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USB 3 test spec to be in Apple's hands by June

post #1 of 123
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A new USB standard that would bump data throughput to 5Gbps is slated to arrive as a test specification in June, with a possible final release ready for Apple adoption by next year.

Agilent Technologies has announced at a recent Tokyo seminar that Test Specification 1.0 of the new USB standard, known as USB 3.0, will be released to manufacturers by the end of June.

After the release, compatibility tests for transmitting and receiving circuits will begin, and the USB Implementers Forum Inc. (USB-IF) will hold a compliance workshop at the end of this year to make the final tweaks.

"USB 3.0-compatible end products certified by USB-IF are expected to debut in 2010," the Nikkei-owned Asian tech news site Tech-On reported. USB-IF will also host a meeting for USB 3.0 developers late next month.

According to the USB-IF website, the new standard will be ten times faster than the current Hi-Speed USB standard (USB 2.0). At the same time it's also more power-efficient, leading to lower active and idle power requirements. Like its predecessor, USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices.

"SuperSpeed USB is the next advancement in ubiquitous technology," said USB-IF president and chairman Jeff Ravencraft last November. "Today's consumers are using rich media and large digital files that need to be easily and quickly transferred from PCs to devices and vice versa."

Apple is absent from the USB 3.0 Promoter Group of Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, ST-NXP Wireless and Texas Instruments. However, the company has frequently been among the first to adopt new technologies, such as its use of Mini DisplayPort, EFI, 802.11n and wireless networking in general, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, and even USB itself.

Apple and USB

A decade ago, PS/2 ports for keyboards and mice, RS-232 serial ports, and Centronics parallel interfaces were entrenched on generic PCs when Apple launched the original iMac in 1998 with only USB ports, many years ahead of the mainstream PC market. While some PCs had added USB jacks, they were often poorly supported in software and peripheral makers were extremely slow to offer any devices using USB.

Many PCs continued to use those "legacy ports" for a half decade or more after the iMac arrived, but Apple decisively upgraded to USB across the board on its Macs and jettisoned the Mac's former serial and ADB ports for the faster, more modern, and versatile USB standard. That move may have created some short term pain for users, but resulted in major long term gains that not only resulted in standardization on the USB specification for the Mac platform, but also served as a catalyst to bring USB to a wider audience among generic PC users as well. For years, nearly all USB devices shipped in translucent plastics seeking to match Apple's iMacs.



"We are going to the new generation of IO," interim chief executive Steve Jobs said at the May 1998 introduction just a year and a half after his return to Apple. "Twelve megabit universal serial bus ports. We're leaving the old Apple IO behind."

USB vs Firewire

Ten years later, Apple removed FireWire from the streamlined MacBook Air and its entry level 13-inch MacBook, leading Jobs to respond to a complaining customer's e-mail with a single sentence: "Actually, all of the new HD camcorders of the past few years use USB 2." In the months since, Apple has rapidly upgraded the FireWire ports on its higher end Macs with the faster FireWire 800 specification, which is backwardly compatible with existing FireWire 400 devices.

However, until this last year Apple's move to FireWire 800 had been incrementally, glacially slow, with the faster ports first appearing only on higher end Macs as a differentiating feature back in 2003, and many models since sporting both FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 ports. After its decisive move to the original USB 1.0 specification in 1998, Apple was also slower to move to USB 2.0 than the industry in general, with the first USB 2.0 ports only showing up in mid 2003. In part, this may have reflected the tension between Apple and Intel over the two specifications.

Apple had been working to promote FireWire in the hopes of gaining licensing fees from it, as the company had invented the standard prior to handing it over to the IEEE standards body. USB 1.0 had been developed by Intel to serve more humble uses. USB lacks the interface intelligence to perform as well as FireWire (USB relies on the host computer's CPU to handle much of the work) or to serve as a networking interface, or to act as an intelligent peripheral (preventing it from supporting Apple's Target Disk Mode).

In response to Apple's attempt to earn licensing fees from FireWire, Intel released USB 2.0, which promised theoretical speeds faster than FireWire 400, even though the specification could not actually perform nearly as fast. USB 2.0 was also cheaper to implement, and PC economies of scale rapidly made it a ubiquitous standard. In 2003 Apple saw the writing on the wall and began adding the new USB 2.0 ports to its Macs, PowerBooks, and the new iPod. The iPod helped hasten Apple's move to USB, as the device needed to support USB 2.0 to sell to a wider audience of PC users, few of whom had functional FireWire ports on their computers.

Within a couple years, the added expense of FireWire hardware resulted in Apple moving the iPods from dual support for USB 2.0 and FireWire to support for USB 2.0 only. On desktop and notebook computers, the FireWire continues to offer enough additional features to warrant the additional costs of supplying both interfaces. The new USB 3.0 specification promises to outrun FireWire 800 in speed, but still lacks the unique features of FireWire necessary to support Target Mode, for example.

Because Apple now relies on Intel and NVIDIA to supply its controller chips, future Macs will undoubtedly move to USB 3.0 at the same time, or in advance of, the rest of the generic PC makers. Future iPod and iPhone models are also likely to quickly adopt the new standard once it is finalized, making mobile desktop sync even faster.

This may even serve as a differentiating factor, as many competing smartphones, including Google's Android platform and the My Phone system unveiled by Microsoft for Windows Mobile devices, are intending to move toward cloud sync over the relatively slow mobile networks for all data sync and backup; Apple continues to promote its iPods and iPhones as managed directly from a computer running iTunes over a much faster USB sync.
post #2 of 123
Im excited for USB 3.0, i need a new computer by December, and i think the one thing that stinks most about that date is the fact that USB 3.0 will probably be released just a few months afterwards, while i might not need it right away, i can easily see myself needing it within a few years after.

im one of those people that do not need firewire so i can take it or leave it, USB is much bigger news for me.

one question though, if you have a device... lets say an 2009 iPhone (whatever is released this summer) and it has all the connections for USB obviously, when you plug it into a USB 3.0 computer with USB 3.0 cords will it have USB 3.0 speeds? or does the device and computer both have to be set up for USB 3.0?
post #3 of 123
How is it that this article completely ignores the faster FireWire S1600 & S3200?! Read:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firewir...1600_and_S3200

My bet is Apple will adopt a faster FW after WWDC...
post #4 of 123
lolz at that video... "It's the most wonderful mouse you've ever used"

Brings back some good memories though
post #5 of 123
Firewire is far superior to USB in real-world tests. Even Firewire 400 is far superior to USB 2, and Firewire 3200 has been out for months now. Besides, you cannot repair via Target Disk Mode using USB! Apple, bring back the great Firewire to all Macs!
post #6 of 123
That first iMac was such a pleasure to work with, and endeed a very good looking "friend" to me! Miss ya!
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post #7 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Firewire is far superior to USB in real-world tests. Even Firewire 400 is far superior to USB 2, and Firewire 3200 has been out for months now. Besides, you cannot repair via Target Disk Mode using USB! Apple, bring back the great Firewire to all Macs!

One of my jobs involves a lot of transferring data between Macs, and I can say the lack of FireWire on the MacBooks is highly annoying.
post #8 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmilinGoat View Post

im one of those people that do not need firewire so i can take it or leave it

Really? Anyone may need Firewire to repair any Mac via Target Disk Mode. You cannot repair that way via USB. All Mac users do need Firewire.
post #9 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Really? Anyone may need Firewire to repair any Mac via Target Disk Mode. You cannot repair that way via USB. All Mac users do need Firewire.

You can do the same task by starting up from the OS X Install DVD. It's slow and annoying, but doable.
post #10 of 123
When Apple will start incorporating USB 3.0 in all Macs specially in MBs and MBPs?
post #11 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by holywarrior007 View Post

When Apple will start incorporating USB 3.0 in all Macs specially in MBs and MBPs?

It would be a safe bet to assume late 2010.

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post #12 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

You can do the same task by starting up from the OS X Install DVD. It's slow and annoying, but doable.

What about the migration wizard? Doesn't that require a Firewire connection?
post #13 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmilinGoat View Post

Im excited for USB 3.0, i need a new computer by December, and i think the one thing that stinks most about that date is the fact that USB 3.0 will probably be released just a few months afterwards, while i might not need it right away, i can easily see myself needing it within a few years after.

im one of those people that do not need firewire so i can take it or leave it, USB is much bigger news for me.

one question though, if you have a device... lets say an 2009 iPhone (whatever is released this summer) and it has all the connections for USB obviously, when you plug it into a USB 3.0 computer with USB 3.0 cords will it have USB 3.0 speeds? or does the device and computer both have to be set up for USB 3.0?

USB uses optical wires for its speed, but the older USB 2 cables can be used, as the ports have a dual functionality. You can plug either the new optical cable in or the older USB 2. Only USB 2 speeds will be available from the USB 2 cable.
post #14 of 123
From the article:

"In the months since, Apple has rapidly upgraded the FireWire ports on its higher end Macs with the faster FireWire 800 specification, which is backwardly compatible with existing FireWire 400 devices."

It is?!?!? Maybe if you take a hammer to the 400 plug.
post #15 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

How is it that this article completely ignores the faster FireWire S1600 & S3200?! Read:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firewir...1600_and_S3200

My bet is Apple will adopt a faster FW after WWDC...

That also won't be available for a while, likely also in 2010. 1600 may be available sooner, but there is nothing that can use the speed, and as it's just an interim solution, why would anyone really bother?

FW 3200 will find very limited uses. Maybe Apple will use it on the Mac Pro.
post #16 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Firewire is far superior to USB in real-world tests. Even Firewire 400 is far superior to USB 2, and Firewire 3200 has been out for months now. Besides, you cannot repair via Target Disk Mode using USB! Apple, bring back the great Firewire to all Macs!

FW 3200 has NOT been out for months. The spec was released, as was the USB 3 spec, several months ago. Please get your facts straight.
post #17 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by djpadz View Post

What about the migration wizard? Doesn't that require a Firewire connection?

No. It works over Ethernet.
post #18 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

From the article:

"In the months since, Apple has rapidly upgraded the FireWire ports on its higher end Macs with the faster FireWire 800 specification, which is backwardly compatible with existing FireWire 400 devices."

It is?!?!? Maybe if you take a hammer to the 400 plug.

So, spend the $10 for an 800 to 400 adapter, or a few more for a cable.

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firew...nd-hubs/cables
post #19 of 123
The computer industry was once such a mess that Apple had the freedom to carve their own path, a superior one, and then the computer industry followed suit. Things have changed, though. With USB and a tremendous focus on cross-platform compatibility the past few years, Apple can no longer afford (or is interested in) making drastic changes to the status quo. They want to deliver the best consumer experience across the board, and that means compatibility. I can't see them making Firewire dominate over USB, especially when USB is good enough for most of their customers. Just my sad realization.
post #20 of 123
I know this is nitpicking, but the article mentions that before the iMac's release PCs has Centronics parallel ports. You're getting your port names wrong. Centronics are the ports that were on the Printer side. Parallel ports on the PC side were db-25 similar to the old SCSI connections on Macs.
post #21 of 123
I don't understand why USB 3 is needed. I've yet to ever, in all my computing days, come anywhere close to the 60 Megabyte per second transfer rate advertised for USB 2. It's never more than...2 Megabytes a second.
post #22 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Firewire is far superior to USB in real-world tests. Even Firewire 400 is far superior to USB 2, and Firewire 3200 has been out for months now. Besides, you cannot repair via Target Disk Mode using USB! Apple, bring back the great Firewire to all Macs!

You may be right but, as we all know too well, the best technology doesn't always succeed in the marketplace. USB has ubiquity going for it and that's a big plus.
post #23 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

USB uses optical wires for its speed, but the older USB 2 cables can be used, as the ports have a dual functionality. You can plug either the new optical cable in or the older USB 2. Only USB 2 speeds will be available from the USB 2 cable.

oh yeah, i knew that part, however i was wondering if it would be possible for Apple to sell a USB 3.0 cable for the older devices (ipod/iphones) and have those connect from the older device into the new computer with usb3.0 ports to make a fast connection, or will the older devices not work with the ports that area on them?
post #24 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by L255J View Post

I don't understand why USB 3 is needed. I've yet to ever, in all my computing days, come anywhere close to the 60 Megabyte per second transfer rate advertised for USB 2. It's never more than...2 Megabytes a second.

HD content, thats pretty much the single biggest reason, the more we see it and the larger portable drives get, the faster data will need to travel to keep it tolerable.
post #25 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Besides, you cannot repair via Target Disk Mode using USB! Apple, bring back the great Firewire to all Macs!

Not Target Disc Mode, but you can boot to any external USB drive, including flash drives, with OS X installed to do any repairs you need. It's quite simple to set up a Time Machine drive with an extra partition with a stripped copy of OS X on it in case something happens.
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post #26 of 123
The development of USB 3.0 without the "intelligent perhiperal" element is a dealbreaker for me. If Apple is indeed phasing out Firewire (or only designating it for Pro-sumers), then there should be an alternative that delivers the functionality of Firewire's intelligent device management. Gigabit ethernet has its limitations.

If it requires a hardware step in the process, then that's where I'd like to see Apple and others throw their weight around. USB, as it is now or with 3.0, caters to only casual usage and doesn't offer any steps forward in management of storage, large local file transfers, or power management.
post #27 of 123
UBS 3 is overhyped, just like 802.11n was.
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post #28 of 123
Will we see USB3 to Firewire and USB3 to eSATA adapters?

This USB3 sounds like the real deal in terms of a versatile, one-port-fits-all solution, and I hope that Apple can make the most of it.

It's particularly important to have versatile I/O when Apple still seems to think it's acceptable to ship a pro laptop with only three serial ports. I have four on my current MBP 15 (obviously two firewire and two USB) and I use them all. But with the continuation of the drop hinge at the back for the display preventing any use of the back for I/O, and the new design of the base with side-saddle optical drive and battery and hard drive shutting off any access toward the front of the computer, we really are limited to what Apple can fit on the left hand side of the computer, and that's three serial ports on the 15 inch and four on the 17.

Hopefully Apple will redesign the display hinge on the pro laptops in order to open the back up again for I/O use, and we won't be worrying about this. But I suspect USB3 is the way for Apple to get out of this bind and get away with limited numbers of ports in their dogged adherence to the current form factor of their computers.
post #29 of 123
Only problem is FW3200 may have been finalized, but can you point to any companies selling FW3200 products?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Firewire is far superior to USB in real-world tests. Even Firewire 400 is far superior to USB 2, and Firewire 3200 has been out for months now. Besides, you cannot repair via Target Disk Mode using USB! Apple, bring back the great Firewire to all Macs!
post #30 of 123
Considering that real world speed tests show USB 2.0 delivering no more than half of its promised speed, any bets on how much of this promised 5 gigabits USB 3 will actually have? I think it'll be noticeably slower than Firewire 3200, whenever these new devices start shipping that is.

Also, now that Apple has shipped a new Mini, with Firewire 800 no less, can we stop with the "firewire is dying" meme? Only the MacBook and MacBook Air lack firewire, and neither has the space for it.
post #31 of 123
1394 2008 was IEEE approved 10-21-08, which includes S3200:

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freea...number=4659231


Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

FW 3200 has NOT been out for months. The spec was released, as was the USB 3 spec, several months ago. Please get your facts straight.
post #32 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

How is it that this article completely ignores the faster FireWire S1600 & S3200?! Read:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firewir...1600_and_S3200

My bet is Apple will adopt a faster FW after WWDC...

Will it even be a relevant standard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Firewire is far superior to USB in real-world tests. Even Firewire 400 is far superior to USB 2, and Firewire 3200 has been out for months now. Besides, you cannot repair via Target Disk Mode using USB! Apple, bring back the great Firewire to all Macs!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

UBS 3 is overhyped, just like 802.11n was.

I wasn't aware that USB 3 was hyped at all, or very much. I hope that they won't use "SuperSpeed", that sounds pretty tacky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by photoeditor View Post

Will we see USB3 to Firewire and USB3 to eSATA adapters?

This USB3 sounds like the real deal in terms of a versatile, one-port-fits-all solution, and I hope that Apple can make the most of it.

Converting protocols like that sounds like a bad idea to me. The idea of eSATA was to get as direct to the chipset as possible with a native protocol. I don't know how it would be beneficial to use Firewire over USB other than for just compatibility's sake, it seems you'd negate several benefits of Firewire using it over USB.
post #33 of 123
While no standard has really ever used its full theoretical speed. The problem with 802.11n is the fact that there is no internet service provider that even provides service anywhere near its theoretical speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

UBS 3 is overhyped, just like 802.11n was.
post #34 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

UBS 3 is overhyped, just like 802.11n was.

+1

11n to me has been a colossal disappointment.
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post #35 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85 View Post

You can do the same task by starting up from the OS X Install DVD. It's slow and annoying, but doable.

No if the Mac is broken and needs repair. You can do it with Target Disk Mode via Firewire, but not via USB. Think also of DiskWarrior and other repair utilitities open from a Mac to repair other Mac via TDM.
post #36 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Not Target Disc Mode, but you can boot to any external USB drive, including flash drives, with OS X installed to do any repairs you need. It's quite simple to set up a Time Machine drive with an extra partition with a stripped copy of OS X on it in case something happens.

No if the Mac is broken and needs repair. See the post above this.
post #37 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

While no standard has really ever used its full theoretical speed. The problem with 802.11n is the fact that there is no internet service provider that even provides service anywhere near its theoretical speed.

There's still LAN use, so you don't have to have all your data on the notebook if you have fast wireless network.

I have not noticed "n" promoted very strongly for its speed, but rather for its signal stability and better range than its predecessors. I don't know if that actually held up in practice, I am still using "b" and "g" access points, I might have one computer with "n", but I don't know for sure.

The higher speeds of WiFi are only hit when you're very close to the AP with no interference anyway.
post #38 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

No if the Mac is broken and needs repair. See the post above this.

If OS X won't boot on your Mac you can boot from an external drive using any of the methods I described above. The only benefit to TDM is being able to use two Macs connected via FW, but I find carrying an external 2.5" HDD that contains a partition with my TM backup less of a chore than carrying an additional cable that I never need.

Even when I deleted the USB KEXT from the internal drive I was still able to fix my system via USB booting from an external drive.

Please clarify exactly what you mean, because the only difference between using USB and FW is that you can't use another computer but have to use an OS you've installed on an external drive.
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post #39 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

No. It works over Ethernet.

Migration assistant over ethernet sucks beyond belief. The old computer has to be running 10.4.11 with the updated migration assistant. Not to mention if your 10.4 install is plagued by this bug it won't work at all.
post #40 of 123
USB 3.0 needs NEW cables and ports. Firewire 1600 and 3200 use the same cables and ports as firewire 800. So all apple needs to do is repace the fire wire 800 chip with a 1600 or 3200 one to make it work.
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