Thunderbolt cable (Appel store image 001)

As is the case with the new Lightning I/O, part of the reason why Apple’s official Thunderbolt cable costs fifty bucks is the authentication chip and electronics inside the connector on each end of the cable. So if you’re in the market for a Thunderbolt cable, there’s some good news: Apple has generously slashed the price of the 2-meter Thunderbolt cable by ten bucks, from $49 to $39. And in order to appeal even more to price-conscious buyers, the company is adding a new 0.5-meter cable to the mix, priced at $29…

The price change was first noted by 9to5Mac.

Thunderbolt was released in mid-2011 as a collaborative effort between Apple and chip giant Intel. The high-performance all-digital I/O offers high data throughput, small footprint and can daisy-chain up to seven devices.

According to Apple:

With Thunderbolt, you get superfast data transfer speeds and huge expansion capabilities. It features two 10-Gbps data channels per port, which means data transfer is up to twice as fast as USB 3 and up to 12 times faster than FireWire 800.

Use the Apple Thunderbolt Cable to connect your Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals to your iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air. The cable can also be used for target disk mode between two Mac computers that support Thunderbolt, or to use an iMac as a display for a MacBook Pro equipped with Thunderbolt.

Despite the initial excitement, the technology is slowly gaining ground.

Support from third-parties is mostly limited to external storage, displays like Apple’s Thunderbolt Display, professional digital cameras and A/V equipment.

Thunderbolt port on Macbook

For example, I typically hook up my MacBook Air to a 27-inch Thunderbolt display via a single Thunderbolt cable. The technology moves bits around really fast. A single cable effectively powers my notebook and expands on its limited ports with the display’s three USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet and FireWire 800, also adding its FaceTime HD camera, mic and stereo speakers.

Intel at CES introduced optical Thunderbolt cables that allow for much longer cable lengths. But unlike today’s copper cables, optics cannot provide power to peripherals.

Corning Thudnerbolt optical cable

Glass maker Corning quickly followed up with a 100-foot (30 meter) optical cable of its own (above). Despite their length, these new cables are said to be as thin and flexible as any USB cable.

  • pauleebe

    I don’t think the price of the cables is the only reason Thunderbolt isn’t taking off. USB takes care of mostly all common peripherals for Macs, except maybe storage, and is much more common and widely-used, not to mention cheaper and backwards compatible.

    And on the storage front, no one (average consumer) can afford multiple mechanical drive RAID setups, or SSD external drives, thus with mechanical external drives maxing out at FireWire 800’s throughput, no one really needs Thunderbolt. Even then, USB 3.0 is still often cheaper. Plus, there are far more USB ports than Thunderbolt ports on Macs, and it’s mainly a Mac interface to date.

    Next, most monitors use HDMI, as do TVs. I’m an avid Apple user and I use HDMI, still! Thank gosh for the HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter …

    It’s a great technology, and it’s nice to see Apple paving the way for the future, but until SSD’s become more mainstream, or more monitors and TVs start using thunderbolt, this technology isn’t going very far, IMO. I would love to see USB, FW, eSATA, HDMI, ect., all replaced by Thunderbolt, as it is technologically possibly – but it’s too expensive and too early.

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Too bad USB beat them…

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Still $10 overpriced and the other is $20 overpriced

  • Dan

    Nothing Apple ever does is generous. Everything is always thought out in the hopes of generating more revenue.

  • Where is the thunderbolt and lightning cable???

  • Falk M.

    Those 10 bucks will go in into the money jar I set up for the peripherals.
    1490 to go, baby! Hell yeah!