USB-IF Confusingly Merges USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Under New USB 3.2 Branding
The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), this week announced a rebranding of the USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 specifications, under the USB 3.2 specification. As outlined by Tom's Hardware, USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 will now be considered previous generations of the USB 3.2 specification.
Going forward, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (transfer speeds up to 5Gb/s), which used to be USB 3.0 prior to a separate rebranding, will be called USB 3.2 Gen 1, while USB 3.1 Gen 2 (transfer speeds up to 10Gb/s) will now be known as USB 3.2 Gen 2.
What used to be considered USB 3.2 will now be USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 because if offers twice the throughput speeds of USB 3.1 Gen 2, now USB 3.2 Gen 2. If that sounds confusing to you, you're not alone. Tom's Hardware made this handy chart that shows the new branding scheme compared to the older branding.
If the swap between USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 to USB 3.2 wasn't confusing enough, each of these specifications also has a marketing term. The new USB 3.2 Gen 1 with transfer speeds up to 5Gb/s is SuperSpeed USB, while USB 3.2 Gen 2 with transfer speeds up to 10Gb/s is known as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps. The USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification with transfer speeds up to 20Gb/s is known as SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps.
Introduced in 2017, USB 3.2 (now USB 3.2 Gen 2x2) uses two 10Gb/s channels for a total data transfer rate of 20Gb/s, a feature limited to USB-C cables because USB-C cables support multi-lane operations.
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 devices aren't out in the wild yet, and it's not yet clear when the first ones will arrive. Apple is often an early adopter of new USB technology and USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 could potentially be supported by the next-generation Macs.