Is the Cost of Adding AirPlay or Thunderbolt Support Limiting Manufacturers?
A recent article from iLounge indicates that one of the major reasons for the relatively low amount of peripherals that implement the two most significant Apple standards released this year, AirPlay which debuted back in September 2010, and Thunderbolt, which first arrived on the Mac with the release of the revised MacBook Pro in February, may be from the high price Apple demands in licensing these standards to manufacturers. The price is so significant, apparently, that adding AirPlay to a set of wireless speakers may add as much as $100 to the retail price, meaning that it is almost impossible for lower-end models to support this functionality. The Thunderbolt side seems no better, as according to this article, adding Thunderbolt connectivity to a hard drive costs almost as much as the hard drive itself.
What does this mean for consumers? It's simple, if you want either of these functionalities you are going to have to pay the price. AirPlay has seen a limited number of devices with the functionality added in, but the cheapest on the market right now is $230, which is certainly not cheap. Still, it should be expected with the incredibly high transfer rates of Thunderbolt, we will see certain companies release higher-end models that implement the technology. In fact, LaCie has announced a "Little Big Disk
" SSD that will use Thunderbolt connectivity, with read speeds of over 800 MB per second and write speeds well above 300 MB per second.
It may be possible that Apple is keeping the price of implementation high temporarily in order for peripherals to roll out slowly, but in order for their implementation to see widespread use, it's clear that Apple will have to consider lowering their asking price. Until that happens though, expect to pay a premium for these new Apple standards.
High AirPlay, Thunderbolt costs limiting iOS options? | iLounge News