Apple’s new high-speed interface may be called Thunderbolt

Apple Thunderbolt logoApple is expected to show off new Macbook Pro laptops on Thursday, and among their new features is a high-speed interface using Intel’s Light Peak technology. But it seems Apple won’t stick with the technical-sounding Light Peak name — instead, its new ports will be called Thunderbolt, Engadget reports.

The site points to some leaked specification lists and screenshots that list the Thunderbolt port. Instead of finding space for an entirely new port location on the Macbook Pros, it appears that the Thunderbolt port will replace the Mini DisplayPort connection on the laptops. That means the Thunderbolt connection will support high-speed data connections, as well as the ability to connect additional monitors to the Macbook Pro.

As VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi explains it, Intel originally proposed Light Peak as a fiber-optic connection to replace all of the cables that connect something to a computer. But initially, the usage for Light Peak looks more limited, and it will use copper wires instead of fiber-optic connections. The speed is faster than universal serial bus (USB) 3.0, carrying data at 10 gigabits a second in both directions at the same time. Sony is also expected to use Light Peak.

Given its speed and bandwidth capabilities, Light Peak was meant to serve as a single interface to juggle multiple functions. The protocol is smart enough to know what you’re intending to use it for — for example, it will function as a disk interface if you plug in a Light Peak-capable disk drive into your computer, but if you plug in a Light Peak monitor, it will instead function as a display interface.