updated 09:15 pm EST, Thu December 2, 2010
Cable hints at Light Peak support
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for a new power adapter that integrates fiber optics for data transfer. Images associated with the filing appear to show a MagSafe connector modified to carry a single fiber-optic cable or multiple channels. Rather than terminating the cable at a power adapter, the system utilizes a data adapter with connections for USB, RJ-45, and DVI.
Although the patent filing does not explicitly refer to Intel's Light Peak technology, the revamped MagSafe adapter could presumably be used to support a number of data transmission methods based on optical transmission. A separate patent filing from Apple also referred to a data transmission line that would be able to operate on buses that do not supply power.
Light Peak promises speeds much faster than USB 3.0, with data transfer rates starting at 10Gb/s and scaling even higher as the technology continues to develop. The technology also aims to serve as a replacement for connections such as USB and HDMI, minimizing the number of ports built directly onto notebook housings.
Apple has yet to confirm plans to release a fiber optic-equipped MagSafe system. [via AppleInsider]