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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:00 AM   #1
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Thunderbolt Adoption Reportedly Slowed by Intel's Licensing and Certification, But Improvements Coming




Last July, Ars Technica took a look at the state of the Thunderbolt standard developed by Apple and Intel, noting that adoption remained slow amid high pricing some eighteen months after the standard's introduction. The report did, however, suggest that pricing could begin to improve in 2013 as the next generation of Thunderbolt chips hit the market.

Ars Technica has now published a follow-up report looking at how things have changed over the past six months, pointing to a number of improvements such as slightly lower pricing on Thunderbolt cables from Apple, the introduction of the first wave of optical cables supporting the standard, and the launch of new docking stations and other peripherals taking advantage of Thunderbolt.

The report indicates that the biggest holdup to wider adoption of Thunderbolt appears to be Intel's licensing and certification process, with the company dedicating only limited resources to helping third-party vendors bring their Thunderbolt products to market.
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Several vendors we have spoke to over the past year have claimed that Intel was holding up the process, cherry picking which vendors it worked with.

Though Intel had effectively denied this characterization in the past, the company explained the situation a bit differently when we spoke at CES last week. Jason Ziller, Director of Thunderbolt Marketing & Planning at Intel, told Ars that Intel has "worked closely" with vendors it felt could "offer the best products" and could meet its stringent "certification requirements." The subtext seemed to be that Intel had limited resources to support and certify new products, and so it gave priority to devices that were perhaps more novel than those proposed by other makers.
Ziller indicated that Intel would be broadening its efforts this year, suggesting that more Thunderbolt products may be able to make their way into consumers' hands. Combining those efforts with continued cost drops and the first moves into Windows machines, Apple and Intel are undoubtedly hoping that 2013 will finally see Thunderbolt turn the corner.

Article Link: Thunderbolt Adoption Reportedly Slowed by Intel's Licensing and Certification, But Improvements Coming
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:00 AM   #2
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Hurry up! I want reasonably priced hard-drives, docks and adapters!
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:03 AM   #3
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Thunderbolt has been an abject failure to this point. Bytes from this article indicate that it will continue to be available exclusively at the professional price point for the foreseeable future.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:05 AM   #4
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Meh. Its probably too late for Thunderbolt to be adopted at a large scale. USB 3, despite not being as good, is backward compatible to the many many many USB 2 + 1 devices out there.

I'm not buying new peripherals, I'll stick to USB.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by hamean View Post
Thunderbolt has been an abject failure to this point. Bytes from this article indicate that it will continue to be available exclusively at the professional price point for the foreseeable future.
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Originally Posted by roadbloc View Post
Meh. Its probably too late for Thunderbolt to be adopted at a large scale. USB 3, despite not being as good, is backward compatible to the many many many USB 2 + 1 devices out there.
Depends on your definition of success.

Thunderbolt's Unique Selling Point is in the professional sector: allowing you to attach fast RAID arrays and pro audio/video capture devices and alternative interfaces to laptops and SFF machines. It could be critical in keeping Macs in the pro audio/video market.

I don't think it ever was going to be a viable competitor to USB3 for consumer applications: you don't need Thunderbolt to attach a backup drive or a memory stick.

Where it could have a consumer application is in 'docks' that add a variety of extra ports to a laptop, potentially performing as if they were attached to PCIe. Sadly, apart from the Apple Thunderbolt Display, the promised Belkin one is still vapourware and the Matrox one is seriously hampered by their insistence on including a DVI port at the expense of Thunderbolt-through. (why? Everybody has MiniDP-to-whatever adapters that can go at the end of a TB chain!)

A decent dock which added Ethernet, Firewire, 2-3 x USB3 plus a bunch of extra USB2 (no sense in wasting a USB3 by hooking your keyboard to it) eSATA, TOSlink and maybe a MagSafe PSU would be a great addition. Apple should produce one - and market it: if Apple are good at one thing it is making people want stuff.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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Thunderbolt's Unique Selling Point is in the professional sector: allowing you to attach fast RAID arrays and pro audio/video capture devices and alternative interfaces to laptops and SFF machines. It could be critical in keeping Macs in the pro audio/video market.
The one and only application keeps getting repeated over and over. Are there any other (interesting) applications for Thunderbolt?

Where are the external PCI-e enclosures, or docking devices that actually have a decent set of ports?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:59 AM   #7
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Meh. Its probably too late for Thunderbolt to be adopted at a large scale. USB 3, despite not being as good, is backward compatible to the many many many USB 2 + 1 devices out there.

I'm not buying new peripherals, I'll stick to USB.
me too. Can't believe when I was debating the 2010 and 2011 imac I took the 2011 because of thunderbolt. To this day nothing has been plugged into that port.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 05:20 PM   #8
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Meh. Its probably too late for Thunderbolt to be adopted at a large scale. USB 3, despite not being as good, is backward compatible to the many many many USB 2 + 1 devices out there.

I'm not buying new peripherals, I'll stick to USB.
Did anybody in his right mind ever thought TB could rival USB 3? USB 3 has huge installed base of USB 2 devices that can be plugged into a USB 3 port. It had the first mover advantage on PCs (only on Macs did TB get a one-year head start). Even if the underlying technology would have had the same price, USB 3 would have had economies of scale that would make it cheaper and because it is cheaper it would keep the economies of scale that make it cheaper.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post
Thunderbolt is a prosumer-level technology, it's not designed to be a USB replacement. It's effectively a PCI-e bus extension. If you don't need what that offers then a USB 3.0 external drive might be all you ever need.
PCI Express must also be an abject failure because so few computers have it.

----------

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Originally Posted by theluggage View Post
I don't think it ever was going to be a viable competitor to USB3 for consumer applications: you don't need Thunderbolt to attach a backup drive or a memory stick.
We never had FW 'USB' sticks. For good reasons: (a) USB 2 was fast enough and (b) for casual data transfer sticking to the most widely used standard is right approach.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 03:17 AM   #9
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PCI Express must also be an abject failure because so few computers have it.
I hate coming into the middle of a conversation, since I have no idea if you're being sarcastic or not. But...

Every computer sold in within (at least) the last 5 years have PCI-e onboard.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by hamean View Post
Thunderbolt has been an abject failure to this point. Bytes from this article indicate that it will continue to be available exclusively at the professional price point for the foreseeable future.
It all depends on when low priced chips hit the market. The article indicates 2013 should be that year. That, to me, means that 2014 should be when Thunderbolt hits it's stride if it is going to be successful or not. Remember USB took several years before it actually took off.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:09 AM   #11
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All Thunderbolt needs is an adapter so it can accept a signal from HDMI, VGA, and/or DVI.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:12 AM   #12
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meh

if it cheapens, we won't covet it
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:18 AM   #13
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All Thunderbolt needs is an adapter so it can accept a signal from HDMI, VGA, and/or DVI.
Generally, Thunderbolt is used to supply/product video signal; not accept it. Video outbound from the GPU is what it is designed for. "Accept" is the wrong direction.

Folks could do data captures from a HDMI/VGA/DVI source but again that transformation would be done inside the peripheral and the result just PCI-e data traffic; no additional adapter required.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 10:50 AM   #14
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All Thunderbolt needs is an adapter so it can accept a signal from HDMI, VGA, and/or DVI.
and USB3!!!
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:11 AM   #15
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Make it an open standard

These manufacturers have STILL not learnt that the way to maximise take up and income is to make Thunderbolt an open standard. Intel would still have a technical lead and many more would be buying their chips to make items, without having to go through the no doubt tedious and lengthy and trap strewn path of certification.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:08 AM   #16
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What a joke. This should be their top priority. Nah, just let it die on the vine.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:24 AM   #17
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Thunderbolt has been an abject failure to this point. Bytes from this article indicate that it will continue to be available exclusively at the professional price point for the foreseeable future.
Thunderbolt is a prosumer-level technology, it's not designed to be a USB replacement. It's effectively a PCI-e bus extension. If you don't need what that offers then a USB 3.0 external drive might be all you ever need.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:25 AM   #18
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I look at all those cheap USB3 drives.. and then look at the cost of Thunderbolt drives. Sigh. Not as if I can plugin a USB3 drive and get the full benefit...

Thunderbolt will never be mainstream.. its another firewire - but less popular still.

Apple - "One cable to rule them all".. well, its not going to happen.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 09:35 AM   #19
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I look at all those cheap USB3 drives.. and then look at the cost of Thunderbolt drives.
If "cheaper" is the primary, almost singular, value metric then there never was a contest.

Drives are a relatively poor use of Thunderbolt. It is largely transport of data from a single interface (e.g. SATA). If it is just SATA traffic that needs to be moved then it is extremely likely that using SATA directly will always be cheaper.

Use of the wrong tool for the wrong job is highly unlikely to be cheaper.




Quote:
Thunderbolt will never be mainstream.. its another firewire - but less popular still.
Depends. If laptops continue to expand their dominance over the general PC market then Thunderbolt will get value added traction. As a standard docking port it has much higher potential than primarily tasked as a direct attached storage interface. It can be used for storage that can't be the primary mission.



Quote:
Apple - "One cable to rule them all".. well, its not going to happen.
Only some kool-aid sellers actually pushed that. Even Intel isn't trying to sell that kool-aid anymore. Thunderbolt was never designed to be "only port". Frankly, it seems like it was just one TB specific marketing group trying to jumpstart TB used the "one port" spin to deflect from TB being 'yet-another-proprietary' connector vibe that would impede its launch. It was always designed as an aggregator of ports. 'Aggregate' doesn't necessarily lead to 'only'. Very often it just moves multiple ports somewhere else; not eliminate them.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 12:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by John.B View Post
Thunderbolt is a prosumer-level technology, it's not designed to be a USB replacement. It's effectively a PCI-e bus extension. If you don't need what that offers then a USB 3.0 external drive might be all you ever need.
^^^ THIS.

For what it does, Thunderbolt, was exactly what was promised. It's real-world applications will be cost-prohibitive and arguably even unnecessary for consumers.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:19 PM   #21
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Thunderbolt is a prosumer-level technology, it's not designed to be a USB replacement. It's effectively a PCI-e bus extension. If you don't need what that offers then a USB 3.0 external drive might be all you ever need.
So in other words... It's going to go the same way as FireWire?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:34 PM   #22
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So in other words... It's going to go the same way as FireWire?
Yes. Only faster
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 01:39 PM   #23
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So in other words... It's going to go the same way as FireWire?
Which is fine, considering FireWire is still with us, in 2013. Again, have you boys read the Jason Ziller interview PC Mag did in February 2011 where all of this is already stated ?

I'm shocked you people are still surprised, 2 years later, when someone says Thunderbolt is not meant to replace USB 3.0.
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 04:12 PM   #24
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Thunderbolt is a prosumer-level technology, it's not designed to be a USB replacement. It's effectively a PCI-e bus extension. If you don't need what that offers then a USB 3.0 external drive might be all you ever need.
Its a dead standard is more accurate. It didn't catch on and it won't. Considering the high speed usb 3.0 is coming out very soon I see no reason at all for it, especially since usb 3.0 high speed will be backwards and forwards compatible. I can't believe apple really gave most of their laptops two thunderbolt ports. What a waste. Give us another usb next time.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:44 AM   #25
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Thunderbolt is a prosumer-level technology, it's not designed to be a USB replacement. It's effectively a PCI-e bus extension. If you don't need what that offers then a USB 3.0 external drive might be all you ever need.
'Pro-sumer" what cr-p! Then why is it on my Macbook Air? This technology is dead! Apple blew it. Just look at the price on Thunderbolt peripherals, Adapters, and hard drives.

I am a con-sumer.
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