The new relatively short 0.5-meter interconnect is the second Thunderbolt cable offering from Apple and provides the same performance and capabilities as its older brother for $29. By comparison, the new cable is the same price as Apple's other Thunderbolt products, like the Thunderbolt to FireWire and Thunderbolt to Gigabit ethernet adapters.
Apple also cut the price of its 2-meter Thunderbolt cable to $39, a $10 savings from its original price of $49.
The price drop and new cable introduction came with no announcement, and it can be assumed that Apple is trying to compete with third-party manufacturers that are just now getting relevant products to market. One such company is Corning, which introduced a line of optical fiber Thunderbolt cables that allow for ultra-long cable runs of up to 100 meters.