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Apple's US$129 Thunderbolt Pro Cable: 4 reasons why it's so expensive

Apple tax or true quality? You be the judge. (Image source: Apple)
Apple tax or true quality? You be the judge. (Image source: Apple)
Apple had tech enthusiasts turning their heads when it released the new Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable alongside the Mac Studio and Studio Display earlier this year. At a hard-to-swallow US$129 for the 1.8-meter version, and an even heftier US$159 for the as yet unavailable 3-meter version, let’s take a look at why this cord carries such a steep price tag.
Article compiled by Brahm Shank
The choices and comments made on this list belong solely to the author.

1. Exceptional ingress protection

While those lucky enough to get their hands on the Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable likely won’t be tearing it apart anytime soon, youtuber ChargerLAB thankfully conducted a thorough teardown of the 1.8-meter variant on his YouTube channel.

In the video, the content creator notes that the woven exterior of the cable is both waterproof and dustproof. Could Apple’s new cable be worthy of an IP rating? 

Usually no IP rating indicates a cheaper price. Just ask OnePlus! (Image source: ChargerLAB via Youtube)
Usually no IP rating indicates a cheaper price. Just ask OnePlus! (Image source: ChargerLAB via Youtube)

2. Conductivity meets backward compatibility

Beneath the liquid and dust-tight seal, the content creator also uncovered a total of 19 wires, noting that five of which were high-quality tinned copper wires for driving power.

The majority of the wires in the Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable are plated with pure copper and silver, while two plastic-clad wires enable USB 2.0 transmission for backward compatibility with standard USB and Thunderbolt 3. 

Does this mean the first display cable with Apple silicon will have rainbow-colored wires? Attention to detail folks. (Image source: ChargerLAB)
Does this mean the first display cable with Apple silicon will have rainbow-colored wires? Attention to detail folks. (Image source: ChargerLAB)

3. Robustly reinforced

The inside of the connector on the Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable additionally features 24 gold-plated pins that are shielded by a brass sleeve and strong black plastic.

These protections enhance the long-term durability of the connector by reducing the risk of damage or interference, especially when connected to compatible portables like the latest-gen MacBook Pro

Apple interestingly left behind an inscription indicating that the cord supports Thunderbolt 4. Get ready to mix up your cables...(Image source: ChargerLAB)
Apple interestingly left behind an inscription indicating that the cord supports Thunderbolt 4. Get ready to mix up your cables...(Image source: ChargerLAB)

4. Intel (still) inside

While the Cupertino giant is still in the midst of transitioning its Mac lineup to Apple silicon, Intel chips remain a key part of Thunderbolt workflows for the time being and the Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable is no exception.

The Intel chip inside the cable directs the Thunderbolt connection while serving to reduce jitter by acting as a signal reconstructor while feeding data to monitors such as Apple's new Studio Display.  

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 04 > Apple's US$129 Thunderbolt Pro Cable: 4 reasons why it's so expensive
Brahm Shank, 2022-04-28 (Update: 2022-05-10)