According to Macworld, Intel will be releasing a new set of Thunderbolt cables before the end of the year. These cables should be faster and work over much longer ranges, as they’re making use of an optical connection instead of copper cable.
The high-speed standard originally called for the use of these optical cables, but the plan was later put on hold as the optical cables were considerably more expensive than copper ones. Now, Intel is revisiting the optical route as Thunderbolt has become a more accepted standard. Thankfully, Thunderbolt is backwards and forwards compatible, so the new optical cables will work with any existing Thunderbolt port found on Macbook and Mac products, as well as various peripherals.
However, there is a downside to optical cables: They don’t transmit electricity as well as data, which copper cables do. This means that you’ll have to use a secondary connection or accept the loss of battery life, which could mean the original copper cables might be better for some mobile applications.
There’s no word on when specifically the cables will be available or how much they’ll cost over the existing copper cables, but we’ll let you know when that information becomes available.