AirPlay and Thunderbolt May Be Limited to High-End Devices to Start

Earlier today, we noted that LaCie is preparing to roll out its first Thunderbolt-enabled Little Big Disk external hard drives, although the initial models will be limited to higher-end SSD-based devices.

iLounge now reports that slow roll-out of Thunderbolt and the lack of consumer-based options may be due to high pricing for incorporating the technology, an issue that appears to also be affecting third-party peripherals compatible with Apple's AirPlay streaming technology. According to the report, the inclusion of Thunderbolt or AirPlay compatibility can add as much as $100 to the price of these devices, limiting their ability to address mainstream consumer markets.

Our sources have described the AirPlay technologies as considerably more expensive to incorporate than Apple's standard docking Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad Dock Connectors, and noted that Apple is very heavily pushing developers to adopt the wireless technologies despite the costs involved.

We similarly have learned that the price of the components required to add a Thunderbolt port to an external hard drive is roughly equal to the cost of a low-end hard drive itself, a high cost that one developer has suggested will limit Thunderbolt's near-term use to products aimed at the professional market.

For the time being, announced Thunderbolt products do seem to be coming in at price points above those typically within range of mainstream consumers, as evidenced by Promise's 8 TB Pegasus RAID R4, which briefly appeared on Apple's store priced at $1399.95 before being pulled. That price is only $100 more than for Promise's current 8 TB RAID offering, but it remains to be seen just how quickly Thunderbolt will be able to make its way into more mainstream products.

promise thunderbolt raid
iLounge suggests that there may at least be some hope for price drops for AirPlay devices in the relatively near future, noting that Philips earlier this week debuted AirPlay-compatible speaker systems with price tags as low as $229, a new floor in what has until now seen the feature primarily limited to higher-end receivers.

Top Rated Comments

baleensavage Avatar
125 months ago
Didn't Apple learn from the Firewire debacle? There's a reason USB won over Firewire and it isn't because it's a better technology. Apple has to stop with these expensive licensing issues if they want their technologies to stick. And they talk about Blu-Ray being a "big bag of hurt..." :rolleyes:
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
theheadguy Avatar
125 months ago
This is part of the reason I don't understand why people were *so* excited over this. How could anyone expect anything different? I wouldn't expect this to be mainstream for a couple years.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
moose.boy Avatar
125 months ago
Is this really news ? I mean, seriously ?

You've got an interface that appears to be the extension of the bus on the motherboard - we're not talking 8bit ISA cards here, that has only just come out, and that is only available on new computers. Look at USB peripherals when they first came out !

Secondly for airplay - it's more expensive to build a 802.1x device with appropriate protocols on board than it is to put a dock - really ? are you sure ? really sure ? I'm assuming based on this the next headline will be 'rain gets you wet' .

The quality of mac news reporting is rapidly hitting lowest common denominator level with big scary headlines, glib, technically inaccurate statements and general lack of common sense and/or thought within articles.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
herocero Avatar
125 months ago
ridiculous conclusion

The comparison made here is silly. The Pegasus model without Thunderbolt is a mere $100 less. The fastest connection speed it supports is eSATA 3Gbps (not even 6Gbps). For an extra $100 you have access to Thunderbolt speeds, and this is going to slow adoption among this market segment? Give me a break. Probably not for consumers at the start, but to think a Thunderbolt device with this price increase for the extra performance wouldn't take off in this prosumer/enterprise environment is a silly conclusion.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TMay Avatar
125 months ago

This.

I just can't help but think that thunderbolt is either going to become a dead standard or is going to be really slow at being adopted. It just seems usb 3.0 will take over in that time.


Pro's will pick TB for audio and video capture as TB has very low latency and has capabilities of syncing data streams. Think of TB as a superset of USB 3.0 capabilites, just as Intel does.

The two standards are complementary, but everyone wants to make a horse race out of it. Apple will support USB 3.0 when Intel supports in on the chipsets for Ivy Bridge late this year.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johneaston Avatar
125 months ago
Why do Thunderbolt ports equal an "ultra quiet design"? Are USB and FireWire ports noisy?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...