As far as USB 2.0 support for the Mac, Apple still hasn’t confirmed any plans to officially support it. Most likely Macs will, sooner or later, offer USB 2.0 and FireWire ports. Meanwhile, support for USB 2.0 will be possible — under Mac OS X, according to Keyspan President Mike Ridenhour. He suspects that USB 2.0 drivers will be available for the next generation operating system.
“We’re not interested in writing our own Mac drivers for USB 2.0,” Ridenhour told MacCentral. “Apple will probably put support for it in OS X. However, USB 2.0 can’t be done for Mac OS 9 without Apple’s support.”
Apple has chosen FireWire as its high-speed peripheral interface of choice, but much of the rest of the industry is moving toward USB 2.0 for high-speed hardware connections. USB 2.0 outperforms the older USB 1.1 — presently being used on Macintosh products — by running up to 480 megabits per second compared to the standard 12 Mbits/s. However, FireWire already operates at 400 Mbps and is expected to reach 800 Mbps and 1600 Mbps.
Meanwhile, Keyspan is also eyeing Bluetooth for the Mac. Bluetooth
operates differently than Apple’s AirPort
— data from a notebook or other portable device can be sent by radio to a cell phone, which can then transmit the data.
Apple’s AirPort uses the 802.11B standard. Devices using this standard include an antenna that connects over the air to a transceiver, or base station, attached to a corporate network at speeds up to 11 megabits per second (mbps). The operating range is approximately 150 feet under optimum conditions.
“The jury is still out on whether Bluetooth will be successful,” Ridenhour said. “But we’re betting that it will be big. It may take 3-5 years to become big, but we think we can make money with Bluetooth products next year.”
Keyspan is now working on bringing Bluetooth stacks to the Mac. Right now there’s “nothing at all” for the platform, Ridenhour said.
“The idea is to be able to offer Bluetooth to existing Macs whether it’s through a USB device, serial adapter, or PCI card,” he added. “We started working on this a couple of months ago, and we’ll see whether and when it turns into something tangible.”
Predications are that 20 percent of all cell phones sold this year will be Bluetooth enabled. If that forecast turns out to be true, that means there’ll be 80 million Bluetooth phones before 2002 arrives.
“Bluetooth devices are becoming more and more available and Mac users will want to use them,” Ridenhour said.
Keyspan’s USB 2.0 and Bluetooth plans are further examples of the company’s expansion into new areas. It has also made some inroads into the Linux market. For instance, the company has USB drivers as part of the recently released Linux 2.4
For more info on Apple and USB 2.0, see our previous stories:
Market research firm says that USB “will soon” dominate
More on USB 2.0 versus FireWire