Intel has confirmed to Macworld that their high-speed Thunderbolt ports that are on found on all new Macs will support fiber optic cables, which should be available by next year. Thunderbolt technology, which utilizes copper, is effective at transferring data over short distances up to six meters, but optical cables are more effective at transferring over distances longer than tens of meters.
The exact timing and prices are yet to determined, said Dave Salvator, an Intel spokesman. The Thunderbolt interconnect technology, introduced in February on Apple’s MacBook Pro, is based on copper and can transfer data between host devices and external devices at speeds of up to 10Gbps.
Circuitry will ensure compatibility of optical cables with existing Thunderbolt ports, Salvator said. Copper cables provide adequate data transfer for use over short distances of up to six meters (about 20 feet), but optical cables will be good for data transfers over longer distances of tens of meters, Salvator said.