iFixit has torn apart the $49 Thunderbolt cable that Apple started selling earlier this week. Cables (especially HDMI) generally have a massive mark-up, and can be found significantly cheaper at places like Monoprice. It was suspected that Apple was playing the same game with Thunderbolt, but iFixit has discovered that the cable actually houses two Gennum GN2033 chips, making them much more expensive to produce than standard USB or HDMI connectors. The chip are needed to support Thunderbolt’s lightning fast speeds, so your hard-earned money is not going straight into Apple’s already deep pockets.
Thunderbolt is capable of transferring data in both directions at 10Gbps simultaneously. The latest MacBook Pros and desktop Macs feature the speedy interconnect, and the MacBook Air is expected to support it after next month’s rumored refresh.