USB Type-C (or USB-C)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Physically, the Type-C port and connector are about the same size as those of the Micro-B USB mentioned above. A Type-C port measures just 8.4 by 2.6mm. This means it's small enough to work for even the smallest peripheral devices. With Type-C, both ends of a USB cable are the same, allowing for reversible plug orientation. You also don't need to worry about plugging it in upside down as it will function both ways.

Since 2015, USB-C has been widely adapted and used in many phones and tablets. Many new storage devices also use USB-C ports instead of a USB-B port. Almost all devices that support USB 3.1 use the USB-C port. USB 3.1 has a top speed of 10Gbps and can deliver a power output of up to 20 volts (100 watts) and 5 amps. When you consider most 15-inch laptops require just around 60 watts of power, this means in the future they will be charged the way phones are now, via their little USB port. Apple's new MacBook has just one USB-C port as the sole peripheral and power port.

Type-C USB also allows for bi-directional power, so apart from charging the peripheral device, when applicable, a peripheral device could also charge a host device. All this means you can do away with an array of proprietary power adapters and USB cables, and move to a single robust and tiny solution that works for all devices. Type-C USB will significantly cut down the a amount of wires currently needed to make devices work.

One port, one cable, no fuss

Type-C USB and USB 3.1 are backward-compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. In a pure Type-C USB connection, the Type-A ports and plugs are no longer included. However, you'll find compatible Type A-to-Type C cables. On top of that, there will be adapters to make Type C hosts and devices work with existing USB devices.

This is the first time adapters are required with USB connections, and likely the only time, at least for the the foreseeable future. USB Implementers Forum, the group responsible for the development of USB, says that Type-C USB is designed to be future-proof, meaning the design will be used for future and faster USB versions.


It will take a few years more for Type-C become to become as popular as the current Type-A on the host side, but when it does it will simplify the way we work with devices. In fact, Intel is even working on a USB audio standard that might render the 3.5mm audio jack obsolete. And with the addition of Thunderbolt 3 now being the super-set of USB-C, eventually, we'll just have only one type of port and cable to connect all peripheral devices to each other and to a computer. It's predicted that, thanks to support for USB-C, the adoption of Thunderbolt 3 will take off, which hasn't been the case with previous versions of Thunderbolt.

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