Inc. (AAPL) is borrowing a play from
Monster Cables offering a cable that's almost as pricey as the peripherals it
plans to support. The new Thunderbolt cable will retail for $49 USD.
Plugging in to the Mini Display Port of new
MacBook Pros and iMacs,
the cable offers support for "Thunderbolt", a new high speed
communications standard from Intel Corp. (INTC). With the first
peripheral (a RAID drive bay from Pegasus)
launching, attention has turned to this pricey little number.
IFixIt tore the white cable
apart and found a pair of Gennum
GN2033 chips hiding beneath the sheathing, with one on each connector
of the cable. In total there were also 10 other smaller tiny chips and an
assortment of transistors, etc.
Gennum's webpage brags that its chip takes normal cables and offers
"sophisticated signal boosting and detection functions required to
transfer high-speed data without errors."
Of course nobody seems to know how much these chips cost so it's hard to say
exactly how much profit Apple is pulling in off the cables.
Adoption is expected to be slow for the standard. Like Apple's original
Firewire standard, the price of the communications band (in this case the
cable) offers a barrier for market entry. It doesn't help that
Hewlett-Packard, Company (HPQ) already abandoned plans for
Thunderbolt, or that Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) has released
a special version of the tech that relies on a modified
USB 3.0 optical port.
And there's the question of USB 3.0, which has already seen much more broad
adoption. USB 3.0 offers transfer speeds of up to 4 Gbit/s. While
only about half the speed of the current Thunderbolt implementation, that's
still pretty blazing fast so the question remains how many customers will
actually notice a difference.
To Monster Cables' credit, at least it only charges $29 for
its "gold-plated" USB 2.0 cables, which it brags "rejects
noise" and works to "maximize signal integrity." Sound