That's not at all my memory. Intel were including USB on motherboards, and so the ports were very prevalent. You're right there few peripherals initially, because Windows didn't support USB until Windows 95 OSR2 (late 96), and not usefully so until OSR2.1 (late 97). Apple were pushing their Firewire instead. USB featured famously in Bill Gates' launch demo of Windows 98 in April '98, when it BSODed when a USB peripheral was live-plugged in. However, USB support in '98 was otherwise pretty good.
That Apple changed course relatively quickly, and accepted USB had achieved market acceptance in a way that Firewire would not, does not change the fact that Apple before that were pushing Firewire to fill the same needs as, and *rather than*, USB, and that Apple hardware did NOT feature USB until *LONG* (2+) years after it was implemented by default on PC boards.