updated 08:45 pm EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
Intel optical Thunderbolt cables coming
Intel spokesman Dave Salvator promised Monday that optical Thunderbolt cables would be coming in 2012. He didn't give a timetable to IDG or a price. Any cables would, however, work with Macs and any existing or imminent Thunderbolt implementations.
Optical has both advantages and drawbacks over existing Thunderbolt cables based on copper. They can both produce more overall bandwidth as well as transfer over much longer distances. Without any wiring for power, however, they would require that any attached device have its own power supply. Optical is typically more expensive than copper.
Having the option could still be important for pro video cameras and other devices that would likely have their own power supplies but would need to deliver both a lot of data and cover long distances.