Thunderbolt hub/daisy chain adapter - why is nobody building one?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by macbook123, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. macbook123, Aug 10, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011

    macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    This topic kind of started in another thread, but I think it is worthy of its own:

    Why in the world is nobody building a thunderbolt daisy chain adapter that has all the functionality of the upcoming Apple display?

    I personally don't like the mirror in front of my work, and anybody with a Macbook Air or Pro likes to have more ports. Also, such an adapter could have Ethernet, FW800, multiple USB 2.0 and/or 3.0 ports, and be a Thunderbolt daisy chain?

    I would pay $500, no $1000 for it, just so I can purchase any display I want (I'm eyeing the HP ZR30w) and at the same time have the amazing hassle-free connectivity Apple's upcoming display offers?

    Why not??
  2. Lennyvalentin macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2011
    Undoubtedly, more peripherals for thunderbolt will appear in due course. Right now it's kind of a "chicken and the egg" situation with a limited market to sell to, so few companies are willing to spend money to develop and manufacture new stuff, but with Apple computers increasing in popularity that may change.

    We might even start to see some PCs with thunderbolt connectors, who knows.
  3. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    I guess I disagree with the chicken-and-egg analogy. There are plenty of chicken (any Macbook Pro, Air, and Mac Mini currently produced) as well as plenty of eggs: any external monitor or USB device or ethernet or FW800 one would like to run alone or in conjunction. Only Thunderbolt has the throughput to provide for such a multi-adapter hub.

    That's why I started the thread, because I frankly don't understand why not EVERY new Mac owner would want such a Thunderbolt hub (I guess I shouldn't have called it simply daisy chain in the title)!

    Does that make sense?
  4. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Yeah, its a bad analogy. To Mac owners then thunderbolt is everywhere so it doesn't make sense that 10months after the introduction of this "magical new port that renders all others useless" that there is NOTHING on the market.

    I can accept it if they say Thunderbolt Drives aren't ready yet, but what about Firewire and USB3? Those are two ports that are common enough that an adapter should've been built by now. (Or better yet, USB3 should've been built in so we can take advantage of AVAILABLE technology)
  5. waw74 macrumors 68040

    May 27, 2008
    there are lots of chickens, but there are plenty of fish in the sea.

    there may be a significant number of thunderbolt machines out there, but there's a huge number of macs out there, and as a guess, i'd say 10% of the macs in use have it (people tend to use macs longer than other computers, i'm guessing the actual number is probably much lower) and as of a few months ago, mac had a 15% share of the market in the us, so thunderbolt macs are 1.5% of the total PCs in the US. up to 2.5% if you go with 25% of macs in use have a thunderbolt, but the real number is probably less than 1%, so really not that big of a market if you look at the big picture.
    also of that 1% of the market, how many are willing to pay the premium prices for thunderbolt, a 2m cable is $50 on the apple store, due to there being electronics being built into the cable.

    of all my friends who have macs, probably about 20-30 machines total, 0 have thunderbolt.

    look at airplay, released a few months before thunderbolt (according to wikipedia: thunderbolt - started production 2/11, airplay - announced 9/10) still very few products actually on sale, a few more announced. Even though airplay is compatible with every computer running itunes, and most iOS devices. Much larger chunk of the market, and based on existing technology.
  6. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Nice theory but I don't buy it. The entire planet knows how to scroll a certain way, yet Apple had no problems changing that and making it default so obviously Apple cares far more about new/potential customers than they do about old customers.

    And in regards to the lack of Thunderbolt peripherals, even if you can claim only 1% of the user base would buy one, the ONLY way to increase that percentage is to offer compelling reasons to make it more appealing. Jobs said USB3 wasnt worth using because of Thunderbolt, but after 10mo USB3 support has been huge while we have yet to see anything with Thunderbolt. So that seems to say that either there's a lack of interest OR these manufacturing issues. Either way, it makes the exclusion of USB3 even more glaring.

    Apple doesn't High-5 people who come in with old Macs for free genius support. They high-5 people who buy new Macs and iDevices.
  7. waw74 macrumors 68040

    May 27, 2008
    today, most people buy a mac because it fashionable (and they feel cool when they buy one, cause they get a high-5 :cool:), they'll use it to check their facebook, and other basic web browsing. so the percentage of those who have thunderbolt capable macs, who actually need thunderbolt is really small. so that number is probably a far smaller percentage. how long has FW800 been on macs, look at portable hard drives, how many are USB2 only? how many have FW800 on them?
    yes there are some who need it, but currently it's a niche market.

    apple doesn't make most peripherals, in the online store they only make the cable and the display (neither of which are new categories in the store, granted they are new versions, but they've been selling cables and displays for a while) and resell a few items from other manufacturers.

    it's a brand new technology, with new hardware manufacturing requirements. it takes a while for manufacturers to ramp up production. Using my previous example of airplay, which came out a few months before thunderbolt. At this years CES show in january, several manufacturers announced airplay devices, and a lot of those haven't made it to store shelves yet.

    not saying that thunderbolt devices aren't coming, but doubt you'll see them under a christmas tree this year. Probably a few will be announced announced at CES next year with release dates of next spring/summer.
  8. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    I don't know waw74...I guess some of your arguments could be viewed as arguments for introduction of Thunderbolt hubs, like the fact that everybody uses UCB 2.0 and FW800. Many people complain that they don't have enough such ports on their Air. With such a hub they could have 10. And more importantly, they would only have to plug in one thing into their Air/Pro's including the monitors, whereas now the typical user needs to plug in multiple things.

    I guess overall I don't get any arguments against Thunderbolt ports because it shouldn't be difficult for Apple or anybody else to introduce them. If one can have them, why not? It's obvious that the standard is not going to go away for years.

    Is there maybe something oversimplified in the last paragraph, like maybe the standard is not so widely official that others an copy it, and Apple wants to force users of Thunderbolt into buying their new displays?
  9. Lennyvalentin macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2011
    That flock of chicken is a tiny and completely insignificant part of the market. Come back in two, three years and we'll talk. :p

    Developing these kinds of peripherals is quite expensive. Thunderbolt is REALLY cutting edge of what you can do on copper; Tom's Hardware did an interview with the Intel guys developing the firm's ethernet hardware, and according to one of the lead designers, the signal to noise ratio of standard gigabit is like a whisper in a rock concert. For ten gigabit, it's like a whisper in a nuclear bomb explosion.

    While most of the hard work has already been done, in the thunderbolt controller itself, you still need good knowledge of PCB routing, filtering, high quality components, stuff like that. Couple with high cost of the interface itself, really low market share, and you should see why this takes time to catch on.

    Apple's doing a good job laying the groundwork, but market economics are always a factor; USB is the established standard, and even USB3 is having a somewhat rough time despite being a lot cheaper and a lot further along in marketshare than TB.

    No, it's still a chicken & egg situation. :)

    But this'll change I hope. I'm getting the Apple TB Display for my '11 MBP, if it ever comes out... *sigh*
  10. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    I always find it a bit gross when people defend corporations at the expense of end users. Apparently people wanting to use TODAYS technology are "too niche to matter" so therefore its okay that we continue to wait?

    It seems that Apples excuse team are stuck on a few logical arguments:
    1) Thunderbolt is the FUTURE, but its not ready yet
    2) Manufacturing for new products is difficult
    3) Actual Thunderbolt users are "niche" and therefore inconsequential

    All these things may be true, but it still doesn't answer why the heck we don't have Thunderbolt to USB3 or FW800 dongles to keep us happy until TB is ready for the public. After all, if Apple is using Thunderbolt as a marketing tool then shouldn't they have some sort of accountability when it comes to the fact that we can't use it yet?

    It just seems insane that Apple has somehow convinced us that "Waiting for future technology to catch up to modern technology" makes sense.
  11. waw74 macrumors 68040

    May 27, 2008
    the port has been on the market for 6 months, even though you've bought an off the shelf model of a popular computer, you're still an early adopter.

    when firewire first came out, the speed of the appearance of devices for it was about the same, Thunderbolt will be here, but it will take time, as i said in my earlier post, we'll probably see announcements at CES next January, with a spring/summer release date on those.
  12. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    I couldn't agree more.
  13. Clint007 macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Montréal, PQ.
    Thunderbolt or/and USB3?!

    USB3 Thunderbolt as been developed by Intel. Soon Thunderbolt will be aviable to all PC after the one year on Mac exclusivity (already 6 months).

    But an interesting article worth a read:Intel: USB 3.0 in 2012 with 'Thunderbolt'
  14. eemzah macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2009
    I am still waiting for the Thunderbolt to eSATA adapter. I wonder if it will ever come out. :confused:

Share This Page

13 August 10, 2011