Thunderbolt: One year later

By Mauricio Grijalva, Macworld |  Storage, Apple, Intel

After looking at the cost benefits, Sonnet decided to put the development of Thunderbolt drives on the back burner and focus on making adapters. Instead of releasing individual gigabit ethernet and FireWire 800 adapters, as originally intended, Sonnet shipped the Echo instead, which works with ExpressCard/34 cards. "When we saw how much adapters would cost, we decided it would be better to put out the Echo to provide a better value," LaPonte said.

In BlackMagic Design's case, it wasn't the technological complexity of the new protocol that kept their products from entering the market. Rather, it was the certification process. According to Dan May, President of BlackMagic's US Office, products must be certified and approved by Apple and Intel before they are released. In the case of the Intensity Extreme, a video capture and playback device, that procedure added about a few weeks to the development process.

"We wanted to try making it so that the device was powered through the Thunderbolt port, which presented some new challenges," May said. "It delayed us for about a month, but we got it out."

May didn't seem to mind the delay though, since he praised Apple and Intel's way of doing things. "Both Apple and Intel have been hands-on in this. They've made the process smooth. Everyone involved said, 'let's make sure everything is done the right way.'"

Some manufacturers are waiting for costs to come down, as Larry O'Connor, CEO of Other World Computing, conveyed to Macworld. "Everyone points to the products that are out there and asking why we aren't there yet," said O'Connor. "But many of the same products pointed to, the number one complaint is the high cost. We're waiting for the right performance, right features, and cost consideration as well."

One example of that high cost is with the Thunderbolt cable itself, which currently retails for $49, and can only be purchased through Apple. The cheapest Thunderbolt accessory available is the Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter, which costs $100--but it doesn't include an external drive.


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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