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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:12 PM   #1
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Third-Party Thunderbolt Docking Stations Remain Vaporware as Shipping Dates Pushed Back




More than a year after the debut of the Apple Thunderbolt Display, which incorporates a docking station function offering three USB ports, one Firewire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a second Thunderbolt port to enable daisy chaining, consumers are still looking for a similar product in a cheaper, standalone format that forgoes the expensive display included in the Apple product.

Belkin seemed to be the first third-party company to be preparing a standalone Thunderbolt docking station, showing off its prototype in September 2011 and soon after noting that it planned to launch the product in "spring 2012". In January of this year, Belkin revealed a redesigned docking station prototype, announcing that it would ship in September and be priced at $299. And by June, Belkin had revised its docking station again, adding HDMI and eSATA capabilities as well as upgrading to USB 3.0 ports, but also bumping the price to $399.99.

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock
At the time, Belkin was sticking to its launch timeframe of September 2012, but the company has since quietly updated its site and revised its June press release to quote a launch in the first quarter of 2013. The reasons for the delays are unclear, but consumers who have already waited a year for the product to launch and who now have to wait three to six more months are undoubtedly becoming impatient.

Belkin is not the only peripheral manufacturer looking to launch a Thunderbolt docking station, however, with Matrox having announced its $249 DS1 back in early June. The DS1, which was introduced with DVI, Gigabit Ethernet, a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a USB 3.0 port, audio in/out ports, was also scheduled for a September 2012 launch and the lower pricing compared to the Belkin offering was viewed as potential advantage, particularly when Belkin raised the price of its redesigned dock by $100 just a few days later.

Matrox DS1/HDMI
But in a press release issued last week, Matrox announced that shipping on the DS1 is now scheduled for December 2012. In attempting to soften the blow of a delayed shipping target for the DS1, Matrox also announced that the device will be available in two versions, the original one with DVI out and a new version with HDMI out. Pricing is set at $249 for both versions.

Apple and Intel have touted Thunderbolt as a revolutionary new input/output technology, but adoption has been rather slow since the technology first appeared on the MacBook Pro in February 2011. High-end storage, camera, and video capture accessories have been the first to adopt Thunderbolt technology, even as Apple's Mac Pro desktop has yet to see it incorporated. Thunderbolt has begun filtering down into consumer class peripherals as pricing seems to have begun coming down, but it still appears that Apple and Intel have a ways to go if they hope to achieve their vision of Thunderbolt as the next-generation standard for connectivity.

Article Link: Third-Party Thunderbolt Docking Stations Remain Vaporware as Shipping Dates Pushed Back
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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Such sadness.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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Blunderbolt.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:05 PM   #4
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I think the problem is that they are spending too much time "analyzing" what their competitors are doing, and not just moving forward on the type of device they should "know" their customers want.

The "average" consumer won't be connecting a bunch of devices to these docking stations anyway. They should have aimed at more advanced users/ports to begin with, rather than worrying about their competitors.


a bit of a rant:
We're just in a weird time right now.

I understand if companies want to keep consumer prices down, but how many people want to pay for a "Thunderbolt" drive when it still has a 5400rpm disk, then pay another $50 for the cable, when they won't see any speed improvements? Really?!? In 2012, why is anything still 5400rpm anymore, and if it is, just stick a usb2 on it. Why try to sell it as a "Thunderbolt" drive.

If they want to sell a real Thunderbolt drive, they should make them all SSD.
If it isn't Thunderbolt, it should be at least 7200rpm.

If companies are going to force us into new ports and connections that promise speed advantages, they should offer those products from the beginning, not sit around for several years profiting on marketing terms alone.

I shouldn't have to choose between Thunderbolt and USB3 when I need and want both!!!

Why sell usb2 to anyone anymore, when usb3 is faster and backwards compatible. And 5400rpm disks are just ridiculous now. Seriously!

Everything new should have 3+ Thunderbolt Ports, 3+ USB3 Ports, 3+ HDMI Ports, Ethernet, 802.11x, and expandable/hot-swappable SSD. Additional Ports and port types are more than welcome.

Let's leave the past in the past, and start offering the complete product solutions that people need now!

End of rant.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:11 PM   #5
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So, I've had this silly little TB port for over a year, and I've used it exactly never. In another year or two, it will be time to buy a new computer, and I will have had used this port for no more than 1/3 of its life in my hands.

Whooowhooooo!

Who here would rather have had USB3?
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HMI View Post
...In 2012, why is anything still 5400rpm anymore, and if it is, just stick a usb2 on it. Why try to sell it as a "Thunderbolt" drive. ..
RPM is how fast the platter spins, not how fast the data comes off the platter. Just like on your car, the tachometer does not tell you how fast you are going.

In isk drives, sustained i/o rate is the aerial bit density times the tangential speed. Instantaneous bit rate is set by the speed of the drive's cache.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:19 PM   #7
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I seriously hope these things actually come out.
I have a late-2011 MBP and a few USB 3.0 HDDs. I thought about upgrading to the Retina MBP but it's just way too expensive and the performance boost I'd get doesn't really justify it.
So, I really want one of these things in order to have the ability to connect a USB3.0 HDD and the iPhone "Lightning" cable to my MBP.
They do seem like vaporware right now, but I hope that (at least) Belkin releases theirs eventually.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisA View Post
RPM is how fast the platter spins, not how fast the data comes off the platter. Just like on your car, the tachometer does not tell you how fast you are going.

In isk drives, sustained i/o rate is the aerial bit density times the tangential speed. Instantaneous bit rate is set by the speed of the drive's cache.
For a given generation of HD, usually the higher platter speed=higher transfer rates. That said, the majority of 2012 5400rpm hard drives easily exceed USB 2.0 transfer rates almost two-fold. So even 5400rpm drives get a speed boost from TB/USB 3.0
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NutsNGum View Post
Blunderbolt.
Unfortunately, this sums it up rather well.

Lots of promise. Lots of promises.

Despite that, I very much like my 27" TB display.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by xraydoc View Post
Unfortunately, this sums it up rather well.

Lots of promise. Lots of promises.

Despite that, I very much like my 27" TB display.
I'm sure you are but the rest of the world would probably use and buy that display if Apple would include more than one isolated connection, f&&ling stupid of Apple imo to try and make a fantastic display generic with only apple products. TB has a future but it has to come down in price and I fear that apple have in the pipeline and about to go live a new display connection/power source connector that again will only work with apple products.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by aloshka View Post
Why is it so hard to develop a dock that just simply has USB, and dual DVI outputs.. That's it. I don't want to connect two thunderbolts to my laptop, but just one + power is ideal.
Spot on!

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post
This is a very poor post.

That's the best I can do without getting banned by the hyper sensitive church of macrumors.
Why? Because you dont agree? Typical fanboy...
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 04:47 PM   #11
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What is it with the over-happy use of the term 'vaporware' lately? Granted, many Thunderbolt uses are falling under the classifications. A lot of talk, but nothing (or very little) ever shows.

Though again, not really much of a surprise - its largely been a solution in search of a problem. Where most such problems have more cost effective solutions.

Last edited by Exhale; Oct 3, 2012 at 04:59 PM.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 05:08 PM   #12
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Blunderbolt.
Yep, still too expensive and not much availability. It's a great tech but prices need to drop significantly for a mass consumer adoption.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:17 PM   #13
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I wonder if they're waiting to see if Apple updates the iMac and Mac Mini with USB3 and verify that their products correctly work with them?
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:18 PM   #14
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Are you "allowed" to go back and just edit a press release like that? Seems a bit dodge to me...
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ollyb View Post
Are you "allowed" to go back and just edit a press release like that? Seems a bit dodge to me...
Any dodgier than changing your website where you tout your maps as "most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever" to "All in a beautiful vector-based interface that scales and zooms with ease." ?
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Old Oct 4, 2012, 01:15 PM   #16
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Any dodgier than changing your website where you tout your maps as "most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever" to "All in a beautiful vector-based interface that scales and zooms with ease." ?
Maps did actually ship tho... And it does work. Maybe not 100% as expected, but it shipped and it works.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:19 PM   #17
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next time i'll include my forum handle in my tips so i can get a shout-out
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:23 PM   #18
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Still a LOT of $$$ for essentially a HUB, albeit a sophisticated one.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:26 PM   #19
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not a surprise - this thing will not be the next-generation standard for connectivity... nobody needs it.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:31 PM   #20
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What's so bloody complicated in building such a boring and basic thing as a hub? I mean this should be the type of cheap stuff you buy in a pound shop along with USB hubs and cheap SD card readers.

Cables should be getting more versatile, cheaper and easier to use, and not the exact opposite!

I'm sticking to my USB 2.0 and the hub I bought for £1 thankyouverymuch!

PS: Those who have the first computers that had Thunderbolt, your computers will soon go obsolete while you still hadn't even had a chance to connect anything to the Thunderbolt port. Just like the Mini DisplayPort.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:31 PM   #21
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Very uncool. Apple has got to get third party vendors and their own products ready ***BEFORE*** and **IMMEDIATELY AFTER*** launching a new interface if they expect it to be adopted. This is a MAJOR F-UP by Apple. And I say this pretty much as a Fanboy. This is less likely to be an issue with Lightning due to the much wider audience that is the iPhone, but still having no other products lined up for launch, nor even good stock of their own stuff at iPhone 5 launch is a major and very uncharacateristic Apple error. They do this all the time with Apps and special trusted partners that get pre-launch access. So they should have done the various interface products Belkin or someone else who steppe up to generate a competent interface.

Apple has to their **** together.

Last edited by OllyW; Oct 5, 2012 at 01:33 AM. Reason: Profanity
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 02:22 PM   #22
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My macbook air has been such a diappointment, on so many levels. I don't think I'd get a docking station for it anymore, even if they were cheaper. It's just not worth it when you have a full desktop [read as: a computer with a real HDD] a foot away.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:35 PM   #23
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My macbook air has been such a diappointment, on so many levels. I don't think I'd get a docking station for it anymore, even if they were cheaper. It's just not worth it when you have a full desktop [read as: a computer with a real HDD] a foot away.
I don't think MacBook Airs were created to use a foot away from your home desktop. Seems like a dumb purchase on your part.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 03:40 PM   #24
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Let's just hope

that Lightning accessories will not repeat the same fate.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 11:21 PM   #25
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see if Apple updates the iMac and Mac Mini with USB3 and verify that their products correctly work with them?
USB 3.0 will put the final stake into Thunderbolt ... the technology that never was.
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