Apple's Thunderbolt 4 Cable Costs Just $159 And Must Be Magical Like Its $19 Polishing Cloth

Apple Thunderbolt 4 Cable
In addition the Mac Studio and Studio Display that Apple unveiled this week, the Cupertino company is also selling a couple of new cable options to use with them. They include 3 meter (9.8 feet) and 1.8 meter (5.9 feet) Thunderbolt Pro 4 cables priced at...wait for it...$159 and $129, respectively. And here we thought Apple's $19 polishing cloth was excessive.

What makes a cable worth $159? Perhaps it's made with unicorn farts. If so, Apple left that detail off of the product page. What it does feature, however, is a "black braided design that coils without tangling." Apple can also boast the longest Thunderbolt 4 cable on the market, at least as far as we are aware. Looking on Amazon, we found these at quick glance for comparison...
  • Cable Matters 6.6-ft Thunderbolt 4 (Intel certified): $59.95
  • Ketsoobi 6.6-ft Thunderbolt 4: $26
  • Maxonar 6.6-ft Thunderbolt 4: $38.90
  • Cable Matters 3.3-ft Thunderbolt 4 (Intel certified): $32.95
Cable specs can be confusing territory to wade into, with terminology that sometimes overlaps. In that regard, Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C are not the same thing. USB-C is a physical connector for transferring data. Thunderbolt 4 is a protocol that uses a USB-C connector, with a specific set of capabilities. Here's a look...

Thunderbolt 4 chart
Source: Intel

What about cable length? Cable Matters bragged around this time last year that it had launched the first 6.6-foot 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 cable. At the time, the company noted that existing passive cables lacked protection from signal degradation at longer distances, which is why most maxed out 2.6 feet. To get around this, Cable Matters implemented a repeater chipset to boost the signal.

Apple's going a step further by selling a Thunderbolt 4 cable that is nearly 10 feet long. It meets the base requirements (40Gbps data transfers, up to 100W of power delivery, and so forth), but that added length comes at a heavy cost.

Incidentally, Apple's Studio Display comes with a 1 meter Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable and also a polishing cloth, starting at $1,599 (a nano-texture glass option costs extra, as does a tilt/height adjustable stand). No cable is included with the Mac Studio.

In any event, Apple's Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable is available now in 1.8 meters, and appears sold out for the time being in the 3 meter length.