ThunderBolt Peripherals Release: MacBook Pro Waiting Game

We’ve already brought you a lot of stories about the arrival of the new MacBook Pro 2011 line, which was announced and also released today. One of the newest features was the arrival of Intel Light Peak technology, now known as Thunderbolt, although there are no Thunderbolt peripherals available yet.

We’ve also reported on a hands-on experience with the new MacBook Pros, the new FaceTime HD camera, the pricing and also a comparison of specs against the MacBook Air models. We gave some detail about Thunderbolt in our earlier article but an article over on The Register by Chris Mellor goes into much more specific detail about how it all works. Mellor notes that up to 6 peripheral devices can be daisy-chained onto the dual-channel copper link.

Mac hardware engineering SVP, Bob Mansfield, said of Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, “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.” Intel claims that Thunderbolt will be the only connector necessary for use in ultra-thin laptops and it looks likely that it could also come to Windows PCs and also tablets.

However as we noted in our article about the hands-on experience and look at Thunderbolt, as there are no Thunderbolt peripherals available yet it has not yet been possible for those getting to take a look for the first time today, to fully test the new connection. However the makers of peripherals such as keyboards, external hard drives, digital cameras, docking stations and video cameras, would only have to add an Intel chip in order to make these devices compatible with Thunderbolt technology so you can bet these will start arriving shortly.

For now Apple has the only Thunderbolt-friendly devices but Intel apparently has partners such as Aja, Avid, Blackmagic, Western Digital and LaCie, already working on adopting Thunderbolt technology. All of this will likely lead to the production of literally billions of the Intel controller chip.

For yet more on Intel’s Thunderbolt there’s a very readable article over on PC Mag by Matthew Murray, which helpfully lists 10 things you need to know about it and also includes a YouTube video demonstration of Light Peak (Thunderbolt) technology from IDF 2010. For now though it’s definitely a MacBook Pro waiting game as we wait to see which Thunderbolt-compatible peripherals will come out first. What are your thoughts on Thunderbolt technology coming to the new range of MacBook Pros? Let’s have your predictions for which peripheral device might be released first by sending us your comments please?

  • Fred

    No peripherals but could you connect 2 MacBook Pro's together if you had them?

    • Tristan

      Target disk mode is guaranteed, but we're still waiting on things like migration assistant and the like.