Why Thunderbolt cables will remain expensive until 2013

“Intel’s Thunderbolt high-speed interconnect has been shipping for over a year now, and new vendors have been announcing products compatible with the standard ever since,” Chris Foresman reports for Ars Technica. “One sticking point, however, has been that Thunderbolt devices require an expensive $50 cable—only available from Apple until recently. And unfortunately, prices aren’t coming down any time soon.”

“While other vendors are now offering their own Thunderbolt cables, prices have mostly stayed the same—in fact, some have gone up,” Foresman reports. “We found this surprising; typically more vendors offering competing products leads to lower prices. And as the high cable price represents a fairly high barrier to entry for Thunderbolt devices, it relegates the standard to niche, early-adopter territory.”

Foresman reports, “This isn’t likely to change in the near future. Our research shows that for the rest of 2012, Thunderbolt cables are going to remain in the $45-60 price range. Prices aren’t likely to drop noticeably until early 2013, when second-generation silicon for Thunderbolt’s active cabling becomes available in production quantities.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Intel: Optical Thunderbolt cables coming this year – March 13, 2012
Thunderbolt isn’t just a faster USB – and Mac buyers see that – August 25, 2011
27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display unveiled; world’s first Thunderbolt display – July 20, 2011
Apple’s Thunderbolt cable costs $49 because it’s smart – June 30, 2011
Apple releases $49 Apple Thunderbolt cable – June 28, 2011


  1. Best Buy still tries to push unwary customers to buy their $40 to $140 HDMI cables. (Picked one up at Farm & Fleet for $12) FYI – HDMI cables have NO special circuitry, just off-the-shelf wire and 5-cent mass-produced connectors. And you certainly don’t need expensive gold, “high quality” or “Monster” cables, especially for ANY digital device. A $50 Thunderbolt cable is actually a fair price for what it is.

    1. I suppose you could, but you limit the device to only being able to use one size cable. The active part of the cable is tuned for the length and type of wire; current Thunderbolt devices will be able to use optical wires in the future. It won’t run any faster, but you can use much longer cables.

  2. “And as the high cable price represents a fairly high barrier to entry for Thunderbolt devices,”
    Not really, someone is buying a Million dollar house and it’s going to cost $1000 to have the locks changed, so what.

    Thunderbolt devices are plenty pricy, all by themselves. If you can afford the device, you can afford the cable.

    1. It’s called leading edge of new tech coming on line, along with the low production quantities that ride with it.

      Just because you don’t like the price doesn’t mean that the manufacturers are out to rip you off. It really isn’t just about you.

      1. Calling it greed doesn’t make it about anyone. It’s called greed because a cable with a jack on each end should not cost that much. The markup would make a Rodeo Drive jeweler blush.

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