After nearly two years we could be forgiven for assuming that Thunderbolt is the connection that dare not speak its name. As I wrote last month, periperals for Thunderbolt have been as rare as rocking horse manure. Which is strange, considering the efforts Apple has made to make the standard popular. There are now stirrings of movement. I have already ordered Belkin’s long-gestated Thunderbolt Dock and I hope to have it on my desk before the end of June. This could be the beginning of a surge in popularity for Thunderbolt.
Today Apple Insider publishes an informative article by Kevin Bostic in which he suggests that the bogeyman in the dark corner of the room is Intel itself. The chipmaker retains such strong control on the technology that it is difficult, and expensive, for third-party developers to incorporate the fast connection.
Bostic discloses that a four-channel Thunderbolt chip component costs $35 at wholesale and this translates into expensive peripherals, including Thunderbolt cables which cost upwards of $40 each.
There has been pressure for the technology to be licensed but, so far, Intel has not budged. My view is that Thunderbolt is ready for the big time but it will not succeed if it cannot compete on price.
by Mike Evans, 29 May 2013