"Memories of BetaMax"
Apple has always been an early adopter, and Microsoft made a business out of following them. 3.5" Floppy, CD-ROM, USB, none of it was on the PC first. Intel is actually the creator of Thunderbolt, and it will be coming to the PC this fall. The video hardware industry is falling over themselves working on new products for Thunderbolt. What used to require a MacPro will now be done on an iMac or Macbook Pro.
"So Apple removes the optical drive, has only one external USB (2.0) port,"
*The Mini has 4 USB ports.
"and adds a Thunderbolt port to the Firewire port."
*The Thunderbold port is where the Display Port was, and can still function as a Display Port.
All USB-3 chips have been third party chips, Intel has been slow in shipping a USB-3 chip, may not till 2012. It's ironic that they created the spec, but haven't shipped any hardware yet to use it.
One of the most interesting Thunderbolt devices is the PCIe 2.0 Expansion Chassis from Sonnet. It lets you plug in a PCIe card into an external box. Not too surprising as Thunderbolt is essentially the PCI bus on a wire.
It always seems a little weird and expensive when companies bring out new hardware, but in a year or two we wonder how we got along without it.
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