You are only as fast as your slowest link, and if your data sits at the other end of a USB 1.0 cable, we are talking very slow. USB 3.0 is already on the horizon. This new standard in data transfer will multiply USB 2.0’s speed limit by 10 and 1.0 by 400. That means faster backups, faster downloads and an improved mindset for us ADD types. It is not here yet, but by the end of 2009 we should start seeing it showing up in our gear. Wired’s blog has a lot of details on the new specification.
If you are keeping your music on an external drive, this new specification may help in more ways than just speed. In the past we have also had to deal with choices on what type of connectors to use. There is USB 1.0, Firewire 400, USB 2.0 and Firewire 800. The quickest of the group is Firewire 800, but USB 3.0 will be six-times faster than that. With the improved speed and signs that Apple, a major proponent of Firewire, may be pulling back its support for Firewire, we might be blessed with a unified wiring solution. Hallelujah! Now we can toss those boxes of cables in the closet.
Another bonus of the new specification is more voltage transfer through the ports. This means you can charge up to four devices off one port. Road warriors rejoice; you can start leaving your power supplies at home. USB 3.0 is also designed to be more energy conscious, a boon for laptops batteries.
So the future is looking hyper-fast, the only problem now is the long wait for it to arrive.