Thunderbolt isn’t just a faster USB – and Mac buyers see that

“Shipping times at the Apple online store show that Thunderbolt is a hit with Mac buyers,” Robin Harris writes for ZDNet.

“And that’s with almost no Thunderbolt products available,” Harris writes. “Expect great things when many more Thunderbolt peripherals start shipping in the next 6 months. The Thunderbolt peripherals for sale from Apple are limited to the Thunderbolt Display – a 27″ display with built-in Thunderbolt USB/FireWire adapter – and the Promise Pegasus arrays. Both are available as standalone options and as system add-ons.”

Harris writes, “HP’s decision to leave the PC market reflects both a maturing market and the inability of PC makers to earn decent margins on boring me-too products. Apple owns the high-end, high-margin PC business, while taking share from the Wintel notebook market with the iPad. With the advent of the Mac Thunderbolt-everywhere strategy Apple is now differentiating the Mac and the iPad based on I/O. The iPad is the new MacBook.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Look for Thunderbolt in Your Tube. There is video from Intel Labs that shows the astonishing things you can do with this blazingly fast IO built into the new Macs.

      Very Impressive, especially since it means you can do high end video desktop stuff with a simple Mac Book Pro with Thunderbolt.

      Look how few seconds it takes to transfer a 4GB file via Thunderbolt cable to a raid array. Did you blink and miss it?

      Then intel runs four separate HD video streams in a split screen via TB.


  1. But even after all this time, there is only one thunderbolt product available (not counting the $50 cable,) an expensive RAID.

    Where are the Thunderbolt Firewire and USB hubs?

  2. 6 months i’ve now waited thinking the internet would be alive with compact card readers, thumb drives and external enclosures all sporting Thunderbold. I even thought China would flood ebay with cheap solutions also but nothing, zilch, zip, squat…

    It maybe faster than USB3 but at least USB3 supports all the above items already. How much longer do we have to suffer these USB2 speeds on brand new Mac computers?

    At least before i had the Express32 slot which i could make into esata or extra firewire ports till that was abandoned for what? SD card slot! Useless

  3. Meanwhile, Microsoft announced full support for USB 3.0 in Windows 7 and 8. I’m glad to see that Microsoft is preparing to fight the previous war with an already obsolete technology that even Intel isn’t thrilled about having to support. So much for vision.

    If you wondered why Microsoft is Microsoft, look no further.

    When the original iMac made its debut, it pioneered the use of USB even before Windows PCs. Pundits sneered. Fast forward a few years and USB became ubiquitous. I have a hunch that eventually, PC makers will get a clue.

    To those writing above, keep your trousers on – Thunderbolt peripherals are on the way.

    It’s the legacy of Steve Jobs to teach us to skate to where the puck will be – not to where it’s been.

      1. Um, no. While Microsoft did co-design USB with several other companies, they couldn’t force anybody to use it, so USB didn’t “come to Windows machines” first.

        As is so typical, the PeeCee market (manufacturers and users) dragged their feet and hung on to the old peripheral standards (serial and parallel). Meanwhile, Apple shipped a new product (iMac) with exactly one peripheral interface (USB), FORCING the industry to support it. Apple sold millions of iMacs, and it served as a catalyst to jump-start USB adoption.

        So, Brian is right in that Apple did indeed pioneer the USE of USB.

        It’s one thing to design and engineer a new standard. It’s a whole other thing to actually integrate, market, and sell a new technology that pushes the envelope instead of relying on old standards.

        Apple was WAY ahead of essentially all the PC manufacturers at the time just like they are now with Thunderbolt.

        1. Just to clarify, I meant that even though Windows PCs had USB, nobody was actually using it. There were millions of Windows computers on the market at the time that didn’t have USB ports or the operating system to support them, so most peripherals (even if they were USB) were connected via parallel or serial, and therefore the peripheral manufacturers kept supporting serial and USB support was few and far between. The iMac changed that.

      2. Remember how hard it was to find USB keyboards and Mice for PCs, let alone PCs that came with them. It took YEARS for the PS2 mouse to start disappearing. It is still around.

  4. “…..Um, no. USB is a Microsoft co-invention and came to Windows machines 1st…..”

    Who cares ? …

    ….but here’s food for thought:

    Isn’t it just like MicroCrap to be waiting for a train …
    that’s ALREADY left the station ?

  5. i didn’t buy my new MBA because of thunderbolt, I bought it because of the lighted keyboard and because it’s faster then my 2010 MBA. As of right now thunderbolt is useless and will stay that way for the forseeable future since the couple of devices that have been announced are way too expensive.

    USB3 would have been much more useful. Hopefully thunderbolt does better then FireWire. Here’s hoping for that Chinese backwards engineering that should give us some affordable options!

  6. The similarites between Thunderbolt and FireWire are noted: serial high speed connection from one device to the next model, vis-à-vis USB’s one-to-many breakout hubs model.
    Remember, Thunderbolt was developed by Intel in close collaboration with the inventor of FireWire (Apple).
    Didn’t Intel also develop the USB protocol.
    Also, once the Thunderbolt signal is inside a device, if I’m not mistaken, it appears that it can be split and diverted into Display, FireWire and USB streams, vis-à-vis the new Apple Display.

  7. Why must we always argue USB vs thunderbolt? They are radically different tech. I do not believe we will ever see a thunderbolt mouse, keyboard, webcam, thumb drive, smartboard, Ethernet adapter, talking Teddy bear, midi keyboard, etc. Thunderbolt devices are daisy chained, like FireWire, making them impractical for small, cheap peripherals.

    Yes, USB has problems, but it’s most realistic competitor is Bluetooth or other wireless tech.

  8. “Expect great things when many more Thunderbolt peripherals start shipping in the next 6 months.”

    Mmmm… yeah. Yet, here we are in March, 2012 and barely any new Thunderbolt products.

    Way to sink a promising technology, guys.

  9. Yes you all are right with apple and all its wonders, including thunderbolt. However, depite all the bells and whistles apple only holds about 6% of the global pc market. Pathetic, isn’t it?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.