Built on the USB 3.1 spec and much smaller than a standard USB-A connector, USB-C can provide enough power to charge a laptop, enough bandwidth to carry a display signal, and fast enough data speeds for almost any normal user.

Apple's new 12-inch MacBook has but a single port — unless you count the headphone jack — and it’s a completely new connector that almost no one has ever used before, breaking direct compatibility with millions of standard USB devices.

That connector, known as USB Type-C or just USB-C, is likely to become one of the most ubiquitous advances in the recent history of computing and consumer electronics. It’s the compact, reversible port that does everything, and this week’s Computex Taipei shows the first signs of it spreading to the wider world.

How's the USB-C rollout going? “We think it’s going great,” says Jeff Ravencraft, president and COO of the USB Implementers Forum, who calls early Type-C devices like the Nokia N1 tablet, the latest MacBook, and the new Google Chromebook Pixel “above and beyond our wildest dreams” for the first products to hit the market. Manufacturers like Asus have got on board with USB-C this Computex, too, and it’s hard to walk the show floor without coming across hubs, adapters, and cables that support the new standard.

“This is the fastest transition we’ve seen in 15 years or more,” says Ravencraft, “so knock on wood everything’s going extremely well and we’re really excited.”

Much of the initial attention around USB-C centered around its reversibility; Apple’s Lightning cables have shown how it’s hard to go back to struggling with asymmetrical USB jacks, and USB-C is the first standard solution to address the issue. But the connector’s potential functionality is just as important as its convenience. Built on the USB 3.1 spec and much smaller than a standard USB-A connector, USB-C can provide enough power to charge a laptop, enough bandwidth to carry a display signal, and fast enough data speeds for almost any normal user.

With the aid of a more sensible and functional hub than Apple’s ludicrous $79.99 MacBook adapter, you could charge your laptop and connect your monitor and peripherals with one single, easy-to-use cable, making for a seamless transition from cord-free mobile use to productive desk work. Just as the original USB connector eventually killed parallel, serial, PS/2, FireWire, and other ports, USB-C could spell the end for proprietary laptop chargers and dedicated ports like HDMI and Thunderbolt.

Intel helped deliver the first blow, announcing that Thunderbolt 3 would adopt the USB-C connector after previous iterations used Mini DisplayPort. Thunderbolt 3 stands on USB 3.1’s shoulders to deliver speeds of up to 40Gbps, letting you run two 4K displays at 60Hz through just one port. It’s a big vote of confidence for USB-C from Intel, and could encourage more PC makers to adopt the standard; Thunderbolt has never quite shaken off its association with Apple, as many others prefer to use HDMI over Mini DisplayPort.

SOURCE: The Verge

Why It Matters:

Moving to a single cord is one step in the right direction toward becoming completely wireless. The USB-C may be the last iteration of the cord and, if not, it is certainly a fast and powerful enough solution to handle the latest stream of devices.

 

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