According to a report from iLounge, manufacturers aren’t producing AirPlay and Thunderbolt I/O-capable devices as fast as other products largely due to the high costs for licensing and producing items that work with these two standards.
AirPlay, which Apple introduced in 2010 to allow iOS users to stream audio and video content wirelessly to speakers, the AirPort Express, and the AppleTV, reportedly adds up to $100 to the final cost on an iDevice accessory. That added expense is causing many manufacturers to back off on adopting the technology into their lineups.
Further, the cost of adding Thunderbolt I/O technology to existing external hard drives (for instance) is said to roughly equate to the cost of an entire low-end drive (presumably around $100). The result is that Thunderbolt will likely only make it into high-end products, and likely wont end up in many consumer households. It also may be the reason that the iPad 2 did not receive Thunderbolt compatibility.
Indeed, it does seem like the only products that tend to have support for AirPlay or Thunderbolt are higher-end products. AirPlay is typically only found in expensive wireless speaker units, while the only products that have been announced with Thunderbolt support are high-end video or storage solutions from companies like Matrox, Lacie, and Promise.
If true, this represents a concerning state within the consumer electronics industry, will result in significant delays and fewer options for products supporting either of these standards, and might result in consumers largely being left out, with manufacturer’s directing their products to industries and professional users.
I certainly hope that the fees and manufacturing costs for these two promising technologies comes down soon, as it will be a true shame for consumers to be left high and dry on such promising technological achievements.
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