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AirPlay and Thunderbolt rumored too costly for most devices

updated 05:55 pm EDT, Fri June 24, 2011

AirPlay, Thunderbolt may add 100 to device prices

Both AirPlay and Thunderbolt may be prohibitively expensive for a large number of device makers for either to become mainstream in the near future, sources rumored Friday. AirPlay wireless audio streaming allegedly adds as much as $100 to the price of an audio system since it involves more than just introducing Wi-Fi. Costs were getting lower, iLounge heard, but even Philips' Fidelio system costs $230.

Thunderbolt was already known to be expensive and is currently limited to very fast external storage. The price of the necessary hardware for a port is now said to be as much as a low-end hard drive and doesn't make sense for low-capacity storage. The price would rule out any integration with iOS devices, although that was already unlikely given Intel's current aversion to supporting ARM-based devices.

The AirPort costs are partly supported by our own experiences. Sonos' current solution to AirPlay is to use an AirPort Express router in an ad-hoc solution. Some of that may have been cast into doubt by Apple's own Apple TV, where AirPlay was added through software and the $99 price covers the full device.

Apple might not be in any immediate rush to lower the price but does have potential competition in the long term. Google's Android@Home should eventually give Android hardware AirPlay-like ability if and when accessory makers adapt to the platform.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Inkling

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jul 2006

    -5

    Cost factor & availability

    The future cost of Thunderbolt products, as much as their current absence, is one reason why I'm waiting for Macs to get USB 3.0 to upgrade. Since I don't do video, much less video on huge RAID systems, it's probably overkill for any purpose I might have.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    +14

    Eh, what is the actual

    licensing cost?

    If I recall, manufacturers and developers were complaining over the cost of firewire too, which turned out to be like $1.00 per port, er something.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2009

    +3

    Re: Firewire

    Actually, the manufacturers complained about the cost of Firewire and dragged their heels because they were looking for a way to punish Apple for charging at all, at a time when having a personal hatred of Apple was a sound business decision. Thunderbolt may have problems, but since Intel is pushing it the problems will probably be of a different type. My guess is that the "low-end hard drive" they're comparing it to is a low-end USB flash drive, which you can now get for practically nothing.

    I can understand why Airplay would be more expensive, though -- a device which does Airplay needs not just a Wifi connection, but has to be capable of running a bunch of higher-level stuff on top of it, and then the device has to communicate with that whole protocol stack. Unless I've missed something, there is no drop-in chip anyone makes which handles everything, which is the only way you could drive the price significantly down on that.

  1. facebook_Steven

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011

    +3

    BridgeCo is Apple's partner for AirPlay integratio

    BridgeCo’s Web page asks CE makers to inquire about embedding the AirPlay technology in their audio products. The cost is reportedly $4 per device for audio. Apple may want a higher license fee for technology that receives videos. BridgeCo quotes a price of $10 to $15 to include their reference design hardware in devices that want to do the basics. They do also list a price of $10,000 to purchase a license, hardware and design customization.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Eh, what is the actual

    licensing cost?

    If I recall, manufacturers and developers were complaining over the cost of firewire too, which turned out to be like $1.00 per port, er something.


    It isn't just licensing cost. it's also cost of the parts.

    If you read the article, it says the cost of the parts for a PORT is the same as a cheap hard drive. That's expensive for a port most people will never use.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Firewire

    Actually, the manufacturers complained about the cost of Firewire and dragged their heels because they were looking for a way to punish Apple for charging at all, at a time when having a personal hatred of Apple was a sound business decision.

    Right... All those PC companies just hated Apple, and that was how they based their decisions. What a load of c***.

    If they all hated apple, why did they all embrace USB, which you all claim Apple pushed to the forefront and drove from niche port to standard? Wouldn't every other business just run away because Apple used it?

    The reason companies never used firewire is because Apple and it's partners did a poor job of pushing it. They let their greed (which I've heard came mostly from Texas Instruments) push for licensing costs. And then USB 2 came out, and it was backwards compatible, and just as good for most uses that a user is gong to notice. And then there was no need.

    And, remember, Apple themselves dropped firewire from the iPod. Why? Because it was too expensive and duplicated what USB already did, so there just wasn't any point.

    Thunderbolt may have problems, but since Intel is pushing it the problems will probably be of a different type. My guess is that the "low-end hard drive" they're comparing it to is a low-end USB flash drive, which you can now get for practically nothing.

    No, they're talking hard drive, the kind of thing you would actually use to connect to Thunderbolt. And you think this version is expensive, wait until they get the fiber version actually working.

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