Apples considering USB 3.0 as an addition to Thunderbolt

A lot of people have been disappointed over Apple's lack of interest in the USB 3.0 standard, but thanks to a little bird, VR-Zone has heard that the company is still looking at USB 3.0 as a potential feature to add on future products. As to when and how this might happen is not something we know, but from our understanding it'll happen before Intel integrates USB 3.0 support into its chipsets.

A lot of people have been disappointed over Apple's lack of interest in the USB 3.0 standard, but thanks to a little bird, VR-Zone has heard that the company is still looking at USB 3.0 as a potential feature to add on future products. As to when and how this might happen is not something we know, but from our understanding it'll happen before Intel integrates USB 3.0 support into its chipsets.

Sadly we can't reveal all the information at hand, as not only would we cause problems for our source, but also the entire company in question, but suffice to say, Apple has been looking into USB 3.0 host controllers, especially as the price has finally reached an affordable level. A USB 3.0 host controller is priced at somewhere between US$2-3 in large quantities today which should be compared to US$10-15 for Intel's Thunderbolt chip. It's also important to remember that Thunderbolt not only requires a host chip, but also a device chip and additional chips on the device end depending on the type of device. This makes Thunderbolt a very expensive solution for simple storage device etc.

For this simple reason it makes sense that Apple is considering implementing USB 3.0 support into its products, especially as the device end is very simple and equally affordable, if not even cheaper than the host end. USB 3.0 can of course not match the performance of a device connected over Thunderbolt, but that level of performance is often not required by the consumer market and Apple is seemingly catering more and more towards consumer. Backwards compatibility is another bonus that USB 3.0 offers and in reality there's no reason for a device with USB 2.0 ports today.

In related news, we're also hearing that Apple is working with some of its partners to create more affordable Thunderbolt storage solutions suitable for demanding consumers or small businesses that don't need the throughput offered by high-end RAID enclosures. Further on the subject of Thunderbolt, Intel might allow third party companies to create device side Thunderbolt chipsets, although the company is not considering allowing the competition in on the host side.