Apple’s new 2011 MacBook Pros come with a new hardware feature called Thunderbolt, Apple’s implementation of Intel’s Light Peak technology. Thunderbolt provides a new way to interface with external devices at blazingly fast speed, up to 12 times faster than FireWire 800.
Thunderbolt is integrated into the new MacBook Pro Mini Display Port. It is designed to connect multiple drives and devices, daisy chained together, and supports connecting a monitor with a DisplayPort connection at the end. Theoretically Thunderbolt is capable of driving multiple displays, but new displays will need to be developed to tap into that potential.
At the moment there aren’t any devices on the market that support Thunderbolt, however a variety of hard drives makers have announced plans to build new peripherals and storage products soon, and there will likely be dozens of devices out this summer.