USB Type-C ports may support USB 3.1, 3.0, or even USB 2.0, so just because you see a new port doesn't mean it can transfer data at high speeds or deliver 100W of power. When you see the term USB 3.1 Gen 1, it's just a fancy name for USB 3.0, which can deliver speeds up to 5 Gbps. USB 3.1 Gen 2 is the new name for USB 3.1, which can deliver speeds up to 10 Gbps.
USB 3.0 connector was released over a decade ago in 2008 and is the third major revision of the USB standard. It is a major improvement over USB 2.0, which first appeared in 2000 with a transfer speed of only 480 Mbit/s. Since then, we no longer use USB 3.0, which is now called USB 3.1 Gen 1. Therefore, USB 3.0 is the same as USB 3.1 Gen 1.
The USB-IF is the organization responsible for maintaining the USB (Universal Serial Bus) specification and compliance, and it does so to make it easier for developers and manufacturers to have the same relevant information to ensure proper development of products for backward compatibility. They are responsible for the naming conventions on USB cables and devices.
USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 differ only in speed; USB 3.1 Gen 1 supports speeds up to 5Gbit/s and USB 3.1 Gen 2 supports speeds up to 10Gbit/s. The USB-IF intends to use a different set of names for USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2, which will make them strictly for marketing purposes. They wanted to call USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 "SuperSpeed USB" and "SuperSpeed USB+" respectively, but the industry never caught on. Typically, OEMs add 5Gbps or 10Gbps speeds to their spec sheets to distinguish between the two USB standards. The rest of the industry simply refers to them as "USB 3.1 Gen 1" or "USB 3.1 Gen 2".
USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 are pretty much the same thing. The USB Implementers Forum, the organization responsible for developing, publishing and certifying USB ports and standards, says, "The USB 3.1 specification incorporates USB 3.0, which means that the terms USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen 1 are synonymous." This is good news for product marketers, but for consumers it's just additional confusion. In marketing materials, USB 3.1 Gen 1 is referred to as SuperSpeed USB or just SuperSpeed; while USB 3.1 Gen 2 is referred to as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, or "SuperSpeed +". If the product has USB Power Delivery 100W capability, the USB logo on the product will be surrounded by the battery.
If you're worried that new USB standards and ports won't support your beloved old camera or joystick, there's no need to be. Every Type-A USB port is backward compatible with previous standards. USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 are both backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. You can plug a 10-year-old USB 2.0 webcam into any USB Type-A 3.1, 3.0 or 2.0 port and it will work. You won't get the fast data transfer speeds of the new standard, but you won't have a problem using the device. That's assuming you can find drivers for your modern operating system.
Again, there's no reason to worry about moving to USB Type-C and losing support for all USB devices. You will need some sort of adapter, but there's no reason you can't plug a USB hub into a USB Type-C port to make room for multiple Type-A ports.
With the arrival of USB 3.2, the industry-dominant USB-A connection is starting to be gradually replaced by USB-C. Because USB-C supports higher data transfer speeds and can charge other peripherals faster, it is a natural choice as the primary USB connector using USB 3.2 Gen 2.
USB has come a long way from when it was first introduced and will continue to evolve in the future. The future will see even better improvements with the arrival of newer generations of the USB standard and USB-C.
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