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 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

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

(View all)
Avatar
103 months ago
Blunderbolt.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
103 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)
Avatar
103 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)
Avatar
103 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)
Avatar
103 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)
Avatar
103 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)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Parallels Desktop 16 Brings macOS Big Sur Support, Multi-Touch Gestures, 20% Faster DirectX, and More

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:17 am PDT by
Parallels Desktop 16 released today, bringing some notable new features and performance enhancements to the virtualization software, including full support for macOS Big Sur. When Apple introduced macOS Big Sur, it ended support for the third-party kernel extensions that previous versions of Parallels were built on. That forced the developers to re-engineer the virtualization software from the ...