When the Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection interface standard was introduced in 1996, it ushered in a whole new way of interacting with our computers. It replaced a hodge-podge of cables and connectors with a single, simple connector that allowed us to plug in keyboards, mice, printers, and other peripheral devices with a minimum of bother. The USB standard was upgraded to a 2.0 version several years ago, allowing faster speeds.
Now, USB 3.0 is in development, scheduled for release late next year or early 2010. This next generation USB will offer even faster speeds, up to 4.8 Gbps. That’s a ten-fold increase over the current version.
Once USB 3.0 releases, it will likely spell the end of the IEEE 1394 connection interface, aka “FireWire.” Apple has recently replaced FireWire ports with USB on some of its products, and this new standard will render FireWire’s superior speed irrelevant.