USB just keeps getting faster and faster, with the USB 3.0 Promoter Group — of which Apple is a member — announcing the upcoming release of the USB 3.2 specification yesterday. It’s considered an “incremental update” to USB 3.1, but it’s an important one — it defines multi-lane operation for USB 3.2 hosts and devices, meaning that devices can allow for two lanes of 5 Gbps (gigabit per second) data transfer or two lanes of 10 Gbps transfer.
Connecting a USB 3.2 host to a USB 3.2 device would now provide transfer speeds of over 2 GB/sec (gigabytes per second) over existing USB Type-C cables certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps.
The key takeaway here? It’s using existing USB Type-C cables but doubling the capacity of those cables. The Promoter Group says that the USB 3.2 solution allows for continued use of existing SuperSpeed USB physical layer data rates and encoding techniques for backward compatibility, and there’s a “minor update” to the hub specification that addresses increased performance and allow for seamless transitions between single and two-lane operation.
Apple has been a member of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group for years, and has traditionally been an early adopter of new USB technology. The upcoming release of the iMac Pro this winter and a new Mac Pro next year would be perfect platforms to highlight the new specification.