USB 3.0 has been around for a while now, but for reasons unknown, manufactures have been slow to adopt it. It was rumored that Apple would introduce the latest in serial bus technology in the recent update to the Mac Pro line, but sadly, it proved to be be just that – a rumor. Of course, to take full advantage of the theoretical 10x jump in speeds, both the computer and handheld would have to comply with the new standard. At the moment, there hasn’t been any word of Apple implementing USB 3.0 in any of their devices, but we can dream, can’t we?
What sparked my interest in this topic was the creation of working OS X drivers for CalDigit’s line of PCIe USB host adapters, which allow any Mac with an open expansion slot to take advantage of 3.0 speeds. Eventually, Apple will make the latest iteration of USB standard on every device, but for now, we’ll have to stick with the laggard 2.0.
This benchmark show an increase in speed slightly less than 5x, half of the theoretical maximum. There are a number of factors behind this, but it is still very impressive. (If it previously took an hour to sync all your media to your iPhone, it would take just over 13 minutes with 3.0.) At the moment, there are only a handful of USB 3.0 compatible devices, mostly just flash drives and external harddisks, which cost a hefty premium over their last-gen counterparts. Once this new technology becomes affordable and mainstream, it will hit the shelves in the form of small grey print on the side of a white box – unless Apple’s addiction to simplicity causes them to ditch the cord all together, and finally bring us WiFi syncing.