I woke up early this morning to find the most glorious tweet in my inbox from @rbukovansky: “Hey, Apple just released your long-awaited Thunderbolt cables.” I rushed to my computer and immediately went to store.apple.com and there they were. In all their $49 glory. Two independent channels of 10GBit/s each. How sexy is that?
Why am I so excited about Thunderbolt cables you ask? Three words: “iMac Display Mode.” You see, if you have a Thunderbolt equipped iMac and a Thunderbolt equipped MacBook Pro, you now can use that iMac as a secondary display for your MacBook Pro. While this may seem silly to most of you, follow along with my master plan. The next generation MacBook Air should have Thunderbolt. I officially have too much data to just make a move to an Air so my plan is to separate personal from work data and move to a two Mac setup. This is where my master plan gets good. I will be buying an iMac alongside my MacBook Air, and I will use the iMac for all my personal items along with my very large photo and music libraries. I will also be able to use this same iMac as an external display for my MacBook Air when I need more screen real estate.
Target Display Mode is not a new feature. It was available in the previous generation 27-inch iMac. The biggest difference is you could do it over a Mini DisplayPort adapter. Apple released a kbase article on May 5th announcing that the 2011 iMacs had this feature in both the 27-inch and 21.5-inch models, but it only worked between Thunderbolt equipped Macs, and you needed a cable that up until today didn’t exist.
I also have one more reason to be excited by this lovely little cable. It also brings me the ability to do Thuderbolt Target Disk Mode. FireWire Target Disk Mode is something I use weekly for migrating data from Mac to Mac. I also use it for quick hard drive diagnostics since you’re able to take the operating system out of the mix when troubleshooting. At this point, any Mac without a FireWire port can’t be put into target disk mode (Like MacBooks and MacBook Airs). With Thunderbolt it gives you this ability regardless of having a FireWire port. While us service provider types have found many workarounds, I for one am happy to have this option especially when I am in the field and have limited tools on hand. I guess my enthusiasm will quickly wane if the next generations of MacBooks and MacBook Airs don’t have Thunderbolt, but for today I’m overly excited by a little cable.
Anyone else as excited for these cables as I am, or think I’m a huge nerd? Leave me a comment below!