Thunderbolt audio interfaces / soundcards will soon be available. High end products will come first. I doubt low end audio products will implement this standard – they will stick with USB IMHO. Apogee
this is very likely to Apple abandon whole techologies, eg. killing Firewire without notice to the hardware audio makers..
“Technology like this only happens about once a decade. We are thrilled about the performance and simplicity Thunderbolt technology will bring to our award-winning UAD Powered Plug-Ins platform.”
– Bill Putnam, CEO, Universal Audio
referring to RME they seem to have learned from apples uncertainty and information strategies, their Firefire UFC has a programmable Interface based on FPGA, they could basically make a thunderbolt version, but will it work? will apple drop thunderbolt in 2 or 5 years in favour of something else or maybe drop firewire – they did something on the first unibody Macbook Pros, so they might be evil some day without notice to …???
but there’s one thing I really never understood: there is no interface that has 24 audio inputs and about 8 outputs – thats‘ what a lot of users want – as a mixer replacement, instead of that they all offer 8 in/out plus 2 ADAT and audio converters that are much more expensive than one of those interfaces we use today (motu 828mk3, Fireface, whatever..) – one box and there you are. not even kind of expandable box like 8 ch free, 8 more for X €, and 16 more for XY € – no. you need to get another interface (cheaper) or those A/D converters – I’d really like to get rid of wordclock connections etc.
ONE MORE THING (on Macs): As a Mac user: Apple seems to dislike and possibly end the MP series, therefore no more PCI – that means – no PCI Interfaces for Mac users but FW or USB3 (still not in any Mac) or Thunderbolt (not present in a single Mac I am using atm). – See the problem? Want something? Buy another item, then…
But to be honest – purchasing a MP has to be paid a very high price – the cool ones are 5-6€k without sufficient RAM and HD/SSD, so – that’s the 1% – buying these. huh? Compare those MPs and the fastest iMac 27″ and you may come to the conclusion why Apple (may be – hopefully not) cancel the whole MP line. I am quite happy to hace a nice 8core running, so let it be 3-4 years – and check for 1) wallet 2) prices / the interface situation – and what to do for the (then) next 5 years or so – if I were to buy a Mac for music I’d go for the biggest and fastest iMac atm, I never bought iMacs – I always went for the MP, since the HD are well-done etc and HDs in iMacs can’t be „user serviced“ which is bad – so SSD inside – a bunch of Thunderbolt HDs outside… – yes, I am happy not to have to make decisions the next or this year about new Macs.
*Note: Do not take benchmarks too serious, but as a little help how much you could get and how many you got to spend for it – that’s the point.
Hope the Audio Interfacers will make the right decisions NOW or next year. But as a Mac user I really better not go for PCI-something – but there is one (thanks to the comment) Motu with PCI & 24 ins, but – well – PCI will not happen in Macs in the future? we don’t know. we really don’t know!