Apple's $159 Thunderbolt 4 Cable Is Now Available, Here's Why It Costs So Much

Thunderbolt 4 cable
Almost two months after it first showed up in Apple's online store, the divisive 3-meter long Thunderbolt 4 cable is now in stock and available to buy. That's provided you're willing to pay the requisite $159 asking price, plus another $8 if you want to cut down the estimated delivery time from May 16-23 (free shipping) to May 13-20.

The exorbitant price tag is what makes this particular cable divisive. How does Apple justify charging so much? Yes, this is Apple we're talking about, which isn't shy about pumping up the price on even ordinary objects, like a $19 Polishing Cloth. But whether you feel the price is fair or not, there are a few contributing factors at play.

Chief among them is that at 3 meters (around 9.84 feet), this is the longest Thunderbolt 4 cable you can buy. It's also the only one of its kind—there does not exist another 3-meter Thunderbolt 4 cable, so this is your sole option if you need it to be this long. This is a braided cable too, for what that's worth, and it's guaranteed compatible with a whole bunch of Apple devices.

Thunderbolt 4 Versus Thunderbolt 3, USB4 And USB 3/DisplayPort

Thunderbolt 4 specifications
Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 3 both feature a USB Type-C connector and both are capable of transmitting 40 gigabits per second of data. However, Thunderbolt 4 bumps up the minimum performance requirements and is a more robust protocol overall.

For example, it supports dual 4K monitors or a single 8K monitor, whereas Thunderbolt 3 only supports a single 4K display. It also doubles the data rate via PCI Express from 16Gbps to 32Gbps, which can be a boon for large file transfers.

So a Thunderbolt 4 cable is a desirable one for those who can take advantage of its features and capabilities. But is it worth paying $159 to get one that spans almost 10 feet in length? That's a tall sum for sure, and Apple can get away with it right now because it's the only option around. Apple's also selling a 1.8-meter version for $129, where it faces more competition.

If you can get by with a shorter cable, there are several options on the market that are easier on the wallet/purse. Here are some of them...
  • Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 (2.6 feet, Intel Certified): $28.92 - 5% coupon
  • Anker Thunderbolt 4 (2.3 feet, Intel Certified): $48.99
  • Belkin Thunderbolt 4 (6.6 feet): $80.27
  • Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 (6.6 feet): $59.84
  • Razer Thunderbolt 4 (6.6 feet): $109.99
There are a bunch of less expensive options from off-brands too, if you want to try your luck with one of them. No matter how you slice it though, if it's a 3-meter Thunderbolt 4 cable you're after, it's Apple (and it's $159 asking price) or bust.