New USB Type-C Design Finalized
Often it’s the little things that can have a huge impact on quality of life. Back in the 1990s when engineers were developing the Universal Serial Bus (USB) they may not have considered one tiny detail as important – the connector has a right-side up. How could they foresee the countless times an innocent computer user would attempt to connect their peripheral and, unable to get the connector to slide into the port, flip it around several times. Perhaps they would need to bend over, crane around to the back of their computer, or even kneel on the floor, to see which way the connector needs to go. How many points of systolic blood pressure have such frustrations caused?
Now, 18 years after the release of USB, the USB Implementers Forum and a collaboration of Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments have announced the final design of the next generation USB – the USB Type-C.
The primary feature of the Type-C is that it is reversible. You can plug it in either way – thank Thor, Zeus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The connector is also smaller than the current USB, closer in size to the mini-USB. The 3.1 standard promises 10 gb/second transfer rates. This is another advantage of the Type-C – it can replace both the USB an the USB mini, allowing for one connector for every device. That is something we can’t blame the engineers in the 1990s for – the proliferation of smart phones, digital cameras, and other small computer devices. These devices are too small for a standard USB connector, requiring the mini.
Sure, it will be a pain to migrate over to a new standard that is not backward compatible, but this one is worth it. This can be a true universal connector – the one connector to rule them all. The reversibility alone is worth the switch. Also, I’m sure adapters will be available for existing peripherals.
The change is also coming shortly after Apple made it’s move to the new lightening connector, which is both small and reversible. Hopefully these new standards will last for at least a couple of decades.