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

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 dock revised back
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 rear
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.

Top Rated Comments

NutsNGum Avatar
135 months ago
Blunderbolt.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Starship77 Avatar
135 months ago
And for another 500 bucks you can get a 27" screen thrown in......;)

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

----------

Fail

Thunderbolt
Ping
Mobile Me
Siri
Passbook
Newsstand
Safari for PC

Half fail/half sucess

iMessage
iCloud
Photostream
iBooks
Lightning

Sucess/To be successful

iTunes
App Store
Safari for iPhones
Camera
Maps

I respectfully disagree.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kas23 Avatar
135 months ago
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.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
135 months ago
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.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PracticalMac Avatar
135 months ago
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.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
woodbine Avatar
135 months ago
This is pathetic.

400 bucks for this?

And what's with the thunderbolt connector in the front?

And for another 500 bucks you can get a 27" screen thrown in......;)
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
MKBHD HomePod 2 White Ring Stain

New HomePod Can Still Stain Some Wooden Surfaces

Tuesday January 31, 2023 8:29 am PST by
When the original HomePod launched in 2018, it was discovered that the speaker can leave white rings on some wooden surfaces. Now, well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee has confirmed that the issue persists to a lesser extent with the new HomePod. In a side-by-side test, he showed that the white second-generation HomePod left a white ring on the wooden surface that he placed the speaker on,...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...