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And now ........ USB 4.0

The old joke that the good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from is still relevant today as USB 4.0 appears on the horizon.

The history of USB standards might soon require its own streamable TV series so that we can take our time and binge watch it all but while it's still possible to see it in a single viewing here's a potted version of it. Enjoy!

The archealogical record of USB standards.

  • 1995 - USB 1.0 debuted and could transfer 12 megabits. USB 1.1 followed and could also work with older devices. The familiar USB connector was introduced.

  • 1998 - The iMac G3 is the first mass-market PC to dump serial and parallel ports in favour of USB.

  • 2000 - USB 2.0 enters the fray, offering some power delivery options (the forerunner to the standard that enables you to charge your phone). USB flash drives debut.

  • 2008 - USB 3.0 makes its debut, with a 5Gbps transfer speed. USB 3.1 is introduced as an upgraded version.

  • 2014 - USB-C or USB Type-C makes its debut. This uses USB 3.1 tech, but with a new connector designed to take over from old-style USB ports. Like Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, it's symmetrical and can be inserted either way up.

  • 2017 - USB 3.2 is first talked about, offering data rates of up to 20Gbps. It'll be introduced this year (2019) but it's not as simple as it seems. Just like the Wi-Fi Alliance did before it, the guys behind USB have decided that the old standards will be renamed as well!

- USB 3.2 Gen 1, formerly USB 3.0, with up to 5 Gbps.

- USB 3.2 Gen 2, formerly USB 3.1, 10 Gbps top speed.

- USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, which is "proper" USB 3.2,” with up to 20Gbps.

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