ThunderboltIt's called Thunderbolt, and it was developed by Intel with some significant backing from other industry players. "But I just got used to USB 3.0," you say? Well look alive, son. Thunderbolt promises twice the speed of USB 3.0 -- 10 Gbps, to be exact. That's why Apple just put Thunderbolt in its new MacBook Pros. And unlike USB, that's promised bandwidth, not theoretical. Here are the details ...

Like Firewire before it, Thunderbolt delivers lighting-fast speed (if you'll pardon the pun) because it has a controller on each side of the connection. That's a little bit more expensive to produce (unlike the USB host-device relationship), but the trade-off is the speed. To get an idea how fast Thunderbolt is, a quick and dirty trick is to take the amount of bits, and divide that number by 8 to get the bytes per second. 10 Gigabits / 8 = 1.25 Gigabytes (that's capital GB) a SECOND. Translation? Your entire 64GB iPad (should it be full) can get synced in about a minute. (To be fair, some more conservative estimates that put it about 900MB a second.)

Excited yet? This is the future, people. Get amped.

Why should the channel care? It should be obvious. As storage needs increase, bottlenecks and bandwidth concerns are constantly cropping up. Obviously, Thunderbolt isn't going to displace huge fiber-optic data centers, but it's a new level of consumer-level connectivity that could change the way virtualization deployments are handled. Why?

Because Thunderbolt also can deliver video. In fact, Thunderbolt shares the same mini-display port socket, which -- when paired with the Thunderbolt chip -- can actually allow for a daisy-chain of up to six devices simultaneously. So, picture HD video, super-fast connectivity with a server and super-fast data downloads. Essentially, your thin client could be made up of one or two Thunderbolt chips, a few Thunderbolt ports and a few USB ports for good measure.

That simplification and consolidation of technology peripherals and ports has some very serious implications if it picks up and gets seriously adopted.

Check out Intel's press release on the details, and Apple's new MacBook Pros.

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