Apple, Macbook Pro 2016 will have the TouchID and 3 USB-C ports?

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Lighter and thinner, with fingerprint release and an Oled bar instead of function keys (F1 to F12)

Apple should shortly announce the new line of the Macbook Pro 2016, which is coming out in the last quarter of the year. The two older brothers of the Macbook, 13 and 15 inches, should have two big news: the integration of the TouchID and the use of a touch bar OLED to replace the function keys. As reported by Hypebeast who resumed a indiscretion published by Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the most reliable and closest analysts to Foxconn – the Chinese supplier of Apple – the new laptops will be completely revised to make them thinner and lighter thanks to the use of new hinges made with metal injection molds.

In new laptops it will be possible to unlock the laptop with the fingerprint, just as we do with the IPhone, in one of the first examples of fingerprint recognition installed inside the touchpad. Also another step forward is the removal of the 12 keys above the row of numbers (F1 to F12) used so far to activate shortcuts in the operating system, but fallen now in disuse in favor of shortcuts.

In their place Apple should introduce a touchbar with OLED display that encloses some of the main commands of the notebook such as turning on or off the volume, the key to activate the Wi-Fi and so on. From the performance standpoint is confirmed the retina display and the Force Touch, while there should be the introduction of the new Intel chips, Skylake, and the switching to 3 USB-C Vs USB 3 surpassing the single input so much criticized in the Macbook. Who knows that Apple does not decide to unveil some more details in the next keynote scheduled on June 13th.

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The new MacBook Pro without USB 3, HDMI and SD ports?

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A new day, a new rumor. Apple could remove USB 3.0, HDMI and SD ports on its MacBook unveiled next Thursday

 

Apple could remove the USB, HDMI and SD ports of future MacBook Pro. A half-surprising decision that may make your teeth cringe … This would not be the first time that the Apple brand would remove a technology that was still massively used; One remembers the floppy drive, CD SuperDrive, FireWire and of course the iphone 7 Jack Port.

 

This rumor comes from the specialized site “MacRumors”, they specify that the ports would all be replaced by USB-C. So the unique port that Steve Jobs wanted so much would be a reality. Remains that with such a strategy of rupture, the transition period will be very complicated. Notice to interested parties, prepare to carry many adapters …

 

The USB Type-C has been present for more than two years, it is not yet widely democratized. There is no example that few compatible mice. Once again, Apple will be the hallmark of the rupture, remains whether the consumer would respond favourably to this change. Answer in 48 hours.

Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, USB 3.1: What you need to know

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The computer connection is in full upheaval. A few months after the infancy of the USB-C and the USB 3.1, Intel has unveiled the Thunderbolt 3 … which uses the USB-C connector and encompasses the USB 3.1. Is it already confusing? This is just the beginning. We are focusing on these technologies that are being brought to the next standards.

 

USB Type-C connector (USB-C)

 

Reversible, tiny, that makes “click” when you plug it in. No, we are not talking about the Lightning connector of the iphone and the ipad, but of the USB type-C. The commonalities between the two are not fortuitous, Apple has largely influenced the creation of the new USB connector.

 

With a thickness of 2.6 mm and a length of 8.4 mm, the USB type-C (which is shortened to USB-C) has been designed to replace the other types of USB connectors that have made their time.

 

The USB type-A, the most common in computers (hence the fact that it is sometimes referred to as the “standard” USB), is relatively imposing at the time when laptops are increasingly fine. The USB micro-B (or “micro-USB”), the one that equips all the smartphones except the iphone, is small but inconvenient and fragile. You never know which way to connect the cable. In short, the USB-C is the solution to all these problems.

 

A solution all the more interesting that this new connector can do much more than its predecessors. As already explained in a previous article, it supports the USB power Delivery 2.0 standard (it can deliver a maximum power of 100 W, what to power any laptop), the USB alternate mode (it can pass a DisplayPort 1.2 signal) and the USB 3.1, which dramatically increases the throughputs compared to the usb2.0.

 

This support for USB 3.1, as welcome as it may be, causes some confusion. Because the USB-C and the USB 3.1 have arrived at the same time, this may lead to the idea that both are inseparable, but this is not the case. USB-C is not necessarily synonymous with USB 3.1.

 

The most telling example is certainly the USB-C cable sold by Apple (€35). It uses a USB-C connector at each end, but only supports the USB 2.0 standard. During a transfer, the 480 Mbit/s cannot be exceeded. The Anker accessory manufacturer will, it, release a USB-C cable to USB-a limited to USB 2.0. In the future, however, USB 3.1 should be imposed. Finally, it remains to be known which …

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The USB protocol 3.1 (Gen 1 and Gen 2)

 

Indeed, there is not a USB 3.1, but two. There is the USB 3.1 Gen 1 and the USB 3.1 Gen 2. The first allows a maximum throughput of 5 Gbit/s, while the second doubles the throughput to reach up to 10 Gbit/s. In fact, the body in charge of USB standardization decided that the USB 3.1 Gen 1 was the new name of the USB 3.0.

 

The MacBook 12″ is equipped with a USB-C port supporting USB 3.1 Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps, therefore).
It’s more complicated than the mention of “USB 2.0 port” that was used not so long ago to describe the connection of a Mac and that did not leave room for (almost) no doubt about the performance and type of connector, but it will have to be done.

 

Not to mention that there is another subtlety; The USB 3.1 (Gen 1 as Gen 2) also works with the USB-a connector. It is therefore quite possible that a data transfer made with the USB-a connector is faster than with new USB-C hardware, because the first one would support the USB 3.1 Gen 2 and not the second. It will therefore be necessary to scrutinize the technical data sheet of the products before moving on to the cashier, on pain of finding itself bridled.

 

Thunderbolt 3, which encompasses USB-C, USB 3.1 and other protocols

 

Above all this, the Thunderbolt 3 arrives. But it is already worth remembering what the Thunderbolt is at the base. Created by Intel and Apple, it is a highly efficient multi-protocol connection that allows you to chain devices.

 

Its first generation, inaugurated in 2011 with the MacBook Pro 15, allows a maximum throughput of 10 Gbit/s for data Transfer (PCI Express protocol) and the management of a screen 2 560 x 1 600 to 60 Hz (DisplayPort 1.1 protocol). Two years later, the Thunderbolt 2 multiplies the data transfer rate by two and opens up to 4 K screens thanks to the support of the DisplayPort 1.2. These two generations use a mini DisplayPort connector.
The Thunderbolt 3, which has just been announced and which will point the end of its connector at the end of the year, allows to do more, and not just a little bit. The maximum flow rate is increased to 40 Gbit/s. With this double bandwidth, it allows you to manage two 4 K monitors at 60 Hz or a 5 K multi panel display with a single cable (always with the DisplayPort 1.2). The 5 k monitors composed of a single panel will not be compatible on the other hand, fault with the lack of support for DisplayPort 1.3. But a screen like The Dell UP2715K, which is made up of two panels 2560 x 1440 pixels set side by side, should be managed a priori.
All this is already very appreciable, but the biggest novelty of Thunderbolt 3, it is undoubtedly its use of the USB-C connector with the support of USB 3.1 (Gen 1 and 2). In other words, when a USB-c/3.1 device is plugged into the Thunderbolt 3 port, it will work.
The ability to deliver a maximum power of 100 W is also supported. So we can recharge a portable Mac with its Thunderbolt Port 3.
With adapters, you can even use the HDMI 2.0 (4 K screen at 60 Hz) and 10 Gbit/s Ethernet. At the end of the day, Thunderbolt 3 is the universal connection that has been waiting for so many years.
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The subtleties of Thunderbolt 3
While the first two generations of Thunderbolts require active cables, which contain a controller and other chips, the Thunderbolt 3 works with passive cables, less sophisticated and therefore cheaper … but limiting the throughput to 20 Gbit/s.
There will actually be two different types of Thunderbolt 3 cables:
Active cables, supporting Thunderbolt up to 40 Gbit/s and USB 3.1
Passive, less expensive cables supporting Thunderbolt up to 20 Gbit/s, USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2
It is also necessary to mention the optical cables, planned in a second time, which will be distinguished by their length (up to 60 meters, against 2 meters for the others).
For a computer to be able to support Thunderbolt 3, it will need the Alpine Ridge Controller. Given the release period — the end of the year — concurrent with Thunderbolt 3 with the next generation of Intel processors, the issue of its exclusive integration with Skylake has arisen. Intel finally indicated that Alpine Ridge was a stand-alone chip. Manufacturers will therefore have the option to add Thunderbolt 3 compatibility without changing the Broadwell processor (the current generation).
For the power supply, the 100 W only applies to the load. Otherwise, for bus-powered appliances, it is 15 W. This means that you will not be able to power a large external graphics card or some “heavy” raid systems with just a Thunderbolt 3 cable.
What about the Thunderbolt 3 in the Macs?
What’s apple going to do with Thunderbolt 3? Questioned by Ars Technica, a spokesperson a — unsurprisingly — kicked in touch: “We are not talking about possible things to come.”
Therefore, we can only speculate on what awaits us in the coming months. It will not have escaped anyone that two products that make intensive use of Thunderbolt have not been updated for a long time.
The first one is the Thunderbolt display. It was launched in 2011 and has not evolved since (aside from its price which increased from €150 in March). result, it is exceeded technically: definition of only 2 560 x 1 440 pixels, 1st generation Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 ports.
Thunderbolt 3 opens up a very interesting outlook for the next version (if there is one). Of course, you can imagine a 4 K screen, or even 5 K (5 120 x 2 880), like the retina imac. The hub aspect would be put to the liking of the day with USB-C/3.1 ports.
The Mac Pro has not been renewed since late 2013, while newer processors and graphics cards have been available for months. Apple may be waiting for the Thunderbolt 3 to update it. The Thunderbolt occupies a central place in the Mac Pro that puts all the above to extend its capabilities. The transition to the third generation is therefore a planned and logical evolution.
Logically, it would also be in the MacBook Pro. It was this machine that inaugurated the first generation thunderbolt in 2011 and then the Thunderbolt 2 in 2013. Thunderbolt 3 ports would replace most of the current ports advantageously.
However, unlike the MacBook, you should not expect a drastic slimming cure thanks to the USB-C connector. With its core i5 or i7 processor (and a dedicated graphics card for the most expensive model), the MacBook Pro absolutely needs a fan, which limits a possible reduction in its thickness.
The MacBook, it, has already made a part of the way, since it integrates a USB-C port. But in its current version, it will not be able to enjoy the Thunderbolt 3. It only supports USB 3.1 (Gen 1) and does not have the famous Alpine Ridge controller required for Thunderbolt 3.
It is important to understand that if the Thunderbolt 3 integrates the USB 3.1, the reverse is not true. A USB 3.1 device plugged into a Thunderbolt 3 port will work. A Thunderbolt 3 device plugged into a USB 3.1 port will not work. The products and the Thunderbolt Connector will be recognizable by their lightning-flash logo.
Is the lack of Thunderbolt 3 on the first generation MacBook a hard blow? Not necessarily. Of course, one would not complain about having more functions if they were there. “Who can do the most, may the least,” as they say.
But in the case of the MacBook, Thunderbolt 3 is not necessarily a relevant technology. The MacBook Pro 15 with dedicated graphics card already barely manages a 5 K screen (it is connected with two Thunderbolt 2 cables). It’s not with his integrated graphics card that the MacBook would do the trick.
The compatibility with the first two generations of thunderbolt (with an adapter) is interesting, but then again, the MacBook is not the most suitable machine to take advantage of Thunderbolt devices that are for most professional products.
Moreover, Intel still introduces the Thunderbolt 3 as a thought-for-productivity connection (it could also translate “productivity” to “performance”). The USB will remain the most common solution for the general public, the market to which the MacBook is directed.
For this reason, we may think that Apple will not immediately embed the Thunderbolt 3 in all its machines. As much as the Thunderbolt 3 seems almost inevitable in the next Mac Pro and MacBook Pro, it’s much less obvious for the MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air is now becoming the new non-retina MacBook Pro 13: An affordable machine that has a foothold in the past. It still does not have a Retina display and was not entitled to the Force Touch trackpad during the spring update. Moreover, it was only this year that he passed to Thunderbolt 2. If Apple continues in the same way, it will not have Thunderbolt 3 on its next renewal.
As for the adoption of Thunderbolt 3 on the PC market, which has remained hermetic to the first two generations, the fact that it uses the USB-C connector could make things easier, but there are still barriers to the extra cost for controllers and the very restrictive license program of Intel.

Switching from USB 2.0 OTG to USB Type-C

By working through the over 100 pages of the USB Type C specification, it can seem like an almost indomitable task, especially since the type C spec takes on more specifications such as USB power delivery (PD) with again over 500 pages reference. Electronics industry describes the minimum requirements developers must meet when converting a USB 2.0 OTG product to a USB-type-C compliant product.

 

Cables, sockets and connectors are designed for USB type-C to be more robust and user-friendly than current USB cables (micro-A, type-A and type-B). Currently, type a connectors can only be inserted into a type a socket in one position. It is different with type C connectors that fit into the corresponding sockets in both orientations. This rather simple modification avoids frustrations when trying to plug a USB connector into a USB port in a wrong position.

 

USB products are getting more and more power from Vbus, and there is also a desire for shorter loading times. The USB Type C standard is therefore geared to the performance requirements of today’s products and also supports the requirements to the future. However, to take advantage of the benefits of USB Type-C, companies need to upgrade their existing products to meet the requirements of the Type C standard. This changeover process can be a challenging task, but it is easier to access the information contained in this post.

 

USB 2.0 OTG

 

A product with an interface of type USB 2.0 OTG is a portable device (for example, a mobile phone or a tablet) that can be used as a USB host or USB peripheral. All USB 2.0 OTG products must be equipped with a micro-A/b jack. A product that implements USB 2.0 OTG determines its respective role based on the state of the ID pin. If the ID pin is on ground potential (GND), the OTG product acts as a USB host and provides vbus to the connected USB peripheral. In the other case, the OTG device works as a USB peripheral.

 

Table 1 shows the connection assignments of the socket and the plug. The ID pin of the connector is either ground or it remains not to select the host or peripheral.

 

If a device works as a USB periphery, the portable USB 2.0 OTG product monitors the Vbus line. This can determine whether it is connected to a USB host or an external charger, such as a mobile phone to a power supply. With USB battery charging (BC 1.2) or any other suitable method, a portable product has the ability to request more than the 2.5 W predetermined by USB 2.0 to achieve shorter loading times.

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USB Type-C

 

The USB Type C specification defines a plug-in socket with the corresponding cable in such a way that the user does not have to pay attention to the orientation of the plug when plugged in (Figure 1). The cable used may have a Type C connector on both ends, or it will have a USB connector of an older type (micro-A, type-a, or type-B, and others) at one end. To be equipped for applications with larger bandwidths, the USB Type C specification complements the plug-in connection with several USB-3.1 pairs.

 

A fully wired type C cable supports both USB 2.0 and USB 3.1. However, when upgrading a USB 2.0 OTG product to a Type C product, the USB-3.1 signals are not required. Instead, these signals should be left not (electrically insulated) on the printed circuit board. Therefore, in Figure 3, the contacts belonging to USB 3.1 are provided with a type C socket with the name NC (no connection).

 

The connection assignment in Figure 2 shows two pairs with contacts of the types D +-and D-. However, this does not mean that there are two independent USB 2.0 paths, because a type C cable only has one line for D + and D-. However, the provision of two contact pairs for these two lines ensures that the plug can be inserted in both layers. For this reason, both wires (d + and D-) should be connected to the printed circuit board. The connection of these contacts on a printed circuit board inevitably results in a puncture line. Developers must make sure that the length of this stitch line does not exceed 2.5 mm, otherwise there may be a problem with the USB 2.0 interface.
Striking is the lack of the ID pin on the USB type-C connector. The choice between host and peripheral functionality is handled differently in type-C. Whether it is a host or a peripheral device, the system uses the CC (channel configuration) pins to determine cc1 and CC2, switching between pull-up and pull-down resistance at a given interval. Whether a device is given the definition “host” or “periphery” depends on the voltage level that is present after a given time on the CC pins.
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Dual-Role Port type-C
In the Type C ecosystem, the USB 2.0 OTG device is named dual-role-port (DRP). A DRP is a device that can function either as a USB host or as a USB peripheral. In Type C terminology, a USB host is referred to as a downstream facing port (DFP), but a USB peripheral is considered an upstream-facing port (UFP).
When choosing between DFP and UFP, a DRP device must switch between the DFP and UFP roles until a connection can be established. Figure 4 Replays the operating principle of a DRP according to the USB Type C specification.
While a DFP has a pull-up resistor (RP), there is a pull-down resistor (RD) on the UFP. As shown in Figure 4, RP and Rd are controlled by a switch to CC1/CC2. When connecting to a selected RP, the DRP device behaves like a DFP (host) and provides vbus to the connected peripheral. However, if the connection is made with selected Rd, the DRP device behaves like a UFP (peripheral) and monitors vbus to establish a data connection and/or to supply the own circuits with power.
It is also possible that a user has two DRP-capable devices together. It is possible that one of the devices is able to act as a host or periphery. For example, a mobile phone and a tablet can both be DRP-capable. However, if they are both connected, the mobile phone becomes the peripheral and the tablet to the host. It should not happen that the mobile phone becomes the host for the tablet and supplies it with Vbus. The phone should not charge the tablet.
Preferred roller for Type C
The Type C specification therefore provides optional paths for the DRP that a device can use to specify a particular preference role. These option paths carry the labels try. Src and try. SNK. In the case of portable devices, it is important that these two optional features are implemented. In a tablet, the implementation of try. SRC can be desirable so that it becomes the host when connecting to another DRP device. For a mobile phone, the implementation of try. SNK is useful so that it can work as a peripheral when connected to another DRP device.
A VCONN switch can also be seen in Figure 4. VCONN (5 V with at least 1 W) is intended for the supply of cables with active circuits. In type C parlance, these are called “active cables”. Typically, VCONN is used to supply a USB-3.1-to-the-wire-integrated device. However, VCONN is not required for products that support only USB 2.0.
However, at the end of this post, try. SNK has not yet been released as an engineering change notice (ECN) for the USB type-C 1.1 specification.
Single Chip Solution
One way to convert a USB 2.0 OTG product with a micro-A/b plug-in socket on a Type C connector is to use the TUSB32X product series from Texas Instruments. Depending on the state of a PIN or the value in an I ² c register, this product family can act as UFP, DFP or DRP. TI’s building blocks assume all aspects of the type C connection process. You provide an ID pin that mimics the behavior of the ID pins on the micro-A/b connector. This allows the function to be set as host or peripheral without difficulty. When connected as peripheral, the TUSB32x family signals the Vbus current supplied by the connected host via I ² c registers or Gpio pins. On the other hand, when connecting as a host, the available Vbus current is signalled to the connected peripheral.