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Summary:

Apple quietly introduced its first Thunderbolt peripheral gear to the online store early Tuesday, and it’s a $49 Thunderbolt cable that connects Macs using the new high-speed, low-latency I/O standard either to third-party drives and accessories, or to other Thunderbolt-equipped Macs.

thunderbolt-cable-feature

Admittedly there aren’t many peripherals that use Thunderbolt, or many Macs that have Thunderbolt ports, but as Apple gears up for a whole slew of new Thunderbolt-enabled computers, a bunch of new peripherals are also in the pipeline. And in order to tap that opportunity, Apple introduced a new Thunderbolt cable today, available in the online store for $49.

In the product description for the new cable, Apple talks about the Thunderbolt’s ability to transfer data using two channels of 10Gbit/s each, and how it lets you use peripherals like hard drives. But the $999 Promise Pegasus 4×1 TB RAID drive, also now available for sale in the Apple online store, is currently the cheapest way to start using Thunderbolt storage. Other Pegasus RAID arrays are available in configurations ranging from 6×1 TB to 6×2 TB, costing up to $2,000.

It’s no surprise that both the cable itself and the Pegasus drives have such a high starting price point. Thunderbolt always seemed destined to appeal to professional users first, since the new technology will require more time on the market and a wider reach before it can bring production costs down. Apple seems to be working on expanding the potential pool of Thunderbolt users, however, as reports suggest that we’ll see new Mac minis, Mac Pros and MacBook Airs with Thunderbolt in the very near future.

With all those Thunderbolt Macs around, the new cable will become even more useful, as it also provides users a simple way to establish a very high-speed connection between computers using Target Disk Mode. Plus, you can use the cable to connect a Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro to the latest iMac in order to use the iMac’s screen as a second display. Those features alone might be worth $50 to some multi-Mac consumer households.

If you own Thunderbolt-equipped Mac, are you planning on getting one of these cables, or will you wait until there’s more third-party gear available to use it with?

  1. James A. Weston Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    I’m going to buy it now. You don’t need third-party gear to take advantage of Target Disk Mode and to use a new iMac to mirror a new MacBook Pro display.

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  2. John Meneses Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    I see a few major problems with this product currently. First and foremost, I refuse to buy a thousand dollar product that requires a specific peripheral and does not include that peripheral. Asking me to pay that much and then requiring me to get a $50 cable before I can use it is insulting. Second, the arrays feature disk speeds between 500-800Mb/s. Which is quite fast, but nowhere close to the 10Gb/s that Thunderbolt advertises. It’s like comparing a fire hose to a squirt gun.

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  3. IS there going to be a way, we could buy thunder add on for older mac pro?

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