Revamped MacBook Pro could get supercharged USB ports

MacBook Pro

Clues found in the beta version of macOS Sierra point to upcoming Macs including support for faster connectivity in the form of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports.

9 to 5 Mac spotted text strings in macOS Sierra that mention SuperSpeed Plus, which is what USB 3.1 Gen 2 is also called – it's a step up from plain SuperSpeed or USB 3.1 Gen 1 as supported by current MacBooks.

Indeed, USB 3.1 Gen 1 offers the same top speed as USB 3.0 (5Gbps) whereas Gen 2 actually doubles that up to an impressive 10Gbps.

So there's a good chance that the incoming (and long-awaited) MacBook Pro refresh and indeed possibly the new iMac which could also arrive later this year might benefit from these much faster USB ports. And as 9 to 5 Mac further notes, this could mean we see Thunderbolt 3 pop up on the MacBook Pro later this year.

Feeling the benefit

All of this is good news for those who want to hook up the likes of this external GPU we highlighted yesterday to their Apple notebook, and gain the full benefit of Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth.

Current rumors point to the MacBook Pro getting an OLED bar to replace the function keys and offer context sensitive 'virtual' touchscreen buttons. There have also been rumors of a detachable touchscreen, Surface Book style, but that's one of the more outlandish pieces of speculation.

Whatever the new MacBook Pro gets, the main thing is it needs a refresh, as it's been some time since the range has seen any attention.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).