Intel, HP, Microsoft, Nec, NXP Semiconductors and Texas Instruments have announced that they're developing a new USB standard simply called USB 3.0. The new standard is claimed to be ten times faster than USB 2.0 and it will target fast sync-and-go applications on PC's, mobile devices and consumer electronics.
USB 3.0 will remain backwards compatible with current USB standards, but it will be more power efficient and better optimized for low power drain. An optical version is also meant to be developed, but how this is meant to interface with various devices wasn't made clear.
The first draft specifications should be ready in the first half of next year and the first implementations we'll see will be in the form of discrete chipsets. Apparently over 6.2 billion USB devices have been shipped since 2001 and 2.1 billion of those last year alone. Goes to show how many of the peripherals we use are connected via USB.