It was reported that Apple signed a deal with integrated-circuit design house Genesys Logic for the USB 3.0 card reader controller chips. This only suggests that the Cupertino-based company has plans of adopting the third-generation USB for its MacBook lineup, in addition to Thunderbolt.
The manufacturer will provide the USB 3.0 chips for Apple’s next-generation MacBook Air, which is rumored to be released on the second half of this year. In relation to this, it was reported that shipment for the controller chips will kick off this year. This is in line with Intel’s launch of its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors.
Genesys Logic Introduces GL3220 Card Reader Controller
The integrated-circuit design house manufactures the GL3220 Card Reader Controller, which is a USB 3.0 compliant chip. It can support various types of memory card such as CompactFlash, Secure DigitalTM, SDHC, miniSD, microSD and many more. It is also compatible with high-density memory card with capacity of up to 2 Terabytes, including SDXC and Memory Stick XC.
As posted on Genesys Logic website:
“The GL3220 integrates high-speed 8051 microprocessor and a high efficiency hardware engine for the best data transfer performance between USB and various memory card interfaces. It supports ISP (In System Programming) for firmware upgrade from the external SPI Flash via USB port. It also integrates 5V to 3.3V to 1.2V regulators and power MOSFETs which can reduce the system BOM cost.”
USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt as Complementary Technologies
The rumored deal between Apple and Genesys Logic suggests that the MacBook maker has plans of adding a USB 3.0 support for its future ultra-thin notebooks. A USB 3.0 chip makes it an ideal addition to MacBook Air since its 13-inch model includes a dedicated SD card reader. The card reader controller enables a system’s internal SD card slot to connect to its onboard USB 3.0 controllers.
Last year, the company launched its first Macs with the high-speed Thunderbolt port, which they co-designed with Intel. The chip maker views it and USB 3.0 as complimentary technologies that can support Ivy Bridge processors.
Last September 2011, it was rumored that Apple was inspecting whether their Mac hardware can support USB 3.0. The company has a granted patent which indicates that they’ve looked into USB 3.0 support for their dock connector. However, the company’s inclusion of Thunderbolt to their machine has hampered the talks about the third-generation USB.
This technology offers up to 5 Gbps of speed. It is also said to be backward compatible with previous generation of devices, although it is yet to see widespread adoption.
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