Thunder: how did Thunderbolt

The first time it was shown at the developers conference Intel (IDF) on 23 September 2009. Shown and named “Light Peak”. To show used a 30-meter stand, but it was intended to connect mobile devices to all sorts of devices… Light Peak for 2009 was absolute fantastic, beyond good and evil. The technology of data transmission over a distance of one hundred meters, on two channels (in both directions, there and back), with a transmission rate of 10 Gbit/s per channel.

Jason Siller, head of the Optical I/O Program Office, Intel Corporation, on the words, said that Light Peak can transfer up to 100 Gbps simultaneously in both directions, at a distance of more than a hundred meters.

Cyclopean demo stand, it was much more modest – a little more than 30 meters, at the same time, transferred to two video stream (1080p) to two displays all traffic of the local network, the files on the SSD RAID from the computer and back. The computer was a Mac Pro (serial), USB ports, one of which was converted to a Light Peak port.

All this was transmitted through one cable, without any difficulty. The port Light Peak will replace USB ports, Firewire, Ethernet, and Mini DisplayPort. Port Light Peak through hubs or sequentially, it will be possible to connect up to 6 devices for any purpose, including up to two widescreen displays, drives…

All that remains of the Light Peak

Were, for example, experience is our man in that time. A few burrs in the text, something controversial – but generally the same person from time to time with the written agreement.

The guys from Engadget, who watched the presentation and had the opportunity to touch the Mac Pro and consider unknown to the masses plug new data transmission technology near was most interested in what will Intel for violation of the Apple EULA (license agreement this end user, anyone who bought a Mac and returned it back within a small period of time was considered as agreeing with the requirements of this agreement).

But in General – they are all impressed, especially the promise of Intel to release this technology in 2010 or 2011. I couldn’t believe it.

In 2014 or 2015 my friends from Apple began to leave the company. Your reasons for leaving they didn’t say, but some of the questions answered. One of them saw the project was born.

The idea originated in the team involved in the welding standard CPU into the case the very first MacBook Air. During the discussion of any question. Steve and Paul (Apple and Intel) appreciated the idea and began soon several Intel engineers left the project and instead of MacBook Air do “something else”. Participated in the project someone from Apple is unknown, but most likely Yes.

Steve had to be part of.


In 2010, revealed two new circumstances. Fiber optic cables stubbornly refused to meet immediately and to the maximum price, and the requirements for their properties.

But copper cable, which is used as a temporary replacement, exceeded expectations, and it was decided to rework the technology under it. And fiber save for the future.

Copper was all good, but no on the transfer of 100 meters, or about speeds of 100 GB/s speech could not be. But 10 Gbps per channel over a distance of 3 meters copper provided at one hundred percent, without a loss. And it was possible to transmit not only the signal but also energy. 10 Watts.

In 2010, Intel demonstrated a laptop with Light Peak, a video camera, and all sorts of other devices – all this has proved that the technology is not dead, but the real selling product was never released. The media began to chuckle.

Cables and connectors that the journalists were mistaken for the actual Light Peak, was the most insignificant part of a very difficult technology. As usual, at the finish line of problems began to grow with the speed of an approaching tsunami.

Problems arose even where they simply could not be (and some errors that cannot be solved, are not errors – it happens exactly at the finish line).

This is a sure sign of the coming victory. Unless, of course, no fool-chief and if you don’t give up.

The calm before the storm

The only company in the world who knew what Light Peak was Apple. And she was about to experience another brilliant idea for yourself. It was only later, when all know that everything went as it should, and turned, beginning to envy. In fact, it’s still fun.

Someone at Apple apparently Steve, drew attention to the discrepancy between the name of the subject: without optical fiber and optical technologies Light Peak will cause unnecessary questions.

So Light Peak became Thunderbolt, thunder. Intel stuck in solving problems in the proposal reacted sluggishly and gave consent to the registration of a trademark Thunderbolt on yourself.

Apple has decided to remake the single Thunderbolt port is not a USB connector as Mini DisplayPort. The first and most important application for the new technology was the connection of external displays. The port made compatible with displays supporting MDP for the rest (as before) required adapters.

There were other improvements. Finally, in February 2011, 24th…


Everything went well. Users grumbled, but making sure that almost all of the old, calmed down.

It seemed that the prediction about the death of USB doesn’t come to pass. Competition against Intel Intel was in no hurry to escalate. Firewire died, quickly and easily.

In the summer of 2011, Apple gave Intel the rights to the trademark Thunderbolt.

To be continued

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