USB is one of the great innovations that has come to modern computing. If you are old enough you probably remember all of the different ports that used to be on the back of a computer. The parallel port and the serial port were needed so that you could hook up all of your devices but you had to secure the cable by screwing it in and then you had to install the software that went with the device before using it. USB has made that unnecessary and the next generation of USB, USB4 is on the way.

Universal Serial Bus

Universal Serial Bus technology or USB was released in 1996 and was designed not only to connect peripherals to a computer but to also supply electrical power to them. The USB interface was also self-configuring so no user configuration is needed, the device is ready to go when you plug it in. No more floppy disks or CDs are needed to install drivers or software to get the device working in most cases. USB devices can also use any USB port that is available. It is almost as important an innovation as that of the Internet itself.

This obviously made it easier for users but it also made it easier for device manufacturers as standardization made device construction easier. USB can be found with nearly every device in use today, from a keyboard and mouse to your printer to an external hard drive to your smartphone and more. It is hard to imagine life without it. It is also backwards compatible, so older USB technology can be used with newer USB technology. 

Despite its few limitations, it could be about as close to the perfect technology as you can find.


It was announced in early September that USB4 is ready to be released to the public. When USB1 was first released it was able to transfer about 1.5 mbps, certainly fast for 1996 but glacially slow today. USB4 promises speeds of up to 40 gbps. It is also anticipated that USB ports will be able to be incorporated into more places like cars, power strips and other electronic devices. Consumers could now always have a USB port nearby as USB4 may eliminate USB-A and USB-C ports and combine them into one, USB-IF.

Now of course USB4 will not be incorporated into any technology that is currently on the market. Device manufacturers will need to work to incorporate this technology into their current offerings and that will take time. It will take at least a year and a half for this to hit the consumer market, so the Christmas season of 2020 would be the absolute earliest that this technology would be available to the general public. This will allow more manufacturers to integrate it into their technology, which could make for a very interesting holiday season next year for techies.

When it is available it will be a great new piece of technology that will make our lives easier. Isn’t that what technology is for? Our computers haven’t been the same since USB was first integrated and with USB4 that continues. Speed and convenience are key and USB4 is bringing that to the table. Who knows what is next?

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