Thunderbolt Adoption Reportedly Slowed by Intel's Licensing and Certification, But Improvements Coming

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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.
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
 

hamean

macrumors member
Dec 16, 2010
66
0
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.
 

roadbloc

macrumors G3
Aug 24, 2009
8,784
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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.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,937
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SoCal
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.
 

wilsonlaidlaw

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2008
424
57
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.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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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.
 

inlinevolvo

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2012
359
3
Unfortunately thunderbolt is likely going to fizzle away. The price is just a major deterrent. I hope I eat my words because the possibilities are tremendous and it would be a shame to not take advantage of it. For the time being, I'll stick to USB 3.
 

John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,142
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Holocene Epoch
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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Stella

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Apr 21, 2003
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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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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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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.
boo-hoo Intel can't help the vast majority of the industry doing their "homework". This is more indicative of the deep and pervasive lack of innovation and creativity of the PC market. A few vendors have high margins to do sensible R&D and the large majority sit back and just copy-cat the technology after it is commoditized for them.

'Quality versus Quantity' is a reasonable strategy for Intel to take given that Thunderbolt isn't trying to take over the whole market for sockets ("the one socket to rule them all.").

Cheaply shielded USB 3.0 sockets causing interference problems won't kill off USB 3.0 because it can leverage the deeply entrenched USB 2.0 interia. The same problem for Thunderbolt likely would have been a larger momentum killer than this tactic of helping a limited few to lay the foundation for future expansion.
 

rmwebs

macrumors 68040
Apr 6, 2007
3,140
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In response to the news post article....no ****.

It'll continue to be slow/non-existent until the license price MATCHES USB 3.0.
 

Rafterman

macrumors 68030
Apr 23, 2010
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As most have already point out, PRICE is the reason its not being adopted - not Intel's licensing or certification.
 

MiltonThales

macrumors member
Jan 12, 2008
37
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Suwanee, GA
Unfortunately thunderbolt is likely going to fizzle away. The price is just a major deterrent. I hope I eat my words because the possibilities are tremendous and it would be a shame to not take advantage of it. For the time being, I'll stick to USB 3.
I have a 2011 iMac and a 2011 MacBook Air. A Thunderbolt dock or adapter is the ONLY way I can get to USB 3.0. I anticipate buying one this year if they ever get to market. Right now, the Belkin product, even at $299, would meet my requirements best.

I think Intel isn't pushing Thunderbolt until more PC manufacturers get up to speed on it. And, they are building USB 3.0 into their CPUs and system chips. Intel seems pretty schizo to me.
 

rmwebs

macrumors 68040
Apr 6, 2007
3,140
0
As most have already point out, PRICE is the reason its not being adopted - not Intel's licensing or certification.
One of the reasons the price is so high is because of intel. Their fees on Thunderbolt are crazy. Whilst there aren't official numbers, unofficial sources have on multiple occasions quoted prices between $70 and $100 - just on the license.
 

TallManNY

macrumors 601
Nov 5, 2007
4,354
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I just ordered an external hard drive for backup purposes mainly. It is a firewire drive. That is fast enough for my purposes, way cheaper than thunderbolt and I've got a free firewire slot. USB 3 might be good enough as well, but my USB ports are always jammed with loads of other stuff, including a hub. But the hub is not ideal either for a gaming peripheral, nor does it produce sufficient juice to recharge my iPad.

I looked at thunderbolt. But why pay $100+ more when firewire is very fast. Certainly makes no difference for a time machine backup and a little dead storage for old games.

By the way, I love the new charger on my iPhone 5. Being able to easily slot the charger in either way is such a nice improvement over USB and the 30 pin charger. Yes, for now it is not worth it to give up on the ubiquitous of those connectors. But in two years the new charger will still work great and I will have plenty of connectors of that type floating around my house.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
9,158
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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.




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.



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.
 

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
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More likely the fact that the industry doesn't think that thunderbolt will benefit customers... existing technologies suffice and are better supported.

boo-hoo Intel can't help the vast majority of the industry doing their "homework". This is more indicative of the deep and pervasive lack of innovation and creativity of the PC market.
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". 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.
That quote actually came from Apple.. specifically Steve Jobs, in a keynote speech.

EDIT: the quote was actually "one connector to rule them all".
 
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Dwalls90

macrumors 601
Feb 5, 2009
4,907
2,146
Once it becomes more mainstream this will take over ... as long as price comes down too.

Thunderbolt can do everything USB can do, much faster, with greater functionality (displays, external GPUs, daisy chaining).
 

Pentad

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2003
985
97
Indiana
It's dead...let it die. With the improvements coming to USB3, there is no reason to adopt TB for a majority of hardware vendors. USB3 is cheap, fast, getting faster, and supports waaaaay more devices than the handful of TB items out there.

We can ship TB to the Island of Misfit Technologies where it can run and play with OpenDoc, Pippin, Taligent, Pink, and Copland.


-P
 
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