Rumor: Apple investigating USB 3.0 for Macs ahead of Intel

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
A new report claims Apple has continued to investigate implementing USB 3.0 in its Mac computers independent of Intel's plans to eventually support USB 3.0 at the chipset level.



VR-Zone cites an anonymous source who claims Apple is "still looking" at USB 3.0 for future products and may beat Intel in supporting the standard. Though Apple has for some time been rumored to be planning on bringing USB 3.0 to the Mac, the company's recent commitment to the high-speed Thunderbolt interconnect has dampened talk of USB 3.0.



The third-generation of USB offers speeds of up to 5Gbps, 10 times that of USB 2.0. The standard is backward compatible with the previous generation, but has yet to see widespread adoption.



According to the report, USB 3.0 host controllers have finally reached an "affordable level" for Apple, roughly $2-3 each in large quantities, compared to $10-15 for Intel's Thunderbolt chip. The move is said to help Apple cater to consumers who may not need or be interested in high-end Thunderbolt products.



The report also noted that Apple is working with partners to help bring to market more affordable Thunderbolt storage solutions for small businesses and demanding consumers.



For its part, Intel has affirmed its commitment to both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. In April, the chipmaker said it will release chips supporting both standards next year. Thunderbolt made its debut on Apple's new MacBook Pros this February. Co-developed by Apple and Intel, Thunderbolt offers bi-directional channels with transfer speeds of 10Gbps each, twice as fast as USB 3.0.







The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0, noting in May that it had yet to find a "value proposition" for Thunderbolt. Of course, HP's support may not count for as much, now that the company is looking to either spin off or sell its PC business.



A recently granted patent shows Apple has looked into USB 3.0 support for its dock connector. The invention details a smaller 30-pin dock connector that could provide support for "one or more new high-speed communication standards," such as USB 3.0 and DisplayPort.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    "The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0"



    What weight would that be? Didn't they just throw in the towel?
  • Reply 2 of 85
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    I'd like to see 2 USB 3.0s and one thunderbolt/display port.
  • Reply 3 of 85
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,432member
    Apple definitely should offer USB 3.0 on new machines. If anybody attempts to make the foolish argument that Apple already has Thunderbolt, then hurry up and show me a link as to where I can buy a Thunderbolt flash stick or a single Thunderbolt external drive for pretty cheap. I see Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 as being two separate things and not necessarily in competition with each other and new Macs should have both connectors. Who doesn't want the fastest transfer rates possible?



    I have a few USB 2 flash memory sticks which I use to transfer some files on my machines and they work fine, but USB 2 is pretty fucking slow and I wouldn't mind getting much faster speeds with USB 3. Firewire 400 is faster than USB 2 even though the specs on paper say otherwise. The only problem is that nobody makes Firewire flash sticks, it's all USB now. And Firewire peripherals almost always costs two times the price of their USB equivalent. I was looking to get an enclosure or drive dock recently and I found that the Firewire version was more than double the price of the USB 3.0 version, which is much, much faster.



    Having USB 3.0 on new Macs gives the users a whole lot more options when choosing the best and fastest peripherals to hook up to their machine.
  • Reply 4 of 85
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Apple doesn't even need the 3rd-party USB 3.0 controller chip. They can just use Thunderbolt to lead off to an internal hub that leads to the USB ports. However, that does limit the Thunderbolt port so it has its drawbacks.
  • Reply 5 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    "The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0"



    What weight would that be? Didn't they just throw in the towel?



    Post of the week! ...They threw in a weighted towel...
  • Reply 6 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    "The world's largest PC marker, Hewlett-Packard, has thrown its weight behind USB 3.0"



    What weight would that be? Didn't they just throw in the towel?



    That obviously a tabloid reply. Just for sensational purpose - the following sentence in that paragraph specifically discredited or at least, questioned that support. But never mind, carry on...
  • Reply 7 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    I'd like to see 2 USB 3.0s and one thunderbolt/display port.



    I'd like to see four Thunderbolt and one USB 3.
  • Reply 8 of 85
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Apple definitely should offer USB 3.0 on new machines. If anybody attempts to make the foolish argument that Apple already has Thunderbolt, then hurry up and show me a link as to where I can buy a Thunderbolt flash stick ....



    Can you buy USB 3.0 flash sticks?
  • Reply 9 of 85
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Last time I saw a price quoted for Thunderbolt, it was $80 a chip, now the figure quoted is $10-15. If that's true, then there's great progress. It still needs more devices. Even OWC doesn't have their own Thunderbolt devices, they only offer Promise's boxes.
  • Reply 10 of 85
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rhyde View Post


    Can you buy USB 3.0 flash sticks?



    Newegg shows 40 SKUs.
  • Reply 11 of 85
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,717member
    Good Lord! What would the haters bitch about then?



    Oh, yeah, Blu-ray...



  • Reply 12 of 85
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Last time I saw a price quoted for Thunderbolt, it was $80 a chip, now the figure quoted is $10-15. If that's true, then there's great progress. It still needs more devices. Even OWC doesn't have their own Thunderbolt devices, they only offer Promise's boxes.



    Considering how absolutely new the technology is I'd say it's off to a great start. We had some leaked images of a lightening bolt replacing the Display Port icon which led to some rumours, but we had no idea until Apple unveiled it on February 24th, 2011. I'd expect to see quite a few devices with Thunderbolt come CES 2012 in January.
  • Reply 13 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Good Lord! What would the haters bitch about then?



    Oh, yeah, Blu-ray...









    Yep, but even that is solved with the free Mac software, "Mac Blu-ray Player."



    Love it!
  • Reply 14 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Apple doesn't even need the 3rd-party USB 3.0 controller chip. They can just use Thunderbolt to lead off to an internal hub that leads to the USB ports. However, that does limit the Thunderbolt port so it has its drawbacks.



    Thunderbolt lets multiple protocols run through. However, it doesn't bake in the controllers for each protocols. A USB 3.0 controller would still be required somewhere. But, because of daisy chaining another Thunderbolt cable could be plugged into the USB 3.0 hub. I don't think it seems like an optimal solution though.
  • Reply 15 of 85
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A new report claims Apple has continued to investigate implementing USB 3.0 in its Mac computers independent of Intel's plans to eventually support USB 3.0 at the chipset level.



    Bad idea. A proliferation of different connection standards is bad for computer makers, bad for peripheral makers and bad for consumers.



    It will also serve as a disincentive to the Thunderbolt peripheral market -- crucial to its success and adoption.



    As Apple has always tried to do in the past, the Company should reduce the number of connection standard ports on its products.



    Apple CAN save ten bucks or so by offering USB 3 over the costlier ThunderBolt, but Apple seems to be making Thunderbolt standard across its entire notebook and desktop lines.



    So Apple is ALREADY paying for Thunderbolt, and would only save on COGS if it offered USB 3 in place of Thunderbolt.



    IMHO, I'd like to see Apple "deprecate" USB in favor of Thunderbolt over time.



    But isn't Thunderbolt's bandwidth overkill for most peripherals that aren't even capable of such speeds?



    Yes. Absolutely. And my keyboard and mouse don't need the bandwidth of USB 2.



    IMHO, Apple should offer multiple Thunderbolt ports on every model of notebook and desktop computer it makes, and gradually eliminate USB altogether.



    But what if my printer, scanner, external drive, RAID, web cam, etc. is designed with USB 3 as its only connector?



    Then Apple would have a "Cottage Industry" on its hands in the form of converter/adaptor devices or cables it could sell to allow Thunderbolt ports to connect to HDMI, Ethernet, USB 1, 2, 3, eSATA, DisplayPort, DVI-D, coaxial cable, SDHC cards, miniSD cards, microSD cards, PC Cards, ExpressCards...whatever.



    First, PC makers offered Compact Flash card slots on their machines. Soon after, they added integrated SD card reader slots as well, then miniSD slots, then microSD slots. It was when I saw a peripheral, a 12-in-one card reader, that I decided that adaptors for the proliferation of compact digital memory cards should best be left to the peripheral makers.



    I would like to see Apple lead -- as it always does -- in simplifying the tangled mess of connection standards, and offer every Thunderbolt adaptor under the sun to accommodate everyone, while at the same time, weaning them off these many competing standards.



    Viva Steve Jobs!
  • Reply 16 of 85
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    USB 3.0 is dead. Bring Thunderbolt!
  • Reply 17 of 85
    habihabi Posts: 317member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Macs2InfinityAndBeyond View Post


    Bad idea. A proliferation of different connection standards is bad for computer makers, bad for peripheral makers and bad for consumers.



    It will also serve as a disincentive to the Thunderbolt peripheral market -- crucial to its success and adoption.



    As Apple has always tried to do in the past, the Company should reduce the number of connection standard ports on its products.



    Apple CAN save ten bucks or so by offering USB 3 over the costlier ThunderBolt, but Apple seems to be making Thunderbolt standard across its entire notebook and desktop lines.



    So Apple is ALREADY paying for Thunderbolt, and would only save on COGS if it offered USB 3 in place of Thunderbolt.



    IMHO, I'd like to see Apple "deprecate" USB in favor of Thunderbolt over time.



    But isn't Thunderbolt's bandwidth overkill for most peripherals that aren't even capable of such speeds?



    Yes. Absolutely. And my keyboard and mouse don't need the bandwidth of USB 2.



    IMHO, Apple should offer multiple Thunderbolt ports on every model of notebook and desktop computer it makes, and gradually eliminate USB altogether.



    But what if my printer, scanner, external drive, RAID, web cam, etc. is designed with USB 3 as its only connector?



    Then Apple would have a "Cottage Industry" on its hands in the form of converter/adaptor devices or cables it could sell to allow Thunderbolt ports to connect to HDMI, Ethernet, USB 1, 2, 3, eSATA, DisplayPort, DVI-D, coaxial cable, SDHC cards, miniSD cards, microSD cards, PC Cards, ExpressCards...whatever.



    First, PC makers offered Compact Flash card slots on their machines. Soon after, they added integrated SD card reader slots as well, then miniSD slots, then microSD slots. It was when I saw a peripheral, a 12-in-one card reader, that I decided that adaptors for the proliferation of compact digital memory cards should best be left to the peripheral makers.



    I would like to see Apple lead -- as it always does -- in simplifying the tangled mess of connection standards, and offer every Thunderbolt adaptor under the sun to accommodate everyone, while at the same time, weaning them off these many competing standards.



    Viva Steve Jobs!



    Yea I read you. Wouldnt it be possible to use the thunderbolt as a dock connector??? get all that crap connected that you need? external monitor, usb3.0 hub, gigethernet(for air), eSATA, thunderbolt daisychain port and whatever else that might be usefull. You could have a model with some external storage there also. It wouldnt need to be big in size...



    Cant understand why nobody has made one NOW with the thunderbolt available on all macs?!?!
  • Reply 18 of 85
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    We all know what's going to happen...



    USB3 will replace USB2 and Thunderbolt will replace Firewire. So we will still be left with 2 standards just much faster. Works for me, I like choice.
  • Reply 19 of 85
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,595member
    Looking to purchase my last 2-3 TB external hard drive. Cost is getting up there now and availability is plummeting! \



    Long live TB!



    All the best.
  • Reply 20 of 85
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    Wishful thinking I know but AMD is baking in USB 3 support into some of it's chip sets already. Frankly it is hard to imagine that Apple would use a discreet USB3 controller. At least on it's smaller machines it is.



    Beyond this if Apple did go to a discreet USB 3 controller now would be about the right time. The manufactures have gotten rid of most of the bugs and power usage problems by now. So implementing a stable and reliable port should be easy now.
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