Apple’s new Thunderbolt 3 cable costs a mere $129

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Is the Apple Thunderbolt 3 cable the best on the market? Or just the most expensive?
Is the Apple Thunderbolt 3 cable the best on the market? Or just the most expensive?
Photo: Apple

The Apple Thunderbolt 3 Pro Cable comes at a price that should make even the most devoted Mac fan blink. At $129, it costs at least $50 more than comparable cables.

Not everything Apple sells is extraordinarily expensive. But it’s undeniable that the company occasionally adds on the “Apple Tax.”

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$129 for an Apple Thunderbolt 3 cable? And it’s not even leather?

The Apple Thunderbolt 3 Pro Cable is an advanced piece of kit. It can handle data at up to 40Gbps, and transfer power at up to 100 watts. And the cable includes a braided covering to reduce tangling.

Don’t try to compare it to one you bought for $9.95 at a truck stop. Cheap cables offer less than 0.5Gbps and 15 watts.

But the cost of Apple’s cable is nonetheless far higher than ones with a similar feature set. The Apple Store itself offers a Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable for $79.95.

And the price can go much lower. A certified Plugable Thunderbolt 3 cable, which also offers 40Gbps and 100 watts, runs just $25.95 on Amazon.

Why people pay the Apple Tax

Plenty of people will refuse to pay $129 for an Apple-brand cable when they can get one made by another company for half that. But some folks will put down the full amount. Because, along with a cable, Apple sells confidence. People believe that buying a genuine Apple product means they’re buying the best one available. They’re sure that if this $129 cable runs between their $5,999 Mac Pro and their $4,999 Pro Display XDR, there won‘t be any problems.

There are plenty of Apple products where people can get that same confidence without paying an arm and a leg. The basic iPad costs just $329, for example. Or the iPhone SE starts at only $399.

But as long as there are some premium-price Apple products, people will continue to speak of the Apple Tax.