Ugh: USB 3.2 is going to make the USB naming mess even worse

“USB 3.2, which doubles the maximum speed of a USB connection to 20Gb/s, is likely to materialize in systems later this year,” Peter Bright writes for Ars Technica. “In preparation for this, the USB-IF — the industry group that together develops the various USB specifications — has announced the branding and naming that the new revision is going to use, and… it’s awful.”

“USB 3.0 was straightforward enough. A USB 3.0 connection ran at 5Gb/s, and slower connections were USB 2 or even USB 1.1,” Bright writes. “But then USB 3.1 came along and muddied the waters. Its big new feature was doubling the data rate to 10Gb/s. The logical thing would have been to identify existing 5Gb/s devices as ‘USB 3.0’ and new 10Gb/s devices as ‘USB 3.1.’ But that’s not what the USB-IF did. For reasons that remain hard to understand, the decision was made to retroactively rebrand USB 3.0: 5Gb/s 3.0 connections became ‘USB 3.1 Gen 1,’ with the 10Gb/s connections being ‘USB 3.1 Gen 2.’ The consumer branding is ‘SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps.'”

Bright writes, “USB 3.2 doubles down on this confusion. 5Gb/s devices are now “USB 3.2 Gen 1.” 10Gb/s devices become “USB 3.2 Gen 2.” And 20Gb/s devices will be… “USB 3.2 Gen 2×2.””

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, we didn’t know Phil Schiller was moonlighting at the USB-IF!

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    1. So when you look into buying a device and it’s spec sheet says the USB connections are USB 3.2 compliant and nothing else, what kind of connection are you going to get? 5 Gbps? 10 Gbps? 20 Gbps? Even now many manufacturers claim USB 3.1 compliance and do not specify whether the product supports Gen 2 or is just Gen 1.

      This is marketing insanity. There’s no other way to say it.

      Effectively, with this plan there will be no such thing as USB 3.0 and no such thing as USB 3.1. In late 2019 and certainly in 2020 and later a company would be stupid in the extreme to market anything as other than USB 3.2 compliant (unless, of course, the connection was only USB 1.x or 2.x compliant).

      1. No, this is more than likely some technical Architect’s insanity. The marketing people said “OK! That’s fine. This is what we are going to use when communicating with actual human beings.“

        SuperSpeed USB
        SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps
        SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps

        But, writing a story about how everything is going to be so very confusing gets more clicks.

    2. Just wait until Apple mucks it up further. Remember, the USB 3.2 moniker indicates the software protocol. The connector is something else, and could be USB Type A, Thunderbolt 2 or 3, USB Type C, or something else. I fully expect Apple to make up some random new connector called Thunderbolt 4, which is compatible with USB 3.2 2×2, but you’ll need a Thunderbolt 4 to USB Type A or Type C adapter, also compatible with 3.2 2×2.

      I don’t want to explain it to my mom.

  1. “Hey, we didn’t know Phil Schiller was moonlighting at the USB-IF!”-MDN

    This begs the deep existential question…
    If Stevie Nicks, and Sally Fields, what does Schiller do?

  2. The reality is that you will not know the actual spec unless you contact the supplier directly. Of course if you really need the speed then you would do your homework.
    For the average Joe on the street, they probably would give a toss whether it is 2.0, 3.0 or whatever.
    For me having the same connector type is the key advantage. Ease of connectivity is the most important for most users. The speed freaks will pay for what they need.

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