New York City’s public schools and other public spaces are among the first places to take advantage of the new Thunderbolt 3 specification, but a few of those schools are also the ones that have the most to lose.
“The majority of schools use one of two USB-to-Thunderbolt ports,” says Steve Kline, president of New York’s Technical Education Alliance.
“That means if you’re in the Bronx, for example, you’re not going to be able to use a USB-c to Thunderbolt port unless you have a Thunderbolt 3 cable.”
That means, in addition to having to buy a new laptop, you’ll have to find a new, expensive USB-connected cable.
“It’s very hard to find cables that fit in most school environments,” Kline says.
And even if you do find a cable that fits, the cables don’t always stay that way for long.
“When the schools switch to USB-based Thunderbolt 3, they’re going to get their Thunderbolt 3 cables from a company that doesn’t offer them to their students,” he says.
If you want to use the same cable for your school as you do for a corporate office, you can do it on-site.
“But if you want the ability to transfer files from one machine to another, you need to go out and buy that USB-compatible cable, which costs more than it is worth,” he adds.
The New York Times’ report on the problem says that the new USB-capable cables are going to have to be “bundled” with a new USB cable for the next generation of computers.
“You can’t have two USB ports in the same box,” Klines explains.
“If you’re going in, you have to buy the same USB-port bundle.”
He notes that some schools are already using this method.
The Times notes that “at least a dozen schools” have been able to upgrade to USB 3.0 in the last year or so.
“I don’t see that changing,” KLine says.
“What they’re saying is if you are going out to a new computer or a new class, you might want to get a USB 2.0 cable, because you have the same capability.”
But USB-3.0 isn’t an easy upgrade to the technology.
The report notes that the next-generation USB-ports, like USB 3 Type-C, “can’t deliver the full bandwidth and power of USB 3,” and “may not offer as much performance as USB 2.”
That’s because it can only do so much.
“They are not compatible with USB 3, and they’re not compatible if you have other technologies,” Ksides says.
That means if your school wants to upgrade USB-2.0, it’s going to need to get an external power supply, which will be a lot more expensive than an external USB-1.5 port, which is what students will have to use to transfer documents and other files.
The NYT says that in some schools, that might mean getting a new battery.
Kline thinks that’s unlikely to happen, but says he’s not sure if it’s the right move.
“At this point, I don’t know if the schools are ready to go that way, but I think that’s a possibility,” he explains.
New York schools could be stuck with a broken USB cable forever.
“As soon as they upgrade to Thunderbolt 3,” K line says, “there’s going be an inherent problem.”
New York Public Schools’ Kline notes that this isn’t a new problem, either.
“In the last two years, they’ve been talking about it, but they’ve only been able get the new generation USB-types to work,” he notes.
“This is going to make it really difficult for the schools to make any progress.”
He says that he’s “really concerned” about the situation.
“There’s not enough information available about this issue,” he said.
“We have no data on how much time they’ve had to fix it, and we don’t have enough data on what their actual issues are.”
It’s also worth noting that Kline is one of the people who got a new MacBook Pro with a brand new, USB-powered Thunderbolt 3 port.
“My MacBook Pro is going up to USB 2,” K says.
Klines says that there are “a lot of people who are concerned about it.”
“They’re not worried about the fact that they’re still going to buy their old laptop,” he continued.
“People are worried about how much data they’re actually going to put into that machine.
“And if you get that upgrade, you are not getting a great deal of speed, and you’re getting”
Even if you don’t want to buy an external battery, I think it’s important for people to understand that you’re taking a massive risk,” K lines adds.
“And if you get that upgrade, you are not getting a great deal of speed, and you’re getting