February 28, 2011, 10:24 AM — The arrival of Apple's latest MacBook Pro models brings a brand new peripheral-connection technology from Intel—Thunderbolt—and with it the promise of faster data transfer speeds. But if Thunderbolt's going to deliver on that promise, peripheral makers will need to deliver products that take advantage of that technology.
[ See also: What you need to know about Thunderbolt ]
A smattering of companies have already unveiled products aimed at making the most of Thunderbolt. A few other that Macworld spoke to aren't revealing their plans just yet, though they did express interest in what the new technology has to offer.
To review, Intel developed Thunderbolt in conjunction with Apple. The connectivity technology will transfer data between host devices and external devices at speeds of up to 10Gbps. At that speed, you could transfer a full-length high-definition movie from an external storage device to your Mac in less than 30 seconds.
With Thunderbolt ports included in all new MacBook Pro models, the technology will soon be in the hands of consumers worldwide. And in a few cases, they won't have to wait too long for Thunderbolt-ready peripherals.
Intel and Apple had barely broken the news of Thunderbolt's arrival Thursday when RAID storage supplier Promise Technology announced its own plans for the connectivity standard. The company praised Thunderbolt's speed and "amazing flexibility for connectivity to high-performance peripherals" when announcing its own Thunderbolt-compatible high performance hardware RAID offering, Pegasus. Set for release in the second quarter of 2011 and designed for media and entertainment customers, Pegasus will feature two Thunderbolt ports and will be available in 4-bay and 6-bay aluminum enclosures with up to 12TB of storage.
"Once we were approached [by Intel] about this, it was a no-brainer," Promise product manager Billy Harrison told Macworld. "The performance, with 10 Gigabits, dual channel, bidirectional...that's extremely appealing."
Harrison sees a lot of potential for Thunderbolt in the portable market. "We're even looking into releasing carrying bags for the Pegasus, since the main launch vehicle is the MacBook Pro," he added. "People with small, mobile studios who use Final Cut, Adobe Photoshop, Maya 3D and other popular bandwidth intensive applications stand to benefit a lot from this technology."