MacBook notebooks from 2015 onwards all support USB 3.1 Gen 1 devices via its USB ports, which, despite the fancy name, is actually a rebranded version of the older USB 3.0 spec, known as SuperSpeed USB. While far from slow, with a theoretical maximum throughput of 5Gbps, there is a faster USB standard out there and upcoming Macs may just support it.
According to data found in Apple’s macOS Sierra betas, Apple may be about to offer Macs that feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, dubbed SuperSpeed+ USB. This even-faster standard is capable of moving a maximum 10Gbps of data, which is double that currently offered by Apple’s most recent Macs.
Localizable text strings found in the latest macOS Sierra beta release appear to suggest that USB 3.1 Gen 2 hardware is on the horizon, though it’s possible Apple is simply hedging its bets in case it decides to release hardware with ports supporting the faster USB standard in the future. That said, things like that can be added with patches as and when needed. The fact support appears to be on the way in the early macOS Sierra releases suggests it might be required right out of the gate, that is to say support arriving sooner rather than later.
While it is possible that the mention of new 10Gbps support could point to increased USB speeds, it’s also possible that Thunderbolt 3 is on the horizon instead.
Whichever updated port does arrive on new Macs, however, the fact that new ports are being supported obviously suggests new hardware is on the way – hopefully soon, too.
New MacBook Pros with support for a new OLED touch-sensitive strip above the keyboard have been rumored on and off for a number of weeks and months at this point, so who knows? Maybe we’re about to finally see some of Apple’s computer hardware receive a much needed revision.
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