At the IDF right now, the big talk is about USB 3.0, and for good reason. It's a fantastic improvement to the current USB 2.0 technology, and it's now beginning to show its head in the consumer world. This may be a great improvement, but it certainly isn't all that technology enthusiasts have to look forward to in the future. Intel's just unveiled a new form of optical connector, dubbed Light Peak, capable of some pretty impressive things.
What makes this so special is that it can carry 10Gbps of data, both ways, simultaneously. Even better, it can carry data through cable that's up to 100 metres in length, with Intel hoping that the cable will progress to being able to transfer up to 100 gigabits per second in the future. Dadi Perlmutter, who is the co-general manager of Intel's Architecture Group, said that Intel hopes to just see one universal cable for computers a bit later on. The reason for this is because smaller laptops can have their usefulness hindered by the need for many cables attached to the sides, for various devices.
The cables are very durable, as people can quite happily tie knots with them and they still work perfectly. To make things better, Intel is planning to combine the technology with copper, so it can be used to power devices at the same time. The long-term vision of Intel's, as mentioned, is for Light Peak to become a universal port on computers, which would certainly be a good thing for most people.
If you're excited about this, which we hope you are, you'll still have to wait a little while for it to become available; Intel's working to standardize it currently, and the components needed for it will be available in 2010. That doesn't mean you'll see it on shelves by then, though.