USB 3.0 was a big step up from USB 2.0 in terms of performance, which in turn was a big improvement over USB 1.0.
It then got a bit confusing when USB 3.1 was introduced, as it was decided to rename USB 3.0 devices to USB 3.1 Gen 1, and pave the way for USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices on top of that.
USB 3.1 Gen 2, or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps, is the fastest version of USB right now. It offers speeds up to 10 Gbit/s which effectively doubles the speed of USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices which are good for a maximum transfer speed of 5 Gbit/s.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced the pending release of the USB 3.2 specification on July 25, 2017. It is an incremental update that introduces multi-lan operations for new hosts and devices that support USB 3.2 as well as other improvements such as fast charging advancements.
New USB 3.2 hosts and devices can now be designed as multi-lane solutions, allowing for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. This enables platform developers to continue advancing USB products to fit their customers’ needs by effectively doubling the performance across existing cables. For example, a USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will now be capable of realizing over 2 GB/sec data transfer performance over an existing USB Type-C™ cable that is certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps
USB 3.2 doubles the performance of USB 3.1 Gen 1 devices. They make use of USB Type-C cables and connectors, but require new hardware to make use of the advancements. This means that devices, e.g. a hard drive connected via USB need to come with USB 3.2 support, and that the machine these devices get connected to needs to support it as well. So, this means essentially a new motherboard or, if available, PCI Express cards that add support for USB 3.2 to the computer.
For users to obtain the full benefit of this performance increase, a new USB 3.2 host must be used with a new USB 3.2 device and the appropriate certified USB Type-C cable.
The USB 3.2 update targets developers first and foremost at this time according to the announcement. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group plans to reveal a formal release of the new specification in September 2017.
It will take some time before first devices will become available to consumers though, and that it will take even longer for devices to really take advantage of the improved performance that USB 3.2 offer.
Now You: What's the maximum USB version that your computer supports?