USB continues to be the standard for transferring data and power between devices over a cable, even though the physical ports keep changing. USB4 Version 2.0 has been announced, and its own another significant boost for USB devices.
The USB Promoter Group, a consortium of companies including Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, among others, announced the pending release of the USB4 Version 2.0 specification. The update wont be finalized sometime before November, so dont be prepared to see PCs along with other devices with USB4 Version 2.0 prior to the end of the entire year.
Data speeds will be the main improvement these times, exactly like with most USB updates. The utmost speed is currently 80 Gbps, because of a fresh physical layer architecture, that is likely to be appropriate for 40 Gbps existing cables. Thats faster than Thunderbolt, which maxes out at 40 Gbps across both Thunderbolt 3 (which USB4 is founded on) and Thunderbolt 4. Which could result in improved external GPUs along with other hardware that will require an ultra-fast data connection.
The brand new standard, at the very least on paper, might provide a speed boost with older hardware aswell. Devices using USB 3.2 can only just reach 20 Gbps at most, but data tunneling updates in USB4 Version 2 will boost that to raised (unspecified) speeds. USB4 Version 2 also supports the most recent versions of the DisplayPort and PCIe specifications, and is fully backwards appropriate for older USB standards and Thunderbolt 3.
Unfortunately, the USB Promoter Group is still using confusing names for new standards. Its nearly as ridiculous as previous updates, where older standards were retroactively renamed (e.g. USB 3.0 became USB 3.1 Gen 1, then USB 3.2 Gen 1), but theres no reason USB4 Version 2.0 couldnt have already been USB 5. The USB Group hasnt finalized branding and marketing guidelines for certified 80 Gbps products and cables.
Despite the fact that most devices need 80 Gbps data speeds at this time (or 40 Gbps, for example), its great to see USB are more future-proof. Intel can be focusing on Thunderbolt 5, which leaks indicate may also offer 80 Gbps speeds with an identical physical layer (PHY) connection. Its likely Intel is looking forward to USB4 Version 2.0 to be finalized before revealing Thunderbolt 5, therefore the two could be fully compatible.