009. The developer proposition being (if I’ve got this right) that with the explosion of HD-video and rich media, not only is a new level of data storage necessitated — but applications will need to support high speed multi-protocol & multi-format data transfer flows as well. If they are to perform efficiently that is.

Thunderbolt's simultaneous data and video throughput capability - courtesy Intel.jpg

Intel says that running at 10Gbps, Thunderbolt technology can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. “With Thunderbolt technology, Intel has delivered technology to help professionals and consumers work faster and more easily with their growing collection of media content, from music to HD movies. We’ve taken the vision of simple, fast transfer of content between PCs and devices, and made it a reality,” said Mooly Eden, general manager, PC Client Group, Intel.