The new Thunderbolt transfer interface designed by Intel which was recently introduced by Apple in its overhauled lineup of the latest MacBook Pro, could remain a feature exclusive to the products of Apple for quite some time according to Intel. The company released a press update moments after Apple released their new range of products, saying that the development kit for the interface is expected to be shipped to PC manufacturers by spring this year, however it doesn’t expect the Thunderbolt to be featured in OEMs before 2012.
The interface can’t actually be called an exclusive for Apple, but it comes very close to being so. This is a very big sweep for Apple, especially if Thunderbolt manages to catch on faster than USB 3.0 has done, since there is not much problem in rolling it out and plenty of applications are available for the interface. These are, of course, assumptions; Apple, however, most probably is a definite winner with this move.
Even though the prospect appears bright, there are some risks involved with Thunderbolt. Firstly, Apple has agreed to be almost a test subject for the release of the technology from Intel at the stage where it is a lot more expensive and not much more useful for casual users than the other options currently available. Apple, which was initially said to have contributed a lot to the development of the Light Peak project (internal codename for Thunderbolt), seems to be just playing the role of Intel’s test subject to judge the market since it is very obvious that the interface is primarily an Intel product. Apart from that, this new technology isn’t entirely in line with Apple’s traditional concept of what’s useful for the people. The company likes to keep things simple, and their favorite way of doing that is to create everything associated with their hardware themselves. This isn’t nearly applicable to the MacBooks yet as they sport the usual array of ports which appear on every laptop, and aren’t necessarily of Apple’s creation.