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Apple is keeping it pricey with a $49 cable for its new Thunderbolt interface.  (Source: Ubergizmo)

  (Source: iFixIt)

Apple's Thunderbolt cable contains over 10 chips  (Source: iFixIt)
But this cable has chips, so it must be worth it!

Apple, 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 familiar?



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RE: Apple is Monster Cable
By lukarak on 7/1/2011 1:23:24 AM , Rating: 2
Funny how you selected only a few statements to 'disprove' and completely disregarded the rest.
He's completely right on most points. The biggest concern is that apple charges more for weaker hardware. So let's compare. The only real competition to the MBP 13 is the HP envy 14.

In their base models, you get a similar i5 cpu (2.3 GHz), with the Envy getting 2GB of ram more, a larger HDD and a standalone graphics card. With apple, you get a 16:10 screen with a bigger vertical resolution, you get a thiner and lighter device, and you get a better quality screen and a better battery. Extras such as magsafe adapter and a better trackpad on one side, and USB 3.0 on the other are worthy mentions.
When you put all of that together, as always, it comes down to your personal preference. I don't need a GPU, so that's the first thing i will remove from my calculations. With the macbook, i get a lighther machine, that can use all three majos operating systems, that i use regularly (XCode i.e.), that is lighter and with a better battery (and better power management in OS X). And it costs just 200 more. It is not noticeablely slower, and even if it was, it wouldn't be more than a few seconds on a one minute task. I waste more time going to the toilet with newspapers :D

I just don't understand why there's such a hate towards apple, when you have, by your own words, so much to chose from from other manufacturers.

In a laptop world, performance is not everything, especially on a 13-14'' device. Battery, construction, keyboard and trackpad and screen quality are my five top things in this form factor.

It has nothing to do with steve, or magic. It has to do with the features i expect and simply the fact that one is the closest.


RE: Apple is Monster Cable
By torpor on 7/1/2011 10:06:29 AM , Rating: 2
Funny how you selected only a few statements to 'disprove' and completely disregarded the rest.

The video card in the HP machine makes the integrated Intel graphics in the MBP look like a wind-up toy. And is easily worth $200 in additional cost. But hey, we can ignore that huge fact because you don't care about it.

eSata, as usual for Apple, is ignored in favor of the antiquated firewire connection. HP has it.

But again, we don't hear about that from The Initiated.

You are who you complain about.


RE: Apple is Monster Cable
By lukarak on 7/3/2011 1:52:48 AM , Rating: 2
I did mention the graphics card. And i said that it comes down to personal preference. Somebody needs a graphics card in a 13'' laptop. I don't. Most people I know don't. I doubt they are an unrepresentative group of people.

I'm just saying that in this form factor, performance isn't everything, it usually isn't in the top 5 on which you will make your decision. Apple has quite a few advantages, that are, in my opinion, much more important for a real mobile laptop.


RE: Apple is Monster Cable
By Silver2k7 on 7/3/2011 4:32:33 AM , Rating: 2
"eSata, as usual for Apple, is ignored in favor of the antiquated firewire connection. HP has it."

Uhm *Im a PC* but c'mon eSata was just some temporary sidetrack until there was avalibility of USB3.


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