While Intel’s Thunderbolt technology is an extremely capable standard as it stands, it was originally planned to be even better. Intel’s promising new I/O was originally called Light Peak, and one of its main advantages was the possibility of using fiber optic cables, which would allow for incredible speeds and much longer cable lengths.
Later on in the development of the interface, Intel decided to use copper wire cables in order to bring the interface to market faster. But according to IDG, Intel has now stated that fiber optic Thunderbolt cables are on the way, and will be released sometime later this year.
The main advantage to fiber optics is that it allows for much longer cables. There’s also a disadvantage, however, in that fiber optic cables cannot carry power, so all fiber optic devices require separate power cables. They’re also significantly more expensive.
Still, the availability of fiber optic cables will certainly be a welcome announcement for certain types of users, although the majority of Thunderbolt device users will likely continue using copper cables. Intel also stated that current Thunderbolt makes will be able to use either copper or fiber optic cables interchangeably.