Intel defends omitting Thunderbolt from Ultrabook spec
By Barry Collins
Posted on 29 Jan 2013 at 14:51
Intel has defended its decision to omit its ground-breaking Thunderbolt technology from the revised Ultrabook specification.
The chip giant last month revised the Ultrabook specification, mandating that PC makers include touchscreens and its WiDi wireless display technology in future laptops.
However, Thunderbolt - the high-speed interface for external peripherals that was jointly developed by Intel and Apple - wasn't included in the specification, despite now being on the market for almost two years.
Buyer's guideThe best laptops to buy in 2013
Speaking at an event in London earlier today, Intel's business client marketing manager admitted that it's not a technology consumers or businesses are crying out for. "Is Thunderbolt something that's going capture a big demand? Not necessarily at this stage," said Rob Sheppard.
"Thunderbolt was a technology we co-developed with Apple," added Intel's UK technical PR manager, Anna Cheng. "There was always going to be some complications."
(Update at 9am, 30 January 2013: Intel's Anna Cheng has asked us to clarify that she mis-spoke in yesterday's press conference, and that Thunderbolt was developed solely by Intel. The chip maker is also keen to stress that it does recommend manufacturers include Thunderbolt in their devices, even though it's not a requirement.)
Take-up of the Thunderbolt technology has been risible since its early 2011 launch. Only Apple has embraced Thunderbolt with gusto, with most PC makers sticking to USB 3 ports, and peripheral makers offering only a smattering of Thunderbolt-enabled disk drives or displays.
Bring your own Ultrabook?
Another trend that's failed to make any dent in the laptop market is "bring your own device," according to Sheppard.
"BYOD is happening with phones and tablets, it's not happening with PCs," he said. "Not in a big way."
Pressed on why BYOD wasn't extending to laptops, Sheppard claimed "there are too many complications around it, especially when you look at things like tax and reclaiming purchase costs".
However, Sheppard insisted there was growing demand for Ultrabooks in businesses, with more than a dozen business-oriented devices now on the market. New models offering removable batteries, upgradable components and docking stations were all increasing the attractiveness of Ultrabooks to corporate buyers, Sheppard insisted.
BYOD also has licensing problems. Those bringing a "personal" laptop to work need to ensure that they buy a "proper" copy of Office etc. They cannot use Home & Student, if they take the device to work, which means a couple of hundred quid more outlay.
Who picks up the bill? The same goes, but even more so, for professional applications, like Adobe Creative Suite or developer tools.
By big_D on 29 Jan 2013
Is anyone really interested in Thunderbolt?
USB3 is plenty fast (as is USB2 to be honest). What's the real need for Thunderbolt?
By everton2004 on 29 Jan 2013
What's the real need is a good question
Not sure but at least it pushes the more standard USB to be further developed like FireWire did. Does anyone still use FireWire for anything?
By mr_chips on 29 Jan 2013
I do every so often, still have an old FW400 camcorder that I can't be bothered to replace (only keep it because of optical zoom).
Personally, at this stage I can't see TB being anything more than a niche product. It has potential in certain areas but for the mass market I can't see them using these unless maybe if there is a major push by device manufacturers.
By tech3475 on 29 Jan 2013
Wrong brand name
Surely you mean Intel omitted Light Peak from its ultrabook spec. Isn't Thunderbolt an Apple trademark for its specific implementation of Light Peak?
By TheBigM72 on 29 Jan 2013
I still use firewire when I shoot tethered in my studio with my Hasselblad H4D and a Mac Book Air, via the thunderbolt adaptor of course.
By Viktor on 30 Jan 2013
No, Thunderbolt was a stop-gap measure, because Intel couldn't get Light Peak working reliably / cheaply enough at the time it was needed, so they came out with Thunderbolt to try and stem the tide of USB3 until the fibre version in the form of Light Peak was ready for the market.
By big_D on 30 Jan 2013
i would love to use it but devices still too expensive
With the proliferation of huge mega pixel cameras & HD video. I am finding that i am generating huge ammounts of data. I dont like storing and editing these files on my opperating system disk, as over time it will dent the performance of my PC and internal disk capacity will be limited. Being able to keep these hugh files on external storage and still being able to perform all my editing tasks with no lag is a big benefit. USB 2 cannot handle the demands of HD editing, esp multi tracks. I find USB3 works very well. TB maybe better, but the extra cost vs usb 3.0 is, in my mind, not worth it.
By rcoll on 30 Jan 2013
- Is it worth upgrading a media centre to Windows 8?
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't