You can play word games, but "being the start AND END" of a chain is not a chainable product. What on earth do you hope to accomplish by saying that the Apple adapter, without a second TB port that allows chaining, supports chaining? All it can do, like any other device that does NOT support chaining, is END a chain.
For what it is, which is a non-chainable $29 adapter, it's an excellent product and an excellent value. Do we need to play more word games?
It supports daisy chaining FW800 devices, not diasy chaining TB devices (which is what you might've meant). I own several FW HDDs/FW Card reader and with the FW-TB adapter been able to successfully daisy chain my FW devices via this adapter to my MBP. If you need to daisy chain TB devices then yeah you're out of luck in low cost options till someone does something about it.
You're right that I didn't know who you contacted, but by the same token, you personally e-mailing them isn't the same thing as I was suggesting. I was suggesting petitioning them. The odd email can be ignored/overlooked, it doesn't speak an apparent business opportunity compared to a petition which might make the demand more noticeable.
PS. I could do with a simple TB hub like you say, as I own one TB HDD and several DP display adapters and it would be nice to be able to use them along with the FW converter simultaneously.
Pathetic. Flatter yourself that you've won the debate (is that the Yale Debate Club style I detect? We beat the pants off them every time). Here's where it falls down: if you have a Mac with one TB port and you want to connect both a FW disk and a DVI monitor, you're out of luck without spending $300 for the Belkin device or similar. What we need is a lower-cost, lower-functionality solution.
The Apple TB-FW adapter does not chain TB. It chains FW downstream. I can daisychain USB devices by changing technology, too: I tie a length of twine with a YoYo on the end to my USB disk, and then tie another YoYo to that, ad nauseum. Presto, daisychained as far as you care, no limit of 7 devices, as long as they're YoYos or other twine devices. Apple's TB-FW adapter does not chain TB. Pedants don't fill technology gaps.
I think there's some mixed signals going on here, plus some obvious on-going frustration too. Thing is, acting like a bit of a d'ck about it and resorting to personally attacking each other won't help the situation either, constructive conversations have a better chance of achieving something useful, but this conversation has largely become very circular because, well, there's not really been any changes to the situation in some time now.
When we've talked about chaining devices (with some assuming this being specific to TB daisy chaining whilst various others of us talking about it on a more general level), the tangent that was taken was that you CAN daisy chain devices via the thunderbolt port, something NOT previously possible on machines like MBAs (that *only* supported USB originally), IF you use Firewire. We've also established this can be done cheaply too with Apple's TB-FW adapter.
Resorting to the use of reductio ad absurdum with the USB-YoYo example is hardly an attempt at constructive conversation, either is name calling for that matter. Incidentally if FW's ability to daisy chain is NOT relevant to what people want, then why do people keep bringing up the relevant adapter in the first place? Recent posts seem to indicate that a FW->TB+2ndary TB port Adapter is what's primarily desired (and it'd be great if Apple could produce this), so mentioning FW->TB specifically is only confusing matters. (A FW->TB+2ndary TB port adapter I'm guessing would also meet xgrep's needs where he stated "So here I am with an array of nice FW800 disks that I can't use without unplugging the 22" monitor that's hogging the only TB port.")
We've also established there is NO cheap TB hub on the market and that too frequently TB peripherals currently available, thanks to poor manufacturer decisions (not Apple's decisions) do NOT often support daisy chaining IN SPITE of the fact TB DOES support this. There are docks available which does pretty much all we need, but comes at more of a susbtantial premium than the norm due to the otherwise currently niche nature of this technology (and the relevant economies of scale).
We've also established that the engineering required to build what we want isn't as simple as building FW/USB peripherals and that the barrier to entry from a development perspective is more restrictive (thanks to Intel in part now, and to some degree Apple originally). The example of Moore's Law can be quite appropriately applied to this situation too. We could hope manufacturers just drop prices to sell more stock, offset the R&D costs over time and help bring more mainstream adoption, but I doubt they have that much of an investment in its future right now to really care about helping to make TB more mainstream. Hopefully time will result, as xgrep suggested, in a reduction of the cost of producing the technology utilised by TB and thus increase the chances of more mainstream adoption, but this is also very much at threat, even if prices do drop, due to upcoming updates to USB due in late 2014, taking USB3 to 10gb/sec also (http://uk.hardware.info/news/36117/version-2-of-the-usb-30-standard-available-la te-2014)
In addition we've also discovered that xgrep has taken the positive step of contacting various manufacturers, but to seemingly no avail. That said, maintaining sour grapes is hardly helpful, all due to a decision to buy what was at the time bleeding edge technology used in a machine with a known history of having very limited port support, just because it was launched with some initial support for that new technology, was never a guarantee that it would build sufficient momentum to become well supported either or that it would become that much more affordable over time. Promises of support that never materialise are just that, promises.
It'd be like being ****** off that you bought a Beta Video player then being irritated that few people supported it over VHS, or that you bought an Apple Newton and that its support dwindled quickly, or that you bought the new Ouya Android console and realised it will likely never gain real traction or likely be getting (much?) support for any big gaming titles. I used to own a pretty niche computer platform and peripherals were far more costly than for more mainstream and more established platforms, but I knew that in owning something that was currently niche that it was a reasonable expectation that my options would be limited and that the prices I would need to pay would likely be higher, sometimes substantially so. It came with the territory, even if that did prove to be a pain at times.
Purchasing a MBA, a line of Apple laptops that has always been infamous for its extremely limited port count (one of the primary reason I've never bought one, even though its form factor really appealed to me), means you get a consistent kind of experience Apple has *always* offered with the MBA, an ultra-portable machine with very limited port options. MBP's is where the port flexibility is, MBA is all about the sleek form factor and its light weight, but it's always had what I considered to be shortcomings on the expandability side of things.
I personally purchased my MBP when TB had already had the time to establish a reasonable expectation as to the level of support it might receive, it doesn't mean I need to cease hoping for more, but I can't claim i'm being unfairly done by either, as it was my choice, no one forced me to make that decision, there were alternatives.
The most absurd aspect of this whole conversation though is that we *all* have the _same_ desire, for someone to produce and release a TB hub (@ preferably under the $100 mark too) and having a go at each other does little towards achieving this shared goal (beyond getting the thread count up and slightly increasing the chance of someone who matters noticing this thread). Also what seems to repeatedly occur is where people offer suggestions, the reactions to those suggestions is to deride those people for trying to help in the first place because it wasn't the solution that meets that persons personal criteria. Not exactly constructive either.
If a company (Apple or otherwise) was doing research into building such a product, I imagine that they probably would've stopped reading this thread after the first few pages and already feel they have a sufficient feel for what we desire, especially at the point where this conversation frequently spiraled down into attacking each other, with only the occasional reprieve, where actual constructive suggestions / comments have been made. This continued existance of this thread is important as a few people have pointed out, but the contents of it however has become decreasingly so as it has gone on by comparison.
Thanks, that was very thoughtful. I will offer a couple of comments, but most of what you said needs no rebuttal.
First, I'm surprised that you didn't understand that the obsession with the $29 Apple TB-FW adapter has little to do with a desire to daisychain Firewire, and everything to do with the fact that it's a simple, single-function device that costs $29. We want devices in the under-$100 range. As it happens to one of a very few devices in this price range at the moment, it's the one that gets use as the example. What that simple adapter lacks is the ability to chain TB so that we can have other single-function under-$100 adapters in our configuration. While it's true that if you bought one of every possible single-function adapter, you might spend around $300, most people don't need all of them. I need only two (FW and DVI), or maybe three (eSATA).
Next, everyone who bought a first-gen Air (I was one) knew that they'd be using a USB hub. They had no expectations, set by Apple or anyone else, that things would improve for that product. It was an *inconvenience* to have only one USB port, but you could still have as many USB devices as the system could handle. I have a couple of 8-port hubs that I regularly used with my Air. The one nasty restriction that the Air had on its USB port was that the SuperDrive had to be plugged directly into that port, and could not be used through a hub with Mac OS (you could use it through a powered hub with Windows running on a Boot Camp partition, though). So if you wanted to use the SuperDrive, all other USB devices had to be unplugged. That's pretty bad. A lot of people were disappointed with the SuperDrive restriction and ended up buying a different DVD+RW drive that could be used through a hub.
The situation with a single TB port is far worse, because, without devices that support TB chaining, you can't have more than one. Period. Yes, I can plug in my entire closet full of FW devices, but I can't have my monitor, too. Or I can have the monitor and nothing else. We all expected that TB, like most new technologies, would eventually enjoy a plethora of lower-cost devices long before now. As we all agree, that day *will* come, but it has taken so long that many people are at the point of replacing their MBA without ever having been able to make full use of the TB port.
I'm shocked that this limitation - which can only be overcome with $300 devices - seems irrelevant to some people.
Finally, we shouldn't conclude that my efforts to provide feedback to vendors is "to no avail". As I mentioned, hardware development cycles are long. Also, I don't just email, I use the "official" feedback mechanism provided on their support sites, as do many others. You can probably assume that vendors have received a lot of feedback this way, not just mine. So we can be pretty confident that products are in the pipeline. But this has turned out to be a longer pipeline than consumers expected based on expectations that were set early on.
Now, for something slightly off this discussion: hubs and daisychaining, while they both allow for multiple devices to be attached to a single port, they have different characteristics that may significantly affect a user's experience. One that's been noted is power: a hub architecture allows max power to be supplied to each port. A daisy chain necessarily consumes power at each link, so that it may not be possible to use some devices too far down the chain (if they don't have outboard power possibility). This has already been noted by users of Apple's TB-FW adapter, who were previously able to daisychain some disks on a "real" Firewire port, but can't with the adapter. This is not a big surprise, but it's a disappointment to many.
Another difference is hot-plug behavior: when you want to disconnect a device from a hub, it's sufficient that your system stop using that device (dismount disk, for example) for it to be safe to unplug it. With a daisy chain, everything downstream of a device that you want to remove must be safe for removal. This can be a major inconvenience. Personally, I don't consider this to be a serious enough inconvenience to reject daisy chain - it's certainly better than requiring a port for every device - but it's something that affects the user experience.
I am using the 1st generation Belkin express dock. I am getting kernel panics, and briefly had monitor synchronization issues. (fixed by deleting sleepimage file) I now have a monitor with a displayport -- dvi adaptor hooked up to it, apple mouse and keyboard, bose companion II speakers, and a firewire hard drive.
The ASD came back negative. all passed with 2-4 loops. (but without my peripheals.)
The apple store says and I believe them that the thunderbolt dock or ones of its accessories is the cause.
I have had kernel panics before this and before the dock, but their stance is they already replaced the logic board twice (once for KPs and once for video card failure) and now it tests correctly.
Hubs are fair easier to deal with than daisy chaining, but thats how many people have dealt with hooking up FW devices for many years now (probably in part due to the relative obscurity of FW hubs, of which I've never seen a FW800 hub, only FW400). A simple cheap TB adapter that provided more than a single connector would be desirable, making it multi-purpose hopefully without being as multi-functional / deluxe as the dock offerings, and so hopefully considerably more affordable too.
I haven't yet encountered power issues with Apple's TB->FW adapter, but the HDD's I attach are all self-powered units, where as my FW800 card reader is probably relatively low powered, so that's likely why.
As having many adapters goes, I am overrun with them, even more so due to Apple introducing Lightning connectors on the iOS side (it'd be great if they offered a Lightning->TB cable, but Lightning is not so dissimilar to USB technically). So now I have devices/adapters with all of the following connectors: FW400, FW800, USB2, USB3, eSATA, 30-pin, Lightning, Thunderbolt, DisplayPort ->DVI/VGA/HDMI, HDMI (and if I go to my old machines, this list could be significantly expanded.. RS-232 anyone?!).
I have tried to find a solution to this problem with a 11" Macbook Air and in the end I decided that the rumoured problems with latency and glitches with the new Belkin thunderbolt hub etc meant that this wouldn't help when I am running latency sensitive RME hardware off the thunderbolt port. As a provisional solution I have decided to try a USB 2.0->DVI adapter instead which will hopefully allow me to at least use a Cinema display whilst I am writing music:
I can always switch back to displayport when I am doing more graphic intensive things. Hopefully the display won't be too bad via the USB adapter but as Logic is not really doing a lot visually I hope this is a workable solution.
If you're willing to tie up your TB port and go buy a TB-FW adapter, there's a similar product (FW->DVI) that you could consider:
No idea how well that would work, but the display might be faster than the USB->DVI products and use less CPU resource.
With the apparent lack of a workable TB dock, and now my iPhone 5 won't work with a car dock after I "upgraded" to ios7 I appreciate the words of that great Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody
"Thunderbolt and lightning - very very frightening"
Sad that things are going this way
xgrep - a TB to FW adapter has serious limitations with speed & powering periphrals.
Belkin dock is available in the Apple Store:
- One cable output provides instant access to eight ports
- Ability to daisy-chain up to five additional Thunderbolt devices
- Includes Cable-management channel
- One Gigabit Ethernet port
- One FireWire 800 port
- One Thunderbolt port
- One 3.5 mm headphone output Jack
- One 3.5 mm audio Input Jack
- Three USB 3.0 ports*
Yeah, well ok. I finally bit the bullet and shelled out the money for the Belkin dock, and, sorry to say, I regret it. It allows me to do both FW800 and DisplayPort with my Air with single TB port, but it's a heckuva price to pay for that pitiful functionality. The USB3 speed, frankly, *****. Still, it's the only show in town. The TB story is still a big bust, as far as I'm concerned.