Thunderbolt is an incredibly fast connection from your Mac to peripherals, and more products are appearing on the market everyday. Yet it’s still a bit pricey, and many have bemoaned the lack of USB 3 as an alternative. While USB 2 is available on all of the computers Apple sells, it operates at a slow 480 Mbps compared to the 5 Gbps of USB 3 and the 10 Gbps of Thunderbolt.
Considering that Intel plans on integrating USB 3 alongside Thunderbolt into their next processor, Ivy Bridge, sometime in 2012, it was assumed that when Apple uses that processor they would use USB 3, as well. However, VR-Zone reports that Apple is looking at doing this before Ivy Bridge is available. But it begs the question, for what product?
The Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in a long time. While some say Apple won’t refresh it until Ivy Bridge is available, it could be upgraded sooner than that.
Then there was the rumor of an entirely new product, which seemed to be more wishful thinking than an actual rumor. However, if true, then incorporating USB 3 might be a selling point depending on what the product is.
What I think is most likely is that someone is interpreting Apple’s investigation of the possibility of adding USB 3 on their own just in case Intel’s Ivy Bridge gets delayed or is unsuitable. It always pays to have a back-up plan when something goes wrong, and something always goes wrong.
However, while we’re dreaming of new products, I’d love to see a consumer version of the Mac Pro called the Mac. An upgradeable tower with a full-sized video card (not mobile) and ease of upgrading parts. What new product would you like to see?