USB 4 has been announced. The new USB standard is just as fast as Thunderbolt 3, yet the two protocols remain separate from each other. We explain how this is.
USB 4 announced: Thunderbolt and USB crawl towards each other
A few days after unveiling the rather confusing USB 3.2 standard, USB Implementers Forum(USB-IF) is back with the next announcement. USB 4 has the same characteristics as Thunderbolt 3, with the exception that the standard is free to use for manufacturers.
This means that USB 4 has a throughput of 40GB per second, or twice as fast as USB 3.2. For Apple owners, this should sound familiar, because Thunderbolt 3 is just as fast.
Furthermore, USB 4 has a capacity of 100 watts and you can, therefore, connect external graphics cards. This means that you no longer have to figure out whether two devices can actually be connected to each other, even though they both have a USB-C connection.
Noses in the same direction
The company especially hopes to bring more clarity to the world of USB connections. Currently, manufacturers such as Apple have to pay for the Thunderbolt name. This is not necessary with USB 4: the standard is free.
Intel hopes that in the future more monitors, computers, laptops and external graphics cards with USB 4 connection on the market, so you no longer need all kinds of connectors. The new USB protocol, therefore, works with older versions such as USB 3.2 and 2.0.
Intel will announce the complete specifications halfway through this year. It therefore probably takes a few years before we can use the first devices with the fourth USB generation. However, USB 4 and Thunderbolt 3 remain separate from each other.
Now we hear you thinking: why would Apple continue to pay for this brand name, if the new USB standard does the same, but for free? This has to do with the fact that Intel offers the company from Cupertino more service, such as assistance with the design of new products and technical support for problems.