OK, maybe not higher or even stronger, but certainly swifter! The specs for a new USB standard (version 3.0) were released late last year and I’m including this entry in the blog because this promises to have a major impact on device connectivity in the IT/ed tech world. USB 2.0 has a transfer speed that peaks at around 480 megabits per second, while version 3.0 offers a tenfold increase – to 4.8 gigabits per second. This means that peripherals such as video cameras, MIDI instruments and colour laser printers will communicate with a CPU at considerably faster speeds than currently possible with USB 2.0 connections. A developer group called Symwave has already jumped on the bandwagon and will demonstrate a USB 3.0 storage drive at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, January 8-11.
The IEEE 1394b interface standard, known as FireWire 800 in Apple’s version, can transfer data at around 800 Mbits/sec in full duplex mode, faster than USB 2.0 but only a sixth of the speeds possible with USB 3.0
The move in device connectivity is certainly toward USB these days, judging by the range of USB-enabled devices now available to enhance basic desktop and laptop machines, so this long-awaited upgrade should stimulate the development of further ways to connect peripheral stuff that might actually turn out to be useful in an educational sense. Imagine USB 3.0-enabled musical devices synchronised with video clips driving high-powered projectors in an outdoor venue – this could change performance arts in ways we can only begin to imagine. Or not. It really depends on how far you want to take it, in both a technological and aesthetic sense.
(image sourced from: http://www.gadgetvenue.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/usb-3_0.jpg)
UPDATE: (16/01/09) A recent ZDNet update on this item can be found here with a mention that Apple plans to ditch FireWire in favour of USB 3.0. See why.