Even as USB 3.0 becomes more common on motherboards and on external devices, Intel remains hesitant on providing native support on its chipsets. Though desktop motherboards that launch alongside the Sand Bridge platform early next year will all include the interface, the latest buzz is suggesting that notebook users will be left with USB 2.0 until 2012.
Digitimes is reporting that the chip-giant recently briefed its partners on the Chief River platform that will accompany the Ivy Bridge mobile CPUs. This is of course the 22nm die-shrink of the Sandy Bridge architecture that will launch soon for desktops and early next year for notebooks. Little was previously known about the Chief River platform, though the source is reporting that mass production will begin in September 2011 with product launches occurring in January 2012 - probably around CES.
This is obviously bad news for anyone holding out hope for a USB 3.0-ready Huron River laptop in the new year, though a lack of native support hasn't stopped some manufacturers from including third-party controllers in the past. However, it's likely to be very bad news for anyone hoping to buy a USB 3.0-ready Mac.
According to 9to5Mac, when a reader e-mailed Steve Jobs to enquire about why he couldn't buy an Apple computer with the interface, he received the reply, "we don't see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example". While this isn't definitive, it seems likely - assuming Apple continues to use Intel CPUs - that Macs sporting USB 3.0 won't be a reality until the chip-supplier starts including native support in its mobile chipsets.