Today the USB promoter group announced USB 4.0 and outlined its new capabilities. And following on from yesterday’s news of the iPhone 14’s pill-shaped display cutout, more details have emerged that outline how that portion of the display will be used.

USB 4 v2.0

The USB promoter group, made up of companies including Apple, Intel, Microsoft and others, have announced USB 4 version two. The new standard offers double the bandwidth compared to USB 4 version one. For context, version one provided a bandwidth of 40 Gbps. Version two offers a massive 80 Gbps. The performance exceeds Thunderbolt 4 which was also capped at 40 Gbps.

One of the huge benefits of the USB standard is its commitment to backwards compatibility. The new standard maintains this and is backwards compatible with USB 1, 2.0, 3.2 and USB 4.

Version 2.0’s shockingly fast speeds are attributed to a new physical layer architecture that has been added to USB4. As a result, version 2.0 uses the existing 40 Gbps passive cables built into USB4 Type-C and adds newly-defined 80Gbps USB Type-C active cables to reach that 80 Gbps mark.

Tom’s Hardware

It will be some time before we start to see consumer devices ship with the new standard, likely in 3-6 months. Though with major players such as Apple involved in the standard, it’s possible we could see some devices as soon as this year.

iPhone 14 Pill

As shared yesterday, the iPhone 14 Pro will feature two display cutouts that will be digitally merged with software. However, we now have some more details that might indicate how Apple intends to optimise for this new display.

We’ve seen many rumours pointing to Apple adopting a hole punch for the FaceTime Camera and a pill shape for the TrueDepth camera system. This will replace the notch. However, this creates asymmetry. Apple will solve for this by turning off the pixels between the hole punch and pill. But it seems Apple isn’t going to waste those precious pixels.

As reported by Macrumors, Apple will allegedly use the gap between the hole punch and pill-shaped cutouts to display privacy and camera indicators. For example, when the camera is active, much like a Mac, users will see a bright green dot between the cutouts.

The privacy indicators will allegedly use HDR technology to brighten those specific pixels when active. That should make it easier to see them in bright sunlight or other types of harsh lighting conditions.

The AppleTLDR take

I’m starting to feel confident in these rumours. The more and more I think about this solution and the details that have emerged in recent days, the more sense it makes. It almost seems like an obvious and necessary evolution of the iconic notch design. These are still rumours of course. But if Apple is indeed going in this direction, I wouldn’t be mad about it.

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