While there are certainly fewer interfaces around today on the average computer than there were a decade ago, there are still too many. It’s all just data, why should it matter what kind of pipe it goes down? As long as it goes both was and can handle the bandwidth you need it to, you’re golden. Intel’s pushing down that road with Light Peak, though the ultimate end of it is, obviously, obsoleting the USB standard that they helped establish. In an interesting wrinkle, however, it appears that no one less than Apple (king of irritating alternative interfaces) has been prodding Intel into action for years now.
The idea of a single connector for your display, network adaptor, hard drive, and mouse seems crazy, but that’s only because we’re so used to the jungle of I/Os on the back of our machines. At 10Gbps, the optical Light Peak interface is faster than the latest SATA, and has the potential to go much faster. Hopefully it’s powered; there’s nothing on that at Intel’s site, but it’d be easy enough to adapt the consumer interface to include a power cable running parallel, I think.
In any case, Apple’s been pushing on Intel to make this happen, probably because they want to be the first to put it into use. They’ve collaborated for a while; Engadget has more of the history if you’re interested. I’m excited to see more of this technology.
Update: Just kidding! Looks like Engadget got it wrong, the poor dears.