Recently we just talked about the USB 3.0 specification that is going to be released in early next year. And now there seems to be a preliminary physical connector shape being disclosed during the recent IDF (Intel Developer Forum). During the event, there were few plugs and receptacles connector design being showcased by a team of USB 3.0 Promoters.
The USB 3.0 is supposed to be backward compatible with existing USB 2.0 specification devices in the market. So, in terms of internal pin layout, it should be pin to pin compatible to its predecessor products. However, since the actual throughput will be 10 times faster than current USB 2.0, there will be some high speed design specification being complied before it is ready to be released for commercial market. In view of this high speed requirement, there is a plan to replace conventional cable type with optical fiber for gigabyte (in this case of 4.8GB) data transmission. With the replacement of optical fiber, the length of cable is able to be extended due to the nature of how optical signal travels in the fiber line.
Nothing is firmed out at this moment. But the initial reveal of the actual shape has indicated a good sign that the product can be designed and made available soon after the specification release.