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New iPhone sync connector USB 3.0 compatible?

updated 02:35 am EDT, Wed September 12, 2012

New cable unlikely to be just USB 2.0 or Thunderbolt

As details have clarified on the forthcoming iPhone and peripherals, various outlets have started to take a look at the synchronization cable as well. The nine-pin connector could point to compatibility with a USB 3.0 connector, such as those found on newer Macintosh laptop models from 2012, leading to substantially faster synchronization speeds across the newer interface.

USB 3.0 is capable of in theory up to 5Gbps, slightly over 10 times faster than USB 2.0's 480Mbps. MacNN staffers performed some experiments, transferring a 20GB batch of MP3 and AAC files across USB 3.0 and also with 2.0. The USB 3.0 connection took 11 minutes and 57 seconds, while the USB 2.0 connection took 41 minutes and 8 seconds. While not matching the maximum potential speed, an fourfold increase in speed remains significant. The same cable would be capable of USB 2.0 synchronization as well, given the flexibility of the specification.

The nine-pin connector is unlikely to be compatible with Thunderbolt or FireWire 800. The Thunderbolt specification requires a 20 pin connector for both power and data transmission. While nearly all Apple laptops and desktops have a FireWire connector, the nascent iOS family of devices left the ability to synchronize with FireWire behind with the third generation hard-drive based iPod.

Of potential issue with a change in dock connector is accessory compatibility. The 30-pin dock connector has become ubiquitous with the "made for iPod" program started nearly a half-decade ago. There are persistent rumors of Apple-supplied adapters, but the compatibility of the devices with existing peripherals remains in question, at least until the announcement.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-20-01

    The real news here would have been if there was any sign that the new cable WASN'T pushing data at USB 3.0 speeds.

  1. Inkling

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 07-25-06

    I have little doubt the new connector using USB 3.0. Apple stalled a bit adopting the new standard, but there are excellent reasons for making device synching as fast as possible.

    I see that with my iPhone 3g, iPhone 3GS and new iPad. I don't know what Apple does differently with each, but it matters. The first synchs dreadfully slow. The second is tolerable. The third is impressively fast for all but updates of giant apps such as Star Walk. A faster synch means a much better user experience. No one needed to head off for work wants to wait and wait for an update.

    I just hope that, with USB 3.0, Apple also makes their mobile gadgets work with more devices that attach via USB. It's be great to put a movie or a business presentation on a flash drive and play it from there on an iPhone or, perhaps via a large screen, with an iPad or a MacBook Pro.

    Like a lot of others, one of my chief frustrations with iOS are the numerous ways it comes up lacking in comparison to what can be done with a conventional operating system such as OS X.

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