Apple has released a new high-end Thunderbolt 3 cable in its online store. The $129 Thunderbolt 3 Pro cable is 2 meters long, has a black braided design, and supports both DisplayPort output and USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps data transfer — though of course data speeds can be up to Thunderbolt 3’s standard 40Gbps between compatible devices.
This is certainly not cheap for a cable, but there actually doesn’t seem to be a competing option that offers the same feature set for less. The cable appears to have quietly gone on sale last month after previously having been bundled with the Pro Display XDR, and this Reddit thread from yesterday includes some discussion on why exactly it costs so much.
The $79.95 2-meter Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable that Apple also sells, for example, doesn’t support DisplayPort or USB 3.1, meaning it’s only really suited for use cases where every device in the chain has Thunderbolt 3. If you used that cable to plug, say, a MacBook Pro into a Thunderbolt dock or an external GPU, the accessory’s ports would be limited to 480Mbps USB 2.0 speeds with USB-based peripherals. (Also, it isn’t braided.)
That said, if you don’t need the length or the braiding, Apple’s regular non-pro 0.8-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable does the same thing for $39. What’s new here is the combination of features at a longer length.