At the beginning of March this year, for the first time we heard about the plans for USB 4.0. We had to wait a few months for a confirmation of the earlier reports. Now the USB Implementers Forum has published the final specification of the USB4 interface, which is to offer dual-channel data transfer at 40 Gb/s. Moreover, the new solution will offer backward compatibility with USB 2.0, USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt 3. We can also expect a better allocation of resources for movies - for example, if you use a port to transfer movies and data simultaneously, this will allocate the bandwidth accordingly. The new USB will use the current C-type USB connector.
Most USB4 devices will be compatible with Thunderbolt 3. This is great news, especially for players who would like to connect an external graphics card to a laptop, for example. Interestingly, manufacturers can use this standard without paying a license fee to Intel. However, there is an important catch: Thunderbolt compatibility is not a required part of the USB4 specification. Therefore, it may turn out that in a year's time you will buy a new laptop, and it will not allow you to connect to the device using Thunderbolt.
Despite this fact, Brad Saunders, head of the USB Promoter Group, is optimistic about PC component manufacturers. But let's remember that any device that comes with Thunderbolt 3 support is likely to be certified by Intel - and it's not going to be cheap. There is still no specific information on when we can expect to see the first USB4 devices. Technical details are to be disclosed at one of the USB Developer Days 2019 conferences in Seattle (September 17-18) or Taipei (November 12-20).
- USB Implementers Forum