According to IDG News, Intel announced yesterday that Thunderbolt developer kits would be making their way out to manufacturers within this quarter, opening up development for the fledgling standard. The technology, previously known by its code name 'Light Peak,' began shipping on the 2011 MacBook Pro line, replacing the mini DisplayPort socket of the previous iteration.
The fully backwards compatible specification, which was announced on the 24th of February this year, encompasses both DisplayPort and PCI Express in a dual-channel, high-speed interconnect. Promising speeds of up to 10 Gbps along copper cables, there's a lot of potential for products that require high-speed connections but a minimum amount of cables.
Companies including Canon, Matrox, AJA, LaCie and Western Digital have shown off products already, but none have made it to market as yet. Intel is hoping that by distributing developer kits, it can get a plethora of Thunderbolt-connected products hitting the shelves quickly, not just external hard drives, which is great news for MacBook Pro users.
The holy grail of the one connector to rule them all may be a little ways off just yet, but with a bit of luck, we'll start to see some decent uses for Thunderbolt, short of the standard DisplayPort connection, in the very near future.