Apple CEO Jobs Says It’s Not Time Yet for Mac Users to Get USB 3.0

USB 3.0 is slowly taking off in the PC market.  Thanks to early support from motherboard manufacturers like ASUS and Gigabyte, some PC customers now have access to USB 3.0 ports.  And the growing array of USB 3.0-ready devices, like SuperTalent’s new Flash sticks andSeagate’s new 3.0 TB external HDD allow users to increasingly take advantage of this new standard.

In the face of growing PC use, a Mac user named Tom Kruk reportedly emailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs asking him when Apple’s customers might get the gift of USB 3.0.  To his surprise Mr. Jobs replied, but the reply basically made it clear that Apple wasn’t going to upgrade its lineup to employ the new tech until 2011 at the earliest.

Mr. Jobs, who typically writes one or two-line replies, wrote:

We don’t see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example.

To be fair, Mr. Jobs is correct about Intel’s lack of support.  The world’s largest chipmaker and one of the largest makers of motherboards has been sluggish at adopting the faster standard, which was first ratified by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) on November 17, 2008. Intel will finally push out USB 3.0 sometime in 2011.

That said, the appeal of USB 3.0 seems obvious.  The specification requires that manufacturers achieve a throughput of 3.2 Gbit/s — a nearly seven-fold increase from USB 2.0’s throughput of 480 Mbit/s.  The spec also supports six 150 milliamp loads, versus five 100 milliamp loads for USB 2.0.

Apple despite claiming to have “cutting edge” hardware often lags behind the highest end enthusiast hardware.  It’s common to be able to pick up an ASUS laptop with greatly superior hardware specs than a MacBook Pro that costs nearly twice as much (granted the MacBook Pro is much lighter and features a slick aluminum unibody case). 

Apple also made the curious decision to stop installing Flash on its Mac computers.  Flash is one of the most-used multimedia technologies on the internet, and recently became much more efficient, thanks to the inclusion of hardware support.

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