Third-Party Thunderbolt Docking Stations Remain Vaporware as Shipping Dates Pushed Back

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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
  2. macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2009
  3. macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
  4. macrumors demi-god


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    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?
  5. macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2011
    Are you "allowed" to go back and just edit a press release like that? Seems a bit dodge to me...
  6. macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2009
    The problem is how ambitious these companies have been. They want the docks to do just about everything possible. No surprise it isn't easy to achieve their lofty goal.

    They should have made two docks, one with just USB3 + Gigabit Ethernet, and another with all their fancy trimmings.

    At the very least they would have a product on the market instead of delaying over and over and disappointing customers.
  7. macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2003
    down on the upside
    next time i'll include my forum handle in my tips so i can get a shout-out :D
  8. macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    This is pathetic.

    400 bucks for this?

    And what's with the thunderbolt connector in the front?
  9. macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    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.
  10. macrumors 68030


    Still a LOT of $$$ for essentially a HUB, albeit a sophisticated one. :(
  11. macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    For a brief minute there, I thought this article was going to be about iPhone 5 accessories. Ooops, my mistake.
  12. macrumors 68020

    Jan 22, 2009
    No clap of thunder here.

    Its like FireWire all over again. Apple was slow to include, made only 2 products to use it, and it started to loose ground to a much lesser technology, USB.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 19, 2011
  14. macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2008
    not a surprise - this thing will not be the next-generation standard for connectivity... nobody needs it.
  15. macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    You know, the addition of the Thunderbolt port was very un-Apple of Apple. I surprised they didn't just eliminate the USB port when they introduced TB and sold us aTB-USB adaptor instead.
  16. macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2009
    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.
  17. macrumors Pentium

    Jun 22, 2009
    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." ?
  18. TeamMojo, Oct 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2012

    macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2004
    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.
  19. AngerDanger, Oct 3, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012

    macrumors 68020


    Dec 9, 2008
    It's so hard to not imagine hardware actually vaporizing when I read the term 'vaporware'.

  20. realeric, Oct 3, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Jun 19, 2009
    United States

    Mobile Me
    Safari for PC

    Half fail/half success


    Success/To be successful

    App Store
    Safari for iPhones
  21. macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2010
    Bath, UK
    And for another 500 bucks you can get a 27" screen thrown in......;)
  22. macrumors regular


    Aug 30, 2006
    And not only you can get it right now... you could get it one year ago! :rolleyes:


    I respectfully disagree.
  23. macrumors 68030

    Mar 30, 2004
    Given Apple has been the only company to offer computers with Thunderbolt connector, this isn't at all surprising. With PC motherboards starting to implement Thunderbolt, with notebooks to soon follow, we will begin to see larger selection of peripherals next year.

    Having said all that, Thunderbolt was never meant to be a replacement for USB. It is an interface that combines benefits of PCI Express and DisplayPort into a single connector.

    Thunderbolt is overkill for common tasks such as connecting with single drive external hard disk, transferring photos or videos from digital camera and camcorders, and syncing data between smartphone/tablet. USB 3.0 is far more practical and sufficient to meet these needs.

    Unfortunately, Thunderbolt is also not quite powerful enough for emerging needs, such as driving retina 27" displays.


    It is far too early to call Passbook off.

    As for Lightning, how is it half fail/success? Would you have said the same for USB when it debuted in 1995 but didn't take up until it iMac adopted it as exclusive peripheral connector 3 years later?
  24. macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2008
    washington dc
    A sad state of affairs by Apple and Intel. Considering the cost of putting the ports into their machines vs the availability of things to plug into them and the cost of those peripherals this has been a disaster in my opinion. How much for a thunderbolt hard drive??! Indeed. For such a great technology I think they have gone about it in all the wrong way. Thunderbolt is a cart with no horse at all. A cart with racing wheels.
  25. macrumors 6502


    Sep 17, 2003
    The main problem is the price, obviously. A secondary problem is the lack of dual TB ports on most of these things. I have a BlackMagic HDMI Thunderbolt box. It's really cool, except it only has 1 freakin port. So I can't put it inline with an external display, or maybe even an additional BlackMagic box. It seems kind of shortsighted.

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