Secrets to Apple success: Displays; Apple sets the standard

“While it’s common knowledge that Apple is a product trendsetter via the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air, its status as a standard setter is not as widely known,” Brooke Crothers reports for CNET.

“Ever heard of Thunderbolt? If you have (many CNET readers undoubtedly have) it’s almost entirely owing to Apple, which has been the exclusive adopter of that interface technology, developed by Intel, on its Macs,” Crothers reports. “While it’s unclear whether Thunderbolt will catch on in a big way, the fact that Apple has first-adopter status is one reason other device makers are taking a serious look at the technology. And recent reports suggest that Acer, Asus, and Lenovo are moving to adopt Thunderbolt.”

MacDailyNews Take: Thunderbolt has already caught on because it is in Macs and where Macs go, Windows PCs follow at a distance. Not to mention that Apple currently moves 5+ million Macs per quarter or that Apple patent applications detail Thunderbolt for iOS devices, or that Thunderbolt simply blows everything else away in terms of speed and simplicity. Thunderbolt will eventually filter down to the Windows PC sufferers (or, if they’re lucky, they’ll have upgraded to Thunderbolt-equipped Macs long before the PC assemblers get around to it).

Crothers reports, “But Apple’s standard-setter status is particularly conspicuous in display technology, according to Richard Shim, an analyst at DisplaySearch. He points to the probable adoption by Apple of Sharp’s IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology in its future iPads. ‘For Sharp, IGZO is a big deal,’ said Shim, in a phone interview this week. Why? If Sharp can make those displays in commercial volumes for Apple, IGZO may become an industry standard for the next-generation of displays, not to mention a licensing bonanza for Sharp, according to Shim.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple to drop IPS for IGZO Retina displays for next-gen iPad, sources say – December 30, 2011
Apple patents reveal Thunderbolt is headed for iOS devices – January 5, 2012
Thunderbolt isn’t just a faster USB – and Mac buyers see that – August 25, 2011
Apple’s Thunderbolt cable costs $49 because it’s smart – June 30, 2011
Mac Thunderbolt speed tests obliterate USB 2.0, FireWire 800 – June 29, 2011
Thunderbolt-equipped Mac: You’re so going to want this – May 5, 2011


  1. I would agree with you about where macs go windows follow but Firewire, which we had for years, never caught on with the PC world and isn’t even widely adopted over 10 years later…

    1. I’ve always laid the blame for that at Apple’s feet. They tried charging a license fee of something like $1 per device port at first, which galvanized the mass adoption of the free USB 2 standard. Though they later dropped the fee to maybe $0.25 per device, it was too little too late.

      And so we were stuck with a “high speed” technology that was technologically inferior to FireWire in almost every way.

        1. I think the thing that dealt a fatal blow to FireWire was the boneheaded decision to create a new connector for FW800. Not only was this decision self-defeating in itself, its design is not robust or reliable unlike the original FW400 port.

      1. i agree mostly – but do not see firewire 400 or 800 as INFERIOR.

        IF you wished to add a Firewire card to your PC it was possible. Selling machines with standard equipment is how most people buy computers.

        Equip a machine with the best round of technology STOCK; and hope it carries off to a world wide standard is the right way to market things – Apples takes RISKs well.

        Thunderbolt has many uses… not just for hard drives – but other informational transfers. USB2 has down well – but Firewire main use was for video files – unfortunately not all consumers needed that.

        The backwards compatibility and future in USB3 will be LIVE also as a standard on Mac also – right there with Thunderbolt. So why worry?

  2. Probably the biggest impact from Apple is USB. The original iMac, introduced in 1998, had no serial port, no parallel port, no ADB, no floppy disk drive – leading to the obsolence of those technologies.

    It did have USB. The only USB devices at that time were Apple’s mouse and keyboard.

    They certainly led the way with USB.

    1. AND now those peripherals once using USB1 or USB2 – now have been replaces by BLUETOOTH… wireless keyboard, magic mouse and magic trackpad…
      I don’t see many people complaining about BLUETOOTH.

      1. Actually, Bluetooth has not lived up to its original hype. At one time, a company could get a stock boost just by mentioning that it was adding BT to its devices (regardless of the merit). Years later, however, many people still prefer RF mice over BT mice. I would not be surprised if a new NFC protocol kicks BT to the side fairly soon.

  3. I’m hoping companies will soon gear up and produce cables and adapters for the different connectors. I just bought an external hard drive from OWC for my SuperDuper backups on my MacBook Pro, but they don’t have Thunderbolt on any of their units yet. I’m using Firewire 800 but would prefer to use Thunderbolt to eSATA if it was available. I wonder if anything will come out of CES.

    1. “On a clear day, you” … well, maybe not you ;-)… “can see forever.”

      Uh oh. I just showed my age. (old enough to know that song, not juvenile enough to make the comment, I hope).

      I think Thunderbolt has legs – far more so than USB3. It is not only a much faster, and much more versatile bus now – the future product map is very bright (10 X faster by 2010, unless this is wishful thinking / marketing smoke on Intel’s part – I don’t think so, but we’ll see). Apple will continue to push/work with Intel on this – simplification has always been one of their design principles and Thunderbolt is taking us to a single bus standard for display, peripherals, etc…

  4. Do you simply crave attention? Obviously.

    One look at an Apple Thunderbolt Display shows how amazing Thunderbolt is. Audio, video, multiple USB ports, Ethernet, FW800 all from one port.

  5. Close to a year after the first Thunderbolt on a Mac, I still cannot get, at the local office supplies mega-store, an external hard disk with a Thunderbolt port or a Firewire port. Only USB 2.0 and 3.0 — so if MDN believes his comment about the PC industry following Mac, he’s looks in the mirror and believes everything, provided it comes out of his mouth.

    1. You’re better off to go online for those type of drives. Check out NewEgg, Tiger Direct or Other World Computing. I think only Lacie and Pegasus have Thunderbolt at this time, but there are more choices in Firewire 400/800, either in complete drives or enclosures. But, still not as many as USB; that’s just the way it is.

      1. Seagate has announced a Thunderbolt base/adapter that will be able to be used with their FreeAgent GoFlex drives to convert the 800/400 FW, USB2 drive or their USB3 drive to Thunderbolt. It at least gives an upgrade path if you need to purchase a drive now.

        It is another question as to how good Seagate drives are. Actually, I would be interested in comments on this. I have heard Western Digital is better, I know WD has different levels of drives from their Green Caviar to Black Caviar (server grade). I have never had good experiences with Lacie drives – I always have run into weird compatibility issues with other peripherals, etc… I’d like to pick up either a 3TB drive or a 6TB dual for RAID 1 as 3TB. I’d love to have RAID 5 or 10, but can’t afford it. Anyone have suggestions?

          1. Nice.

            Besides not being a network drive, I wonder how they compare to Western Digital’s My Book Live Duo RAIDs – for reliability and speed.

            Now I’m going way off topic, but I have another question. If you have an external drive used for both Time Machine and for an iTunes server, do you need to partition the drives to keep Time Machine from eventually gobbling up all the available space? What’s best practice in this case?

            1. I don’t recommend partitioning a Time Machine drive or co-locating an iTunes library on it. You are best to have separate drives for each purpose.
              I have a Time Capsule (an older, 500GB model) for my backups and a WD My Passport Studio (FW800, 500GB) for my iTunes library and transporting files.

        1. Seagate used to sell solid HDDs with five year warranties. WD drives were pretty solid, too, for a number of years and were generally the OEM HDDs in Macs. The Caviar Black series used to be the go to drive. But Seagate bought Maxtor, which had a spottier HDD quality record, and reduced warranties to three years. And there has been a general slide to the bottom in terms of both price and quality for all HDD manufacturers. They provided more storage at lower prices, but at a significant loss of reliability and a lot of DOAs.

          Hitachi and Samsung are also players in the HDD market. As much as many people dislike Samsung lately (and I include myself in that group), they do offer some decent quality HDDs. I do not have any experience with Hitachi HDDs, but some of them get good reviews. Every manufacturer has good and bad products.

          The ultimate in quality are the enterprise HDDs. But you generally pay a good bit more for them. For instance, you might pay more for a 1TB enterprise HDD than you would for a 2TB standard drive. Any drive can (and will eventually) fail, but the cheaper drives fail more often and in less time. Why burden yourself with the aggravation of dealing with cheap drives? Reliability is a critical part of a good backup plan. The proper RAID setup (mirrored for data redundancy, striped for speed) can combine a degree of security with performance. But you still need offsite backup in case of fire, flood, windstorm, or theft.

  6. Other standards to consider is wifi, html5, AAC

    Both hardware and software have benefited.

    For thunderbolt it would help if more adapters come out so that you could use current peripherals

  7. There are no Apple secrets to its success. Steve Jobs said it himself, that Apple just wants to make great products for people, who will vote with their wallets. To paraphrase SJ: “If people like what we’re doing, they’ll buy ’em. If they don’t, they won’t. It will all work itself out.”.

    Never forget that it is the consumer that decides if a product is worthy of being purchased or not. If nobody buys, then the company suffers. There is no secret.

  8. “MacDailyNews Take: Thunderbolt has already caught on because it is in Macs and where Macs go, Windows PCs follow at a distance.”
    Yea, like those tens of millions of FireWire equipped Windows PCs.

    1. Not what MDN said–look at any current non-Mac computer, and you see the Mac influence. All innovations come from Mac, but not all Mac innovations are adopted widely.

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