Thunderbolt strikes thin on the ground

While many had believed that Apple’s February announcement that it was going to adopt Intel’s Thunderbolt standard was a sign it was going places, take up among manufacturers has been surprisingly small.

Fans who believe the “everyone copies Apple” diktak painted a glorious future for Thunderbolt at the time.

More than one pundit suggested that the new standard could kill off the PC by allowing mini sized computers to be endlessly expanded via external Thunderbolt-connected peripherals.

However, ten months later Thunderbolt is nowhere to be seen, even among the early adopter Apple’s range.

TUAW points out that if you go to Apple’s store and search for ‘Thunderbolt’, you’ll see 11 products, all expensive high end gear. Three are Apple’s own ultra-expensive Thunderbolt Display (plus its VESA mount) and the official Thunderbolt cable. There are three LaCie BigDisks, at $500 for 1 TB and $600 for 2 TB, or $900 for an ultra-fast SSD unit. You can also buy four types of Promise Drobo-like RAID boxes, starting from $1150 or a Promise Thunderbolt-to-Fibre-Channel adaptor, for $800 and that is it.

None of the beasts are consumer orientated and the 2 TB LaCie disk, which is twice the price of an equivalent eSATA/Firewire model, is just as fast using eSATA as it is Thunderbolt.

While there are shedloads of promises, there is nothing likely to be seen until at least next month.

The Intel Developer Forum showed off Thunderbolt in September this year, but manufacturers were long on promises and short on firm prices or shipping dates. Blackmagic’s HDMI capture device is available now, but that’s a rather specialist piece of kit costing $300. Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock won’t be out until “spring 2012” and has no suggested price.

Ten months after Thunderbolt was announced, there is sod all out there and little coming.

Part of the problem might be its cost. A single Thunderbolt cable costs more than an entire eSATA-equipped drive dock.