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Yo, Creative Pros-Apple Doesn’t Love You Any More. Here’s why.

Not the way they used to - like the ascendant rock star's old girlfriend, we are yesterday's news

By Mike Curtis | July 29, 2010

After writing this piece on whether Apple lamed out on the new Mac Pros, I got to thinking more about Apple and where we, as creative professionals lie in their priority list. Read that article for a detailed analysis of how Apple wasn't aggressive with new technology, was late to market, skipped a bunch of new technology, and MIGHT potentially have decided to stiff-arm Adobe with the lack of NVIDIA GPUs at user expense. So where do we rank with Apple these days? Lets look at their motivations and actions.

The Changing Face of Apple

As a side note, remember how Apple changed their name from Apple Computer to Apple, Inc? That kinda tells you where their intentions lie. At the time, I was excited that Apple was broadening their horizons, thus hopefully guaranteeing a broader financial base to that we as creative professionals would have an Apple to count on for Macs and professional software.

Nowadays, however, consider how far that has gone - consider that ALL Macs are only about a third (I misreported as 25% the other day, sorry, my bad!) of Apple's income. Checking here, while the good news is that Apple's Mac sales were up 33% from a year ago (the dark days of 2009), Apple sold 3.47 million Macs for Q3. They also sold 8.4 million iPhones and 3.27 million iPads. Margins are estimated at 60% for those for iPhones and 30% for iPads.

Guessing that average selling price is around $200 for iPhone and around $600 for iPad (NO supporting research, just guessing here), that would mean around $120 gross profit per iPhone and nearly $200 per iPad. Considering how thin margins are in the computer hardware business, I'm betting iPad gross profit is not all that different from baseline MacBook profit. And considering how much more capital is tied up in producing MacBooks rather than iPads, where would you, as a business owner, want to put your efforts?

Overall, company wide, Apple's gross margins were reported at 36.6% - so if iPhones (40% of revenue) are 60% and the average is 36%, I'd bet Macs are dragging down the gross margin numbers, wouldn't you?

Tower sales were only up 18%, as compared to 40% and 70% in prior years. Portables are about half Mac sales. Notice a trend there?

Look at where their money is coming from - Macs are a 1/3. iPods are 11%. iPhone is 40%. Even the brand new iPads, in their first full quarter of sales that Apple can't manufacture enough of, are already 16% of revenue.

So now I'm going into speculation mode - it has been reported that half of all Mac sales are mobile - I don't know if that is by units or revenue, but work with me here. So half of 33% is 16.5%. Then we're looking Minis, iMacs, and Mac Pros. I'd betcha Mac Pros are the least sold amongst that group - maybe 1/5 of those sales, optimistically? So that'd be around 3% of gross revenue? And the high end towers - optimistically at best maybe 1/5 of those, so that's less than 1% of Apple's gross revenue is coming from 12 core Macs. How much are they going to worry about that group?

Apple doesn't love us anymore, not the way they used to. Fact. And if I had to guess, other than the Mac product managers, overall Apple (and Steve in particular) doesn't care nearly as much about Macs any more either. Further, Steve and Apple may not be nearly in love with Intel as much as they were a few years ago. Picture Steve. Picture Steve obsessing about iPad, Flash support/Adobe, iPhone 4, AntennaeGate, iOS4.x, and all the things we picture Steve getting all serious about. Picture it. Now picture Steve getting into a screaming twist about tower Macs, PCIe lanes, USB 3.0 support, or FireWire 1600/3200. Wait - I can't picture that - can you? Nope, not happening, drawing a blank.

We, the creative professional buyers, used to be a real, serious, double digit chunk of Apple's income, so they really cared. Now, we are single digits of GROSS revenue - not profit, gross. And we buy (relatively) low margin (to Apple anyway - dunno what margins Intel is making) equipment from them. If it were your business - a steady, not hugely growing segment of replacement sales to a niche market of a low margin product, OR, a hugely growing segment of lower cost but DOUBLE the profit margin products that sell to ANYONE with $200-$800 to spend - what would YOU focus your efforts on?

Look at their actions - on the Mac Pros, our bread and butter workstations - delayed launch (over 500 days since last update!), no USB 3.0, no Blu-ray, same FireWire speed & bus, same PCIe configuration and speeds, potentially limiting GPU choices (Adobe & Da Vinci) - this does not look like their highest priority. Look at Final Cut Pro - last year's update was nice, but late and disappointing. If it had come out 6 months earlier? Great. If they had updated it since then? Awesome. Neither is the case. Last round we got some better codecs (BIG win), the Share feature, VERY limited Blu-ray software (but no hardware!) support and...other features I can't even think of right now, and I wrote the review for MacWorld. Other than a lot of little updates & fixes, that's it. EDIT - now that I looked, oh yeah iChat Theater and speed changes and some other stuff. But still. New features appreciated, worth the reasonable update price, but...ho-hum. Surprisingly little big picture progress. And that is all the progress (other than minor .0.x updates) we've had since April 2007, when FCS 2 was introduced. To recap - that's one mediocre decent version number upgrade in MORE THAN THREE YEARS. Yowza.

New products are a key indicator of a company's focus. Look at where their effort has been on new products - new iPhones every year. New iPad, huge effort for Apple. iMacs? About 9 months ago. Mac Pros? About a year and half ago.

Apple doesn't love us any more. It isn't our fault - we still keep buying - and it isn't like Apple is out to get us - they just found someone (or someones) waaaaaaaaay sexier than us. Like the sudden rock star's old girlfriend - we're history. They've moved on to bigger and better things. We're as cool as we ever were, but they're just GONE. They may say they'll always love us, but look where they're spending more and more of their time. They'll still return our calls (sometimes) and they like us and all, but they're busy.



ps - Apple folks - if you are reading this, I would LOVE to hear back from you. I'd love to hear the technical reasons why the iMacs and Mac Pros are the way they are this round, and why Final Cut is where it is, and while you don't comment on future products, give me SOME hope that we'll see some kick ass upgrades in the coming year. My entire career for 22 years has been based on leveraging Apple's Mac technology to stay 2-3 years ahead of what my clients could do for themselves. Help me believe there is still a long term future in that. Seriously.

UPDATE - further thoughts - besides the new iMacs and Mac Pros that were introduced, Apple released a couple of other products - the Magic Trackpad and the new 27" display.

Magic Trackpad - clearly a pull to integrate Macs with the new multi-touch iPod/iPhone/iPad world. But cool. But totally contingent upon software support - hey Adobe, gonna let me multi-touch to scale in Photoshop any time soon? Interesting multitouch possibilities for pros - can I use it as a virtual 3way color correction controller? What about virtual sliders? Can I put any kind of overlay on it to show me virtual sliders, virtual color correction controller, etc.? Hope so!

New 27" display - with its 2560x1440 resolution (exactly double in both directions for 720p), it is a 16:9 display - a change from 16:10. Better fit for video content (consumer oriented). 16:10 allows for 16:9 content with menus on top and dock and other controls on the bottom - more pro friendly. Also, Apple is dropping BOTH the 24 and 30 inch models to replace with this one. Considering the resolution is almost identical to the larger 30", with higher pixel density, at a lower price, this is all progress in my book. Dropping the 24" - there are plenty of third party options, and dropping the lower res model isn't so bad. But one perspective is to look at this as "simpler product lineup." Product diversity is usually a sign of growing interest. Simplifying lineups usually indicates waning interest, IMHO.

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cls105: | July, 29, 2010

I’m a freelance editor.. A few places started to build fcp bays (a&e, history channel, hbo i heard, and others), many of them were re-converted to avid dx bays because fcp was very troublesome in a network/shared storage environment.  They had a chance to take over, and f’d it up.  But i prefer avid so I’m happy to see fcp dissapear in these places.

Jon Chappell: | July, 29, 2010

> “Tower sales were only up 18%, as compared to 40% and 70% in prior years.”

That probably had something to do with not releasing a new tower for 18 months. But other than that, I agree.

I heard that the lack of USB 3.0 on the new Mac Pros is because Intel hasn’t added USB 3.0 support to its chipset yet and won’t until 2011.

Tom Daigon: | July, 29, 2010

Mike, before installing Adobe CS5 I would have taken issue with your thesis. But as a long time editor (CMX,Avid, Avid DS, FCP) I agree that Pros are not the priority to Apple that we once were.
  When I experienced the versatility and 64 bit power of CS5 (i.e. Premier and After Effects)it became clear that we mean more to Adobe than we do to Apple. Features like: Dynamic link, native support of everything and real time 2k Red playback is just the tip of the CS5 iceberg.
  Unfortunately psychology and economics are strong factors keeping us chained to Apple. Their equipment is in widespread use and if you tell a client you use Premiere they may run away laughing.
  This perception could change if Apple released
a 64 bit version of Final Cut Studio 4 this year, but I’m not holding my breath.

Tom Daigon
Avid DS / FCP / After effects editor

cls105: | July, 29, 2010

actually most macs at networks are faster than the usual HP machines.  It all comes down to the avid vs fcp workflow.  Changing user settings is easier, multiple editors working in the same project is easier, shared media organization is better.  When fcp studio 6 or so came out, they were talking about all this fcp server and shared storage stuff but they completely abandoned it as far as i know.  Even the outputting in fcp is bs.  In avid all my output settings are in one screen, I can how many frames of black are going to go on the tape, and everything is in the same window.  In fcp, you have 3 tabs and you never know exactly what your output settings are without switching tabs.  Also, the way they do their insert edit, you have to drag and drop regardless of what sequence you have open in the timeline (would you ever output the sequence that is not open).  It also took 7 versions to disable rippling with motion effects.  FCP is great, and thanks to it, avid has stepped up their game.  But workaround after workaround gets old when you have a producer or director sitting behind you wanting things to be instant.

Mike Curtis: | July, 29, 2010

Jon - AHH! That’s the answer I was looking for - got a link to that?

cls105: | July, 29, 2010

btw.. im not an apple hater.. osx destroys windows in my opinion and i use a mac at home.  But avid vs final cut in a shared storage environment when you have floors and floors of bays, avid wins hands down.

Jon Chappell: | July, 29, 2010

I can’t find the original link but I did some searching and discovered that the information was a little out of date. Intel have since delayed it yet another year so it is now coming in 2012.

KevinT: | July, 29, 2010

Great piece Mike. You should write more.

I think chasing the consumer was one of the things that caused Sony so much pain back in the day. Maybe its just the AT&T fail, the iPhone4 snaf, the elusive FCP upgrade or the someday it will work MobileMe but for the first time ever, I’m thinking I’ll just toss Nuke on a Linux box. Ever as in since ‘‘88 and a MacSE. I was kind of excited to generation up but at $5K and weak, not so much.
Keep on keeping on,

Mike Curtis: | July, 29, 2010

Thanks Kevin - I’ve spent a couple of days doing nothing but writing this week, and it takes its toll - got some actual work to be done!


Scott Simmons: | July, 29, 2010

Yep. Can’t say I disagree at all. I said something similar a while back over at Studio Daily ( and think I summed it up well with this statement: “Steve Jobs does not care about you and your video editing career.” of course that might be different today if you’re doing all your editing with iMovie for iPhone!

Scott Gentry: | July, 29, 2010

I agree with your statements Mike.  I think any of us in Apple’s shoes would however do the same.  Follow the profits.  That’s not what any of us as creative professionals who enjoy using their tools want to hear however. 

Notice Apple isn’t advertising in this space at all.  Not at all, and as I understand it, Steve forbids it.  That means the outlook is potentially bleaker because Apple doesn’t see the value in moving these tools beyond what volume they’re already doing.

With little investment on Apple’s part, people are upgrading FCP, Towers and such anyway.  However, even if Apple focused efforts here in products and marketing, could they expect to double their profits?  Maybe then the creative space would represent 2% of their portfolio?

I have Macs and PCs here at the office.  I favor the Mac, it’s integration with my tool set and now iPhone, iPad.  I’m still not ready to be 100% PC and that’s why Apple doesn’t need to spend too much effort here.  It’s a shame because we, the creative market are the losers in this grand plan.

Eric Addison: | July, 30, 2010

“... and if you tell a client you use Premiere they may run away laughing.”

I found that most of my clients don’t care - they just want a great final product. And I’ve been getting that from PPro for some time now.

I’m not a Mac user, but I have a lot of editor friends who are, and most have shared similar sentiments with me. I’d love to know if Apple has some strategy at work here, because it does seem like a big shift is going on…and for Mac and FCP users it may not be good. Time will tell.

Riz: | July, 30, 2010

“My entire career for 22 years has been based on leveraging Apple’s Mac technology to stay 2-3 years ahead of what my clients could do for themselves. Help me believe there is still a long term future in that.”

I am very sorry to tell you that you had been barking at the wrong tree. Since Apple cancelled Quadro 9600 back in the 80s computers running Windows were more powerful then anything Apple produced. There was a small glitch with the previous generation Mac Pros momentariliy but otherwise Apple platform was ALWAYS lagging in performence. You guys were hiding your heads in the sand and not looking around. When FCP came out Adobe had already a better editor, which kept getting better, so much that it is now impossible even to compare Premiere Pro CS5 with the latest FCP.

Hardware manufacturers like AJA had been ‘using you’ with giving different names to the same products so that you thought you had a better and seemingly better deal. They stopped that finaly.

If you look at the Apple machines you bought and search the archieves you will see that you will get a better Windows machine, which is cheaper AND faster. As you you know there really is no software that really demands to run only on a Mac. Even if there is (Logic, Color) there is an alternative that runs on Windows (Nuendo, Sonar, Cubase, DaVinci) that does the job equally well.

I am so glad that Steve helped you to open your eyes and realised that the emperor was naked for the last 20 years grin


Dragos Stefan: | July, 30, 2010

Apple makes more money on an iPhone than suggested in the article. Someone might pay $200 for one, but that is on an AT&T contract. Apple gets more money for each one sold. In European countries where you can buy the iPhone unlocked, it’s more than 600EUR.
As for USB3, there is no need for chipset support. If the mobo chipset doesn’t offer USB3, just put a controller on the motherboard. It costs $3.
There are already computers with USB3 on the market, despite lack of suport from intel’s chipsets.
I have to agree with the above comment, the statement form the article that “My entire career for 22 years has been based on leveraging Apple’s Mac technology to stay 2-3 years ahead of what my clients could do for themselves” is kind of hilarious (I say this as someone who used to use Macs professionally since 1992, but for purely subjective reasons - I just liked Macs more back in the time and in the ‘90s there still was some software which was only available on Macs, like After Effects).

Jim Hines: | July, 30, 2010

Okay good - this is a moment of clarity - maybe at some point in time every business actually “cares” about it’s customers - maybe some businesses actually manage to retain that “consideration” for the life of that company - So good - now we can all agree - Apple doesn’t really care about you once they sold you a product - neither does Dell or HP or Colgate Palmolive or Standard Oil or any of the other multi-nationals - they care about their class A shareholders and will do what the investment house analysts suggest they do to maximize profits - it’s about making money not - art - they are no different than our politicians - once they have your vote - you don’t matter. This is what separates artists from business men. Artists will make their art for free. They do it because they have to. That is why most of them are poor. This is why they are taken advantage of in the world of high rolling producers.

Everything inside your Apple or your Dell is the same - especially now that Apple uses Intel chips. There really isn’t any difference in the components available to a box maker to install into the box. The difference is “the box”. That is what sells Apple computers and iPhones and iPods - it’s the container - they excel at industrial design - but - I have some old Apples that remind me of looking at pictures of myself from the 70’s - you can’t really believe it was ever really fashionable to look like that. Styles come and go. And once you realize that alt and ctrl are really just different names for command and option - where is the difference?

For my money - the bang for the buck on a “freelancers” edit bay - is the Hard Drive Array - invest in some SSD’s and some Raid storage.

Lastly I just priced an AlienWare with - 2 ssd’s one i7 six core 980x Extreme 3.33GHz - 12 gigs of ram - blue ray burner - usb 3.0 card - 1000 watt power supply (this is a much neglected feature on most computers) - pretty neat case - liquid cooled - $4800 - the have Nvidia cards but not the ones that are CUDA certified for CS5 - if you price those cards retail you can see why most every box maker does not offer them. I wouldn’t make this computer if I were picking parts - especially the mother board - but - there you have it. That’s off the shelf on the PC side.

P.S. At a certain point it’s not the software - it’s the artist. No matter how much I spend on guitars I still can’t play like Frank Zappa.

Simon Wyndham: | July, 31, 2010

Trouble is, Jobs has a habit of seeing where things are going. And that my friends, unfortunately, may be the demise of the low to mid level video producer! For the first time in a long time I’m considering giving up on video production. I might have to admit defeat to the university grads with their iPhones and magic abilities to work for free.

I notice though that you omitted MacBook Pro’s from your article, Mike. MacBook Pro’s are updated on a regular basis. As for market share, well, we pros only have ourselves to blame. When you look at the price of a brand new fully specced out Mac Pro, coupled with the way that many of us keep our gear until it literally falls apart, this line of computers is never going to be a big earner. Apple aren’t hating us, they are just using business sense and concentrating on the users who spend money. And that isn’t us.

At least Apple actually make a tower dedicated to pro users. Most of the PC makers don’t. We have to have custom builds, and they cost as much as a Mac Pro anyway for a similar spec.

JamesKatt: | August, 16, 2010

“Apple doesn’t love us any more…” is the rant of the middle child.

Sure, Apple loves you.

Apple does, however, target the fat 85 percent of the market. 

And Apple does not target the geeky high end of the market.  That is the market for do-it-yourselfers.

With money, however, one can create a system that is a blend of Multiple Macs and PCs to create the system that one desires.  Of course, such a system may cost $50,000.  But then, to live at the geeky high end, one has to pay the cost.

Apple builds computers like BMV builds cars.  Apple does not build Ferraris or Lambos or Bentleys. Unfortunately, you sound like you want a Bentley for only a few bucks.

MWebb: | August, 17, 2010

The Final Cut Pro history along with the historical behavior and attitudes Apple and SJ have exhibited in the past are easy to read once you really look at them. Apple picked up the FCP product because time and time again Jobs mantra is “Applications sell hardware”. To the point they have created the App store and iTunes/iMovies. At the time apple picked up FCP there was a statistic out that went some thing like “3 out of 5 of the colored imacs were being bundled with a copy of Premiere”. With the impending switch to OSX and the Avid threat of a complete switch over apple wanted to make sure they had an app that would keep the hardware sells going. They couldn’t do it in the business community against Microsoft but in the creative community they already had serious clout and fabase. Add to that Steve’s then recent stint in the entertainment industry with Pixar and Disney he knew there was a digital revolution in full swing. Apple capitalized on all that and created the Pro Application division. To make sure that they could have continued apps to drive hardware sales. Another thing is you have to factor in is Steve’s own personal desires and opinions into any Apple product.It is a blessing and a curse. If he is not inspired or see a value in the product it has much less push. Apple is still a company driven by one man. He was the creator, and their savior ... If he sees a “better” vision of the future, that is the path the company will take.  Any one who makes their living will off Apple products just have to go with the ride as Steve drives . Other than FCP none of their other products have really taken hold and become entrenched. Motion is too complicated for the casual user and too weak for a real compositor. Logic has not usurped Pro Tools, DVD studio has no fan boys walking around with glazed eyes. There is no real reason for the Pro apps development to slow down they way it has. The switch in the pace of development from the early days to what is now happening is unprecedented at Apple for an “important” product. Whether FCP as we know it is dead either because they no longer see a value in it of because it will be reborn as some thing completely new remains to be seen. I personally think the real question is, what for will it be when its reborn, a true professionals application or an “App” that sells well by geniuses in apple stores. A couple years ago huge chinks of the sales force for the Pro Video division were either let go or moved to medical sales ... I don’t think people were ready to read the writing on the wall then. They may not drop the line, but it isn’t their darling like it was “back in the day”

Bill Nelson: | September, 08, 2010

Apple Pro Apps employees gotta keep dancing ‘till the music stops.

IEBA: | October, 14, 2010

Make it look like the party is great until all the Apple employees have already left the room. Then we’ll all feel like fools for not seeing this earlier.

Well, we did, but chose to ignore that the road that was paved right to the edge of the cliff.

I, for one, plan on a nicely specked HP and CS5 as my next setup.

JJC: | November, 06, 2010

Yeah I think we’ve all known this was coming, slowly but surely.  It is sad and somewhat frustrating.  I know people have a lot of good things to say about Premiere but I’ve played with it and I just really don’t like it.  I don’t like the interface, and I’m an AE user as well and I know it’s the same UI style but for an NLE I just don’t like it.  MC5 Software on the other hand is twice the price of FC Studio and while most of the components in studio I don’t use (not even DVD Studio Pro anymore, once I learned Encore to author Blu-Rays I discovered I liked it so much better than Studio Pro I never went back) I really really like Color, although I sometimes hate the way it deals with media management, it’s a really great and really powerful tool to have bundled in with a really powerful NLE for $1,000.  That’s the pricetag for Da Vinci alone.

What do you think about today’s announcement that they are EOL’ng the Xserves?  The end of Final Cut Server as well?  Not that it has really been taken to its full potential either, kind of an aborted idea. 

I guess I see a future without Pro-Apps and possibly without Pro Macs either.  But we’ll have plenty of iDevices.  Guess I’m going to have to get over my aversion to the Premiere UI because most of the places I work for aren’t going to want to drop an extra $1,000 a seat to go Avid.

Bill Nelson: | November, 06, 2010

I’ve been dallying with FCP for a feature we’re creating ( and I’ve been going back and forth with FCP and MC5, and I REALLY appreciate how nicely Media Composer plays with keeping track of the media I’m connecting and disconnecting with my little VR Mini RAID.  And the trailer I cut was sent to me as a FCP sequence, and I brought it into MC and did the color correction there in the timeline.  They’re all just tools, but I concur that the Premiere does look a bit different.  Now that MC does play nicely with ProRes (and just about every other codec as well) it would be worth your post outfits giving that a look.  Avid’s been through the grinder, and they’re still taking calls.
(disclaimer:  I own all three of these software suites.)

JamesKatt: | March, 02, 2011

UPDATE 3-1-2011:
1. The new Final Cut Pro will soon be out and is fantastic.
2. The new MacBook Pros have the new Thunderbolt port. This portends well for the future for new Mac Pros.

The new Thunderbolt port provides 2 channels of 10 GBS bidirectional PCI express and Displayport compatible data bandwidth.  This is a total of 40 GBS bandwidth.  It is split up to allow 800 GBs hard drive throughput. WOW!!!!!

This is FAR FASTER THAN USB 3.0.  IT IS FAR FASTER than eSATA.  It goes as fast as the Macbook Pro’s data bus can go.

The internal SATA is also the new 6 GBps standard.  This allows the new OCZ Vertex 3 Sandforce SSDs to run close to 600 MBS for reads and writes!!!! WOWWWWW.

The new Macbook Pros are FASTER than the previous generation Mac Pro desktops with their STANDARD QUAD CORE Intel Sandy Bridge i7 processors. WOW!!!!!

This portends well for the next generation of Mac Pros.  The next generation will probably come out along with the next generation of Final Cut Pro. WOW!!!!!!

The new Macbook Pros even have a 512 SSD option for ONLY $1100.  THIS IS A STEAL of a price compared to the competition.

Apple is looking out for the Pros.

Dragos Stefan: | March, 02, 2011

Quite a lot of WOWs for stuff which is pretty much the normal and predictable path of the computing world today, Apple or not.
As for Thunderbolt, you got your numbers wrong, it’s not 10GBS but 10Gbs (that is, roughly ten times slower than you think).

Riz: | March, 02, 2011

WOW! My friend, it seems that you have certainly effected by the apple magic grin

Unfortunately as good as the new Macbook Pro is (at present it seems it is the best laptop hardware) it is at the end of the day a laptop. It seems to me that you are not working in a professional post production environment. If you had you wouldn’t be comparing apples to oranges.

Doing all what FCS does on a laptop is more than naive.

So far Apple hasn’t shown ANYTHING that tells me that they care for the post pros.

IEBA: | March, 02, 2011

Well, a friend’s new core i7 17” with an SSD drive bested his 8 processor Mac Pro in rendering times. So I don’t know why you think FCP can’t be fully utilized on a laptop. What MacPro has Thunderbolt?

OTOH, what retail Thunderbolt products are out there now? smile we know that will change in due time.

Compare this. Timescapes new laptop:
Dell XPS laptop w/ i7-2720QM, 16GB DDR3 RAM, Bluray, GeForce GT 555M 3GB card, 256GB SSD, 640GB 7200rpm, eSATA, USB3…for $3K

For $3200, you can get an Apple 17”, base i7, 256 GB SSD, only 8GB of RAM (the max), no Blu-ray, no nVIDIA GFX, no internal HDD, no eSATA port, no USB 3.0, but it has Thunderbolt that connects to nothing right now.

I refuse to get excited about Thunderbolt until there are “gotta have it” things that connect to it.

A Sonnet Qio in an ExpressCard slot is way more useful as a media reader & multi-port multilane eSATA device. The only thing hampering the Qio is Apple’s refusal to upgrade the slot from 1.0 standards to ExpressCard 2.0 (ratified in 2009) and offer speeds 10 times faster than existing ExpressCard systems.

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