USB 3.0, the latest version of USB, is far slower than Light Peak with a signalling rate of 5G bps. But it remains much faster than the current version of USB. Still, USB 3.0 is not yet widespread in devices. That is partly because many PC manufacturers will wait on USB 3.0 until support is built directly into the chipsets they buy, which is only expected to happen late next year, according to a research note from In-Stat.
Intel, which is a major vendor of PC chipsets, did not immediately reply to a question about whether it will launch chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0. A spokesman for rival chip maker Advanced Micro Devices said the company will have chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0 but declined to say when.
When asked if Intel would build Light Peak support into its chipsets, Kahn said the company could do so if Light Peak spreads quickly, but declined to comment further.
Intel expects an industry group promoting Light Peak to launch next year, Kahn said. The company has said it will work with the industry to make Light Peak a standard and speed its adoption.
Intel is also looking at whether Light Peak will be relevant for data centers, but it has not reached conclusions yet, Kahn said.
Intel argues that existing electrical cable technology is approaching limits that optical technology can surpass.
"What we want to see over time is a crossover" from electrical to optical connectors, Rattner said.