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Apple's Jobs: No Plans For USB 3.0 On Macs

Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote a brief reply to an e-mail asking why Macs do not offer USB 3.0 connectivity. Jobs cited Intel's lack of support for the technology -- which Intel denies.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday dispelled rumors that Apple is planning to adopt USB 3.0 for its Mac computers. He then proceeded to point the finger at chip maker Intel.

When a potential Apple customer e-mailed Jobs and asked why there were no Mac computers with USB 3.0 currently available, Jobs replied "We don't see USB 3.0 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example," according to the Apple blog 9 to 5 Mac.

Jobs' answer suggests that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple could get behind the platform once Intel adopts it. USB 3.0 offers a theoretical 10X jump over current USB 2.0 speed and can handle data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps.

Intel's relative slowness in offering USB 3.0 support has to do with its adoption of Light Peak, an optical cable interface designed to connect devices in a peripheral bus. Light Peak would offer a single universal replacement for current buses including the USB line. However, Intel denies any role as an impediment to Mac users obtaining USB 3.0.

"Intel is indeed supportive of USB 3.0," an Intel spokesperson told CRN. The spokesperson declined to comment on Steve Jobs's statement.

Next: Intel's Long-Term Plans


Details have slowly emerged regarding Intel's plans for the fiber-optic, backwards-compatible USB 3.0 technology. According to Digitimes, Intel is planning to offer 22nm CPUs with native support for USB 3.0 in 2012. This means USB 3.0 technology will be baked into Intel's upcoming processor line, code-named Chief River, which is set to begin production next year.

Based on the upcoming Ivy Bridge architecture, Chief River will replace the Huron River line of processors designed for notebooks. Apple's successful iPhone and iPad do not feature an Intel chip. They run on the ARM-based A4 chip, which Apple manufactures itself, instead.

In August, Intel acquired Infineon Wireless Solutions, whose chips, conversely, are featured inside the iPhone. The company has announced plans to add mobile capability, as well as graphics processing, to select chipsets. It may now be doing the same with connectivity options.

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