What interests me the most is that it's USB compliant. In my experience, test engineers are pretty conservative about switching to new technologies. It makes no sense to switch to something until you're sure it won't screw up your measurements. When I worked at HP I was part of a team introducing a new spectrometer that had an Ethernet port. That port was used for internal access to the embedded code, among other things, and I thought it would be great for customers to have TCP/IP access to the instrument instead of just HP-IB. The idea was shot down by marketing because it was considered "too new".
The GPIB interface has been around for a LONG time, and even longer as HP-IB (I think it's in the HP/Agilent handbook that you have to call it HP-IB). Is it time to get rid of it? The downsides include
- Those cables can be very expensive
- You have to buy and configure a separate interface card
- The cables and connectors are bulky
- Interface speed can be a limiting factor
But personally, I've already used two instruments with USB interfaces, and I really like the idea. Now that other companies appear to be offering USB, I'm read to kick the GPIB habit. Is there a 12-step program for that?