iPad 2 Light Peak: High-speed port refresh for tablet and MacBook Pro?

Apple's iPad 2 could be the first tablet to have a Light Peak port, it's been suggested, with persistent leaks showing what was initially interpreted as either a Mini DisplayPort or USB connection in fact being a hybrid USB 3.0 socket. MacRumors has led the speculation, highlighting the near-USB sized mystery port spotted on the leaked iPad 2 cases and the hybrid connectors Light Peak prototypes have been using.

As PC Pro reported in mid-2010, Intel's Light Peak development team had been using a hybrid connector that allowed for not only the new, high-speed technology but backward compatibility with USB ports together with a power supply. The modified plug wasn't certified by the USB-IF at the time.

Apple's interest in Light Peak has been cemented with a number of patents around the technology, including embedding an optical data system in a MagSafe connector. Rumors have also suggested that imminent MacBook Pro updates might replace one or more existing ports with Light Peak. If the speculation around the iPad 2 pans out, Apple could be leaving the second-gen slate with both a traditional dock connector – for compatibility with legacy notebooks and speaker-docks – and the new port for high-speed media transfers.