Two of Apple’s more intriguing innovations of late include AirPlay and Thunderbolt, the former being the mechanism by which users can wirelessly stream music from their iOS device to speakers and the latter being the blazing fast transfer technology Apple developed jointly with Intel.
The utility behind the aforementioned features is undeniable, yet there remains a dearth of AirPlay and Thunderbolt supported hardware out on the market.
So what gives?
The typically reliable Charles Starett of iLounge relays that it all comes down to basic economics. Starett writes that hardware manufacturers looking to add AirPlay support to speakers results in a “retail bump” of approximately $100. So while you can find AirPlay supported speakers on the market today, the added cost means that you won’t see the feature in speakers that occupy the lower end of the price spectrum.
Our sources have described the AirPlay technologies as considerably more expensive to incorporate than Apple’s standard docking Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad Dock Connectors, and noted that Apple is very heavily pushing developers to adopt the wireless technologies despite the costs involved.
Regarding Thunderbolt, Starett writes adding a Thunderbolt port to an external hard drive can sometimes be as expensive as the actual hard drive itself. Again, the end result is that we likely won’t see Thunderbolt support in anything but more of the higher end type devices. Moreover, Starett theorizes that the added cost means that we likely won’t see Apple incorporate Thunderbolt support into its iOS devices anytime soon as a means to keep costs down.