Thunderbolt interconnect, a technology jointly developed by Apple and Intel which debuted February 24 on the new MacBook Pros, will become widely available to third-parties this quarter via the official development kit, Intel said yesterday. This is important for Mac users eager to take advantage of this technology.

Even though pundits had initially slammed Intel for limiting Thunderbolt to the new MacBook Pros, even saying this would spell doom for the new technology, the early release of an SDK means we can expect a lot of Thunderbolt-enabled products by the year’s end. In addition to Mac notebooks, Intel is working with other players to embrace Thunderbolt. At NAB 2011 several video and storage companion products from AJA, BlackMagic, Matrox, Sonnet, G-Tech, Promise and La Cie are being demoed.

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Intel is advertising Thunderbolt at NAB 2011 as a go-to solution for modern video and audio editing and content production. This will benefit Apple, which announced FinalCut Pro X yesterday. Thunderbolt is essentially built around PCI Express and is backwards-compatible with Display Port.

The first implementation is based on copper cabling that allows for 10Gbps throughput in both directions – enough to transfer a full-length, high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds. Fiber optic variant that ups transfer speeds to a whopping 100Gbps should roll out by the end of the decade due to high costs.

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