With USB 4, Thunderbolt 3’s benefits become open to all

“Hot on the heels of USB 3.2 receiving a confusing Gen 2×2 suffix, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has today announced USB 4, the next version of the ubiquitous connector,” Jon Porter writes for The Verge. “Although the draft specification won’t become official until it’s published later this year, the standard is expected to increase its maximum speed to 40 Gbps over the 20 Gbps offered by its current version, USB 3.2.”

“If that speed sounds familiar, then that’s because it’s already offered by the Thunderbolt 3 specification, which first started shipping on devices way back in 2015,” Porter writes. “However, in order to encourage adoption in 2017 Intel announced that it was going to make the standard available to other chipmakers, allowing anyone to manufacture the technology, royalty free. With USB 4, Intel is finally making good on this promise.”

“All this means that means that USB 4 is essentially just catching up with a three year old technology, but by becoming an open standard it’s likely to become both more widely available and cheaper,” Porter writes. “Although USB 4 will integrate Thunderbolt 3’s features, Intel says that the two standards will coexist. While USB 4 is open, Thunderbolt 3 is not, and Intel requires manufacturers to be certified to use it. It also offers these manufacturers more support with reference designs and technical support.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: God only knows what they’ll name it as Porter reports, “Unfortunately the USB-IF was unable to confirm whether the standard’s recently bizarre naming conventions (which last week reached a fever pitch with the announcement of the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 spec) will continue with USB 4.”

Ugh: USB 3.2 is going to make the USB naming mess even worse – February 27, 2019


  1. Intel kept its word.

    In 2017, Intel promised it would drop licensing fees for Thunderbolt. It worked with the USB-IF to develop the latest “universal” USB-C connector. Now finally the USB-IF is taking ownership.

    Bottom line: There is no more Thunderbolt, because USB4 is Thunderbolt 3. USB4 also contains protocols for every USB that came before it, so legacy “it just works” USB peripherals will indeed work just fine.

    Just a shame the dorks at the USB-IF, of which Apple is a prominent member, couldn’t simplify marketing.

    But then, what would you expect. Apple is still trying to rape people for outrageous plastic white adapters to its expensive high-cost Lightning interface. We can only hope that Apple gets a clue and drops the obscene licensing fee.

    Also, because Cook is the guy in charge, we know that it will be at least 3 years before Apple hardware across the board adopts the latest and best USB4 standard.

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