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Why does Apple’s new Thunderbolt 3 Pro cable costs as much as the AirPods?

Apple’s new Thunderbolt 3 Pro cable has just popped up on its online store and it costs RM649. That’s a significant premium on top of the current Apple Thunderbolt 3 cable which costs RM219. At more than RM600, you could get yourself a pair of AirPods for the same price. So why does it costs so much?

For starters, the Thunderbolt 3 Pro Cable is 2 metres long and it gets a black braided design that supposedly helps to prevent tangling. As a comparison, the standard Apple Thunderbolt 3 cable has a length of 0.8 metres and comes in an all-white exterior.

Both cables are capable of transferring data up to 40Gb/s and also supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 data transfer up to 10Gb/s. It supports DisplayPort video output (HBR3) and you can use it to connect to Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C enabled devices and displays. Both cables also support USB Power Delivery standards up to 100W.

Apparently, it is rare to find a 2-metre long Thunderbolt 3 cable that supports the same standards. According to The Verge, the closest option is the Belkin 2-metre Thunderbolt 3 cable that’s going for USD 79.95 (about RM399). Although it supports data transfer up to 40Gbps, it lacks support for USB 3.1 Gen 2 and DisplayPort video output.

According to a discussion on Reddit, most Thunderbolt 3 cables that are longer than half a metre suffer speed drops due to its length. The Pro cable appears to be targeted at professionals that need a longer Thunderbolt 3 cable without compromising on performance and compatibility. In case you didn’t know, the Apple Thunderbolt 3 Pro cable is currently bundled with Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor which is priced from RM19,999 without the stand.

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If you don’t need the length, the standard 0.8-metre Thunderbolt 3 cable will do just fine.


Alexander Wong