You’ve probably noticed something called “USB 3.2” has been stealing headlines off your RSS feed. That’s because the USB 3.0 Promoter Group — whose notable members include Apple, Microsoft, HP and Intel — just announced its pending release. What is it? USB 3.2 is an incremental update that promises really fast transfer speeds through the USB Type-C port. The current benchmark, USB 3.1, transfers data at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). When USB 3.2 arrives, it’ll double that to 20Gbps. For professional photographers transferring thousands of high-res photos, this technology will save them a lot of time.
Additionally, USB 3.2 will be able to deliver multiple lanes of data transferred at the same time (this is called “multi-lane operation”). According to the press release, new USB 3.2 hosts and devices will allow “for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation.” Basically, you’ll be able to upload and download things (photos, videos, music files) from your laptop to an external hard drive at the same time, using the same cord — no more waiting for one to finish first.
USB 3.2 will work with all existing USB Type-C cables. However, in order to take full advantage of its high speeds those cables will need to be connected to devices that support USB 3.2 — which won’t come super soon. According to CNET‘s Stephen Shankland, USB 3.2-enabled devices won’t come to market for at least 12 to 18 months. So, if you were hoping for the iPhone 8 or next Google Pixel to support USB 3.2 (assuming they both have USB-C ports)…think again.