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A publication claims that USB 3.0 could at last hit Macs.

The addition would allow Apple customers to ditch their $50 premium cables -- and, more importantly, gain access to many more peripherals.  (Source: iFixIt)
Move could alleviate Apple owners' woes of limited peripheral selection

These days USB 3.0, an extra-speedy connectivity technology is supported by an increasing number of peripherals like external hard drives or thumb drives.  And it's become quite mainstream in the PC market, even showing up in mid-range models like the Micro-Star International Comp., Ltd.'s (TPE:2377) $700 MSI FX603 notebook.

But customers of Apple Inc. (AAPL) -- the third largest computer-maker in the U.S. -- are willing to settle for paying as much $3,000 or more for some high end "fully loaded" notebooks or $5,000 on some desktops without a scrap of USB 3.0 support.

Ex-CEO Steve Jobs claimed customers didn't care about USB 3.0 and it wasn't time for them to be allowed to get it, anyways.  Apple instead offers customers Thunderbolt, an early copper-based implementation of Intel Corp.'s (INTC) upcoming fiber-optic "LightPeak" technology.

LightPeak offers 20 Gbit/s bidirectional data transmission versus up to 5 Gbit/s with USB 3.0.  While that sounds like a favorable trade, one relatively minor downside to this arrangement is that Apple customers have to pony up a whopping $50 USD per cable, thanks to the slew of microchips inside the complicated design.  Further, while an extra $50 on a $5000 computer may not seem that bad, the lack of selection in terms of ThunderBolt peripherals offers a far more pressing issue for Apple computer users.

Now with a new CEO at the head of Apple the rumor has popped up yet again that the company will finally catch up to PCs in hardware by offering its customers USB 3.0.  

VR-Zone writes, "A lot of people have been disappointed over Apple's lack of interest in the USB 3.0 standard, but thanks to a little bird, VR-Zone has heard that the company is still looking at USB 3.0 as a potential feature to add on future products. As to when and how this might happen is not something we know, but from our understanding it'll happen before Intel integrates USB 3.0 support into its chipsets."

The important word in that comment is "before".  Intel is supposed to drop in support for the USB 3.0 standard in its Ivy Bridge CPU series, which will launch in 2012.  If VR-Zone's source is correct Apple could be preparing to deliver USB 3.0 slightly ahead of schedule in late 2011.

If Apple does that it'd probably have to go with a third party chip to add compatibility to its stock Intel chipset.  That wouldn't be the first time Apple has done this -- its a well known secret that back in 2010 it hacked at the stock chipsets to allow graphics switching (similar to Optimus) between the integrated GPU in the Intel CPU core and the dedicated onboard NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) GeForce GPU.

Hopefully the rumors are true, after all, from our perspective there's little excuse to be peddling a $5,000 computer that lacks USB 3.0 support found in $700 Windows PCs.


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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By EricMartello on 9/2/2011 10:54:50 PM , Rating: 4
Whether it is USB, Thunderbolt, SATA, Firewire or even a lowly RS-232 port - they all have one thing in common - they must connect with the local bus of the host system.

Instead of making and then supporting all of these various connectivity interfaces, why not simply extend the PCI spec to encompass external interfacing and eliminate all of these secondary interfaces. Why must hard drives use SATA, monitors use HDMI/DVI, memory cards USB when they all "bridge" over to PCI in the end anyway? Just unify PCI connectivity...the slots for devices inside the system and cable ports for externally connected devices.

Theoretically this design could eliminate a lot of the overhead introduced by these other interfaces and it should enable more cost-effective hardware design with much more flexibility and virtually unlimited connectivity options.




By name99 on 9/2/2011 11:47:34 PM , Rating: 2
Jesus, dude, is this a joke?
Do you seriously not know how Thunderbolt works?


By EricMartello on 9/3/2011 7:40:55 AM , Rating: 2
Thunderbolt isn't the solution to any problem. It's just another interface that we don't need. You clearly don't understand why it would be beneficial to unify connectivity rather than creating separate interfaces for every single device.


By lukarak on 9/4/2011 8:49:57 AM , Rating: 1
What, you would forbid companies to make inovation just to stay compatible? Don't be ridiculous. USB is nothing like Thunderbolt, they overlap in a small range of Thunderbolt's range. And even there, Thunderbolt is superior. It connects directly to the PCI-E bus, which makes the possibilities almost endless.


By EricMartello on 9/4/2011 11:27:41 AM , Rating: 1
Why don't you read my original post more carefully before replying, dipshit. I never said that USB and Thunderbolt are alike...what I said was that they should stop making secondary interface technologies and simply extend the PCI spec to allow for externally connected devices. This would eliminate the need for USB, SATA, DVI/HDMI and any other secondary connectivity method because everything would just connect directly to the PCI bus.


By Gungel on 9/3/2011 10:02:00 AM , Rating: 2
Do you mean like this new standard from the PCI Special Interest Group:
http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4217190/PC...


By EricMartello on 9/4/2011 11:32:07 AM , Rating: 2
YES! This is pretty much what I've been saying for a while. The PCI Express spec should have had this from the start. Imagine devices that are no longer bottle-necked by interfaces that do not keep pace with main system technologies. THis would really improve the potential performance of SSDs for instance, and would open the door to external processing devices for entertainment and such.


Typical
By StanO360 on 9/2/2011 5:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
I need those kind of transfer speeds once every three months if that. It's not worth giving up backward compatibility and price. Jobs is right about the "don't need" part, he just got the technology wrong.




RE: Typical
By SPOOFE on 9/2/2011 5:44:16 PM , Rating: 4
I could sure make excellent use of those transfer speeds on a regular basis; eight gigs of RAW files don't just upload themselves, you know! :D


RE: Typical
By kraeper on 9/2/2011 6:42:49 PM , Rating: 5
USB 3 is backwards-compatible with all USB 2 and USB 1.1 devices, and cables are dirt cheap.

Thunderbolt is compatible with ... ? And a cable for the few supported products costs what? I do understand that cost isn't an issue for Apple users to begin with, but to try to argue compatibility on Thuderbolt vs. USB is just asking to get proven wrong. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but that doesn't prevent your opinion from being wrong. ;)


RE: Typical
By amanojaku on 9/2/2011 7:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I do understand that cost isn't an issue for Apple users to begin with
Most of the people I've seen with Macs are broke as f---.

A Mac is like a Porsche or Ferrari for a 20-something midlife crisis. With way less class.


What woes?
By volvox on 9/2/2011 5:06:59 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Move could alleviate Apple owners' woes of limited peripheral selection


Are you sure? Because I'm pretty sure they like limited peripheral selection.




RE: What woes?
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2011 11:46:47 PM , Rating: 4
Choices are scary things man.


RE: What woes?
By Wolfpup on 9/4/2011 8:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
USB 3.0?!? What's next...support for Blu Ray? Competent font rendering? The ability to turn off mouse acceleration?

Nah...


I still don't get it...
By quiksilvr on 9/2/2011 5:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
Why wasn't USB 3.0 Light Peak? It makes no sense at all why this didn't happen. Hell, even the Vaio Z made a "hybrid" port that implemented Light Peak technology on a port that doubles as USB 3.0, so what gives?




RE: I still don't get it...
By TakinYourPoints on 9/2/2011 9:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
It is because USB isn't meant to be used that way. Here is the official quote from the USB implimenters forum.

quote:
"USB connectors are not general purpose connectors and are not designed to be used in support of other technology applications or standards or as combo connectors."


Note that that the first demonstration of Light Peak was on a Mac Pro using physical USB connectors, not mini-DisplayPort. Intel obviously made the change since there are no license fees involved with mini-DP. Mini-DP was designed and then released by Apple with no royalty fees for licensees. It doesn't have the license restrictions that USB does, and it allows for smaller chassis (always a plus with ever shrinking chassis), so it was an obvious choice.

Sony must have paid a license fee to use the USB connector for Thunderbolt. In any case, it is a bad move because the only TB devices that will work with that notebook are proprietary Sony devices (their dock, etc etc). Without the mini-DP port it will not support Thunderbolt devices which will become more and more available. No surprise as Sony and proprietary go hand-in-hand.

Interesting quote from a review of the Vaio Z

quote:
Alongside the Ethernet, HDMI, VGA and USB2 connectors is the Thunderbolt port. Unlike Apple's and Intel's implementation, which takes the form of a Mini DisplayPort-compatible connector, Sony has decided to use a USB3 port. The underlying technology is still the same as Thunderbolt - Intel's Light Peak – but since it doesn't use the Mini DisplayPort connector, it can't be branded as Thunderbolt. Perversely, squeezing Light Peak into a USB3 connector is against the rules set by the USB Implementers Forum, so it can't be branded as USB3 either.


In any case, the lack of TB peripherals will quickly go away. People forget that there is always a similar lack of device support whenever a new connector comes out.


RE: I still don't get it...
By quiksilvr on 9/2/2011 11:54:57 PM , Rating: 2
But WHY? WHY can't it be used as a combo connector? eSATA and USB 2.0, microUSB and miniHDMI, and now USB 3.0 and Light Peak. People don't seem to really care and/or the licensing fee is negligibly low. HDMI has licensing fees but that didn't stop it from spreading like wild-fire.


By TakinYourPoints on 9/3/2011 3:19:20 AM , Rating: 2
The point is that the USB implimenter's forum does not approve of USB being used in this way, so much so that they won't allow Sony to brand a USB 3.0 capable port as such because it also carries Thunderbolt.

I don't know what Sony did here, did they license it or did they just disregard the restrictions and go ahead with it anyway?


...
By karndog on 9/3/2011 1:01:52 AM , Rating: 2
*In monotone voice*

The Jobs has declared i don't want or care about UBS 3.0. It is so. The Jobs has spoken.




RE: ...
By karndog on 9/3/2011 1:51:16 AM , Rating: 4
*12 months later*

Apple is proud to announce we will be supporting a great new feature that you just can't live without, USB 3.0!!!

*people in monotone voice*

USB 3.0. is amazing. All hail the visionarys at Apple..


By StraightCashHomey on 9/2/2011 7:36:00 PM , Rating: 3
Obviously, most of us on here are tech savvy, so we're more likely to come across situations where we NEED USB 3.0, but most people wouldn't notice or wouldn't care. The mainstream market doesn't ever talk about how Apple doesn't have USB 3.0. Apple users are going to buy Apple regardless of how crappy or awesome the product is.




Catching up
By Bozzified on 9/2/2011 9:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think Apple needs to do more than just add USB 3.0 to catch up to PCs.

Their graphics card and internals on their desktop machines are already 1 to 2 generations behind. Mac Pros still offer 5770 cards which are 2 generations behind.

Not to mention real RAID solutions, support for Blu-ray drives, advanced sound cards, latest CPUs, proper support for SSDs, better ram etc etc..

But that's what Apple does really.. they release products every 2-3 years that match PCs and then they quickly become obsolete.




RE: Catching up
By name99 on 9/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Catching up
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Catching up
By Tony Swash on 9/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Catching up
By retrospooty on 9/4/2011 11:03:35 AM , Rating: 1
Oh yes, Mac has recently passed the whopping 5% marketshare barrier. I am sure MS shaking in thier boots. /rolls eyes.

PC is cheaper, faster, and has far FAR FAR more options in peripherals, hardware, and software.


USB 3
By thai_rat on 9/4/2011 4:30:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ex-CEO Steve Jobs claimed customers didn't care about USB 3.0 and it wasn't time for them to be allowed to get it, anyways.


This means, the competition is catching up (why its being considered), and (why were not releasing it yet) were not finished milking the fans!




By Aries1470 on 9/5/2011 10:23:19 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, talk about "stealing" and "re-using" tech!
Boy-oh-boy, has jobsie gone ancient tech!

Ok, so you daisy-chain devices, sounds like old SCSI tech. Now that was besides for hard disk drives, HDD for short, also used in the early days for scanners and even printers... oh and mac's had scsi too... but even before that, there was the T.I. (Texas Instruments) 99/4A computer, that had an expansion port on the right side of it. You could attach many devices, on their left was the connection port, connecting to the computer, and on the right, was the pass through to connect the next device. If you search enough, you may even find a photo with a few devices connected to each other... long tables a must, unless you bought the expansion box. Also not to mention that they were "plug & play" so to speak. No need for drivers or anything, they just worked!
I think were way to ahead of their time with their ideas, jsut hte market wasn't ready for them, hehe. Or their next bus, the HexBus.

Ahh, those were the times. Who said crApple don't innovate, just re-hash an old idea, make it quicker, add a cable and make it your own ;-) gotta love them.

p.s. For those that need a link, here is a quick link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_TI-...




By Aries1470 on 9/5/2011 10:48:37 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, talk about "stealing" and "re-using" tech!
Boy-oh-boy, has jobsie gone ancient tech!

Ok, so you daisy-chain devices, sounds like old SCSI tech. Now that was besides for hard disk drives, HDD for short, also used in the early days for scanners and even printers... oh and mac's had scsi too... but even before that, there was the T.I. (Texas Instruments) 99/4A computer, that had an expansion port on the right side of it. You could attach many devices, on their left was the connection port, connecting to the computer, and on the right, was the pass through to connect the next device. If you search enough, you may even find a photo with a few devices connected to each other... long tables a must, unless you bought the expansion box. Also not to mention that they were "plug & play" so to speak. No need for drivers or anything, they just worked!
I think were way to ahead of their time with their ideas, jsut hte market wasn't ready for them, hehe. Or their next bus, the HexBus.

Ahh, those were the times. Who said crApple don't innovate, just re-hash an old idea, make it quicker, add a cable and make it your own ;-) gotta love them.

p.s. For those that need a link, here is a quick link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_TI-...




Overpriced Cables aside...
By mattscottshea on 9/5/2011 8:42:39 PM , Rating: 2
Why do people even buy Apple computers in the first place. You could easily buy 2 computers of equal quality, or more if you drop the specs. Then again, the few people I know with a Mac don't even know what a file extension is, or that the wireless in the laptop doesn't work unless they have a wireless router to connect to, or the difference between a tab and window, or... well. You get the picture.




Apple catching up with PC's?
By zBernie on 9/6/2011 1:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
That's hilarious! Thunderbolt is the bleeding edge data transfer technology for PC's! Catching up? That's too funny!

But then I've come to expect these biased anti-Apple stories from dailytech.com.

Do a search for these terms and tell me Apple products are catching up:

"macbook air editors choice"
"macbook pro editors choice"
"iMac editors choice"

You'll see consistently at places like cnet.com, pcmag.com, Apple products are consistently the highest rated.

Catching up? That's too funny!




More Apple obession!
By Tony Swash on 9/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: More Apple obession!
By Ramtech on 9/3/2011 9:48:06 AM , Rating: 3
Because adding USB 3.0 support for Apple is a gamechanger
Until now Apple was trying to be incompatible with PC because they wanted to sell Apple branded peripherals with huge margin
This move can make Apple again compatible with PC so Apple users can buy cheaper non-Apple branded peripherals

Calling USB minor interface is laughable

quote:
Time to get a life guys

This is comment from troll who is commenting only Apple topics and always taking pro-Apple stance


RE: More Apple obession!
By TakinYourPoints on 9/3/2011 12:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Until now Apple was trying to be incompatible with PC because they wanted to sell Apple branded peripherals with huge margin


Promise sells the Thunderbolt hard drive enclosures, nobody is restricted from making Thunderbolt cables, and other companies like Dell have monitors that accept mini-DisplayPort without an adapter. What peripherals does Apple sell from which it stands to solely financially benefit from Thunderbolt over USB 3.0?


RE: More Apple obession!
By Tony Swash on 9/3/2011 8:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because adding USB 3.0 support for Apple is a gamechanger Until now Apple was trying to be incompatible with PC because they wanted to sell Apple branded peripherals with huge margin This move can make Apple again compatible with PC so Apple users can buy cheaper non-Apple branded peripherals


Christ you Apple phobic obssevies sure do talk a lot of bollocks. How does this change any game? Apple led the way with USB, firewire and Thunderbolt adoption, and rounding it off with USB 3 will not make much difference to anything, Mac sales will continue to grow and Windows PCs will continual to decline. The only likely change is that that trend will accelerate.


???
By msheredy on 9/2/11, Rating: -1
RE: ???
By Argon18 on 9/2/11, Rating: -1
RE: ???
By kraeper on 9/2/2011 6:46:24 PM , Rating: 3
Huh. I guess I'll have to go explain to my PC that it doesn't really have Firewire 800.

Boy is it gonna be bummed. :(


RE: ???
By B3an on 9/2/2011 7:30:53 PM , Rating: 3
I had Firewire 800 on a PC about 4 or 5 years ago.

And this article makes me laugh. All the iSheep that have been saying how bad USB3 and Apple dont need it... yet look what we have here... Apple want it.


RE: ???
By AssBall on 9/2/2011 6:54:26 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe one day Apple will actually offer people what is affordable, reliable, inexpensive, and supports more devices. Oh wait, they just did with USB 3.


RE: ???
By fxnick on 9/4/2011 11:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
are you saying PCs are more reliable than macs?

In the time ive had my G5 powermac(which is still my main computer), ive gone through easily about 3 or 4 PCs


RE: ???
By Flunk on 9/2/2011 10:56:40 PM , Rating: 2
USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt are complementary rather than alternative technologies. USB 3.0 controllers are cheap as chips and will go into anything, even tiny devices. Thunderbolt offers greater throughput but at the cost of significantly increased price.

The question is, does this printer/usb drive/mouse/keyboard need all that bandwidth? In most cases the answer is no so they're going to go with the low cost solution because there isn't a market for hardware that costs 2x the normal price and performs exactly the same.

P.S. Thunderbolt is also available on some "PC" computers, it's not an Apple standard, but an Intel one so if it takes off (which, based on previous experiences is unlikely) you will see it on everything too.


RE: ???
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2011 11:44:10 PM , Rating: 2
The other issue is that you only get one, count them, one Thunderbolt port. What if I want to plug in my device with Thunderbolt compatibility in addition to an external monitor? Now I have to either choose, swap back and forth, or buy some kind of hub (if you can even get one).

With USB there's more than one. Of course even in this Macs suck. My $2800 Macbook Pro work laptop has only TWO USB ports. TWO! My 3 year old $600 laptop has more than that. It also has HDMI. Another thing the Apple lacks. Oh yeah. Blu-ray too.


RE: ???
By messele on 9/3/2011 6:06:29 AM , Rating: 1
Or you could stop being ignorant and realise that you plug the screen into your computer, the hard drive into the screen and everything will work fine. Saves having lots of ugly cables hanging out of your computer, can you see that?

But don't let that stop you making stories up about having to suffer an inferior $2,800 dollar 2-port USB mac at work when we all know the $2,499 17" is not only cheaper than you quoted but has more USB ports.

But of course you could buy Windows laptops including HDMI and Blu-Ray for $600 three years ago.

Lies.


RE: ???
By Ramtech on 9/3/2011 4:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that most current monitors dont have USB hub and if they have those ports are just USB 2.0

And if i do plug my harddisk into monitor i will have ugly cable hanging from my screen can i have that?


RE: ???
By lukarak on 9/4/2011 8:44:30 AM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? He's talking about thunderbolt. It has only one connector because it doesn't need a hub, and all devices have an 'in and out'. So you can just daisy chain them. It doesn't work like that with USB


RE: ???
By FITCamaro on 9/5/2011 11:53:40 AM , Rating: 2
Do I need to pull out the receipt?

And yes with the options the laptop has, it was $2800. I also don't have the 17". But the 15". But perhaps prices have changed as well.


RE: ???
By retrospooty on 9/2/2011 11:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
"If you think USB 3.0 is going to see anywhere near 649 MB/s which is its theoretical maximum, you are grossly mistaken"

And you can buy a Thunderbolt device that uses that speed? No, the fastes external requirement is an external hard drive which is no-where near that fast, not even SSD's need that speed. Tbolt is overpriced, un-needed, and not backwards compatible, and now a year late, Apple finally "Gets" it.


RE: ???
By SoCalBoomer on 9/2/2011 6:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it has much higher throughput than does USB 3

However, USB is cheaper, easier to implement, backwards compatible, and is becoming ubiquitous (esp since it is backwards compatible) - TBolt is none of these.

It takes an expensive cable, is not compatible with anything except displayport (and that's far from ubiquitous). . .

So, it's "catching up" like Apple finally caught up with SD capability. . .


RE: ???
By TEAMSWITCHER on 9/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: ???
By retrospooty on 9/2/2011 11:02:13 PM , Rating: 3
and these thunderbolt devices are on sale where? Link please!


RE: ???
By TEAMSWITCHER on 9/3/2011 1:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC914LL/A?fnode=...
http://www.sonnettech.com/product/thunderbolt/inde...
http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10...
http://www.promise.com/storage/raid_series.aspx?re...

That Apple 27" Thunderbolt display is also port replicator and MacBook charging dock as well. Thunderbolt is the world's first non-proprietary docking solution. PC's have had proprietary solutions for years, but this is different and more versatile. PC makers may not adopt Thunderbolt - they will say they are not interested in the technology or that USB 3 is adequate. In reality they are just being cheap or want you to keep buying their ugly proprietary docking solutions.


RE: ???
By retrospooty on 9/4/2011 10:50:28 AM , Rating: 2
OK, but still not seeing any advantage in TB vs existing connections... A possible exception being a universal port rep/dock for laptops, but that is a pretty small market. TB is intel's tech, not Apple's. At this point its not looking like it will catch on when USB 3 is cheaper, 100% backwards compatible and plenty fast enough. Doing a full 20+GB image on todays fast 2TB drives is exactly as fast on USB3, vs SATA, with tons of headroom for future faster drives.


RE: ???
By StevoLincolnite on 9/3/2011 12:38:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
USB 3 can't can't drive a external display but Thunderbolt can and much, much, more.


Wrong. USB 3 can drive an external Display with a special device in the middle, you could do it even with USB 2.

quote:
any device that can connect to a PCI Express bus can connect to Thunderbolt, it's already compatible with existing technologies, even USB 3


Problem is the amount of native peripherals with Thunderbolt. Hint: They're almost non-existent at this stage.
Where-as USB has been around for over a decade and completely backwards compatible and widely available.

quote:
I sure hope PC manufacturers don't dismiss Thunderbolt to save a few dollars on their designs, it's fantastic technology that when mature could lead to exciting new computer designs.


It's not going to make your PC any more curved or shiny, hence it won't alter PC designs much if at all, just another Port to add to the mix alongside everything else.

USB is pretty much on every computer and will continue being the defacto connectivity standard for Printers, flash drives, external Hard Drives etc'. As it's a port that can be found in Cars, Phones, Televisions etc'. Thunderbolt? Good luck.


RE: ???
By TakinYourPoints on 9/2/2011 9:10:11 PM , Rating: 2
The cable thing is such a short term issue. All radically new tech is expensive out of the gate (USB, Firewire, SCSI, etc etc), and as it stands Thunderbolt is still faster and cheaper to implement than fiber.


RE: ???
By TakinYourPoints on 9/2/2011 9:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
And for the record, I really hope Intel is aggressive about putting Thunderbolt with mini-DP connectors on Ivy Bridge motherboards. I would gladly skip past USB 3.0 to Thunderbolt for my next PC build.


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