Apple head Steve Jobs is famous for answering customer emails personally, if only occasionally. His latest correspondence is getting quite a bit of attention because it addresses why Apple has held back on incorporating USB 3.0 in new products. According to 9 to 5 Mac, one of its readers asked Jobs why he couldn't order a Mac with SuperSpeed USB connectivity and received the following reply:
We don’t see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example.
If Jobs is holding out for Intel to incorporate USB 3.0 support in its core-logic chipsets, Mac users could be waiting a while. The latest from the rumor mill suggests that Intel may not adopt the next-gen USB standard until 2012. However, thanks to third-party controller chips, USB 3.0 ports have already permeated high-end, mid-range, and even some budget motherboards. They're popping up in plenty of notebooks and netbooks, too, and external enclosure and hard drive makers have also hopped on the bandwagon.
USB 3.0 might not have much mainstream recognition just yet, but it's certainly starting to take off. And for good reason. External hard drives are in dire need of a faster interface than USB 2.0, and SuperSpeed USB is more attractive than FireWire and external Serial ATA. We've seen SuperSpeed storage devices more than double the transfer rates they achieve with plain old USB 2.0 connectivity. To be fair, though, the new standard has yet to make inroads in other devices, such as digital cameras and personal media players. You can thank DailyTech for the ensuing comment flame war.