Corning, the same company that brought you the Gorilla Glass used on most smartphones, announced new optical Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables yesterday at CES. The cables make use of Corning's ClearCurve VSDN optical fiber technology to extend data transmission range while being smaller and lighter. [Ed. Note: The demo at CES was impressive, as the optical cables were able to bend in ways we've never seen from optical cables.]
The new cables won't increase USB or Thunderbolt data speeds -- it takes new controller hardware on devices to do that -- but it's possible to run data over farther distances than ever before. The USB 3.0 cables will be available in lengths up to 30 meters (about 100 feet), while Thunderbolt Optical Cables will come in lengths up to 100 meters (330 feet).
Thunderbolt fans will find that their version of Corning's cable provides full bi-directional 10 Gbps data rates, while the USB 3.0 cable can handle rates up to 5 Gbps. The cables will be available in the first quarter, but pricing has not been announced.