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It's meant to enable a new class of thinner devices

There's a new USB plug on the horizon, and this upgraded version will finally be reversible. 

According to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, the next-generation USB is called "Type-C," and development on the new connector has already begun. 

Type-C, which will be built on existing USB 3.1 specifications, will finally have a feature many have been waiting for: reversibility. 

Other plugs -- like Apple's Lightning connector -- are already reversible, allowing users to easily plug right in without trying to see if they have it upside down or not.

USB is about to get a facelift. [SOURCE: wikimedia]

Type-C is expected to be about the size of a Micro USB plug, and it's meant to enable a new class of thinner devices in the way of phones, tablets, convertibles, laptops, desktops and emerging products. 

“While USB technology is well established as the favored choice for connecting and powering devices, we recognize the need to develop a new connector to meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. “The new Type-C connector will fit well with the market’s direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB.” 

Type-C isn't compatible with existing USBs, but the USB 3.0 Promoter Group will have a specification for adapters and cables so that many existing USB chargers out there aren't immediately considered obsolete.

Type-C should be finalized in mid-2014. 

Back in August, The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced new USB 3.1 specifications that allow SuperSpeed USB to operate at speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

Source: USB

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By Labotomizer on 12/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: Finally!
By Hector2 on 12/4/2013 11:32:17 AM , Rating: 4
Didn't read the story, eh ?

RE: Finally!
By Labotomizer on 12/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: Finally!
By inighthawki on 12/4/2013 1:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
I wish the next standard just scraps the backwards compatibility of the plug itself and just makes it more convenient. Basically the Type C connector except for the standard type A port. For the small handful of USB3 and below devices I have, I'll buy a couple 25 cent adapters to convert the plug.

RE: Finally!
By luv2liv on 12/4/2013 1:16:33 PM , Rating: 3
please make it circular. you can just plug it in blindfolded. only then can people can truly stop complaining about "orientation." as of now, the lighting port has not really solved this orientation issue that people are having.

RE: Finally!
By Ammohunt on 12/4/2013 1:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
That would be great if USB had only 2 pins....

RE: Finally!
By Solandri on 12/4/2013 3:28:51 PM , Rating: 3
Stereo headphone/microphone cables have three conductors (left, right, ground) and go into a single circular port. In fact, so do the combination headphone/microphone cables with 5 conductors.

I suspect the argument against long circular pins is robustness. If you trip on a USB cable, you'll usually just unplug the cable. If you trip on a headphone cable, a lot of times you end up bending or breaking the pin.

RE: Finally!
By Samus on 12/4/2013 5:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
It could potentially be circular. Many 3.5mm miniplug cables have 4-5 conductors such as A/V cables. The problem is safety as it needs to be insulated.

RE: Finally!
By s_p_kay on 12/4/2013 4:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Circular AND *Magnetic* so the magnetic ends pull the connector into proper alignment upon attempted connection. Or possibly add a robotic appendage to grasp the connector and align and insert it properly to avoid typical human error.

RE: Finally!
By inighthawki on 12/4/2013 5:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't see the dire need for something circular. If you have a magnetic connector similar to a magsafe connector, you really should not have any issues connecting it to your machine.

And honestly, if you spend a little bit of time you could probably make some homemade DIY connectors to do exactly that. You could have a small magnetic dongle constantly attached to the PC and the device and use the new connector instead of plugging it directly into the USB port each time.

RE: Finally!
By Samus on 12/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: Finally!
By ritualm on 12/4/2013 6:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
You don't need rare-earth magnets for a magnetic USB plug. A tiny permanent magnet works just as well.

RE: Finally!
By inighthawki on 12/4/2013 6:58:52 PM , Rating: 4
Even without magnets, there is absolutely no need for a circular connector. I mean, don't get me wrong, but if you try to plug in a USB cord perpendicular to the connection orientation then you may have bigger problems to worry about than how easy it is to plug in.

RE: Finally!
By kattanna on 12/5/2013 10:58:02 AM , Rating: 3
please make it circular.

i immediately thought of this...

RE: Finally!
By tech4tac on 12/4/2013 2:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
Although they may wish to be careful as I think Apple invented cables that can plug in either direction.

If you are being sarcastic in your statement, ignore my reply. But AFAIK, the first commercial available reversible USB connector was sold by Ma Yi Xuan ( back in January of 2011, almost 2 years before the introduction of the lightning connector (September 2012 with the release of then-new iPhone 5). Granted it was for the full size connector, but the concept was already there for USB cable connectors.

RE: Finally!
By Solandri on 12/4/2013 3:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
I really doubt Apple invented reversible connectors, but the power cable for their laptops has been reversible for about a decade.

RE: Finally!
By inighthawki on 12/4/2013 5:25:54 PM , Rating: 4
I doubt they invented black rectangles or multitouch as well, but that didn't stop them.

RE: Finally!
By ritualm on 12/5/2013 7:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
There is another way for a reversible USB connector: at the A male connector side, instead of the standard solid plastic block on one side of the rectangular housing, you have a thin strip of PCB with the requisite USB contacts on both sides.

I've got a few Elecom retractables with such a setup.

Dumbing down to the Apple crowd...
By taisingera on 12/4/2013 2:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
While this looks interesting, is it really necessary? It can only go in 2 ways as of now. Why don't they just add a small light to the end of the cable to see which way to plug it in:) It just seems to me that they are reacting to Apple's new connector, and want to make people spend money on adapters.

RE: Dumbing down to the Apple crowd...
By ritualm on 12/4/2013 6:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't they just add a small light to the end of the cable to see which way to plug it in

A few Kickstarter projects tried it. None of them got off the ground.
It just seems to me that they are reacting to Apple's new connector, and want to make people spend money on adapters.

Insignificant expense. I've already standardized all of my USB charging to micro-USB. Including Apple stuff.

RE: Dumbing down to the Apple crowd...
By Solandri on 12/4/2013 8:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't they just add a small light to the end of the cable to see which way to plug it in

A few Kickstarter projects tried it. None of them got off the ground.

The current micro USB standard already solves this problem.

Do you see the two white rectangles on top of the diagram next to the 5 and the 1? They're triangular pieces of metal which provide some springy resistance when you insert the plug, helping to hold it in place.

That means one side of the microUSB connector is flat, the other side has two ridges you can easily feel with your fingertip. Since plugging in a cable requires holding it with your hand, it's trivial to feel the tip with your finger before you plug it in. That will tell you which side is up and which is down. Since noticing this, I have not tried to plug in a microUSB charger into my phone backwards in over 2 years, even in the dark.

By Strunf on 12/5/2013 5:09:48 AM , Rating: 2
I have never got my microUSB wrong either, but with the normal USB it was clearly a design flaw to not make it easy to identify the direction, Firewire came out a bit before the USB and you could easily tell the difference between sides.

By Tony Swash on 12/5/2013 6:29:52 AM , Rating: 4
While this looks interesting, is it really necessary? It can only go in 2 ways as of now. Why don't they just add a small light to the end of the cable to see which way to plug it in:) It just seems to me that they are reacting to Apple's new connector, and want to make people spend money on adapters.

Gruber nailed it.

"As far as I’ve been able to determine, the USB Promoter Group hasn’t released any photos or illustrations of this proposed new adapter, so who knows if it’s even designed yet. In the meantime, if the above timetable holds, iOS device users will have been using Lightning adapters for four years by the time this hits the market.

The Lightning adapter epitomizes what makes Apple Apple. To the company’s fans, it provides elegance and convenience — it’s just so much nicer than micro-USB. To the company’s detractors, it exists to sell $29 proprietary adapters and to further enable Apple’s fetish for device thinness. Neither side is wrong.

Apple doesn’t give a shit what everyone else is doing. To some, that’s what makes Apple great. To others, it’s what’s wrong with Apple. One side thinks, Why in the world should we have to wait until 2016 to have a smaller, reversible plug? The other side thinks, Why in the world would you want a proprietary, non-standard, expensive plug?"

RE: Dumbing down to the Apple crowd...
By marvdmartian on 12/5/2013 7:34:47 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, but just think of all the time that will be saved, since people will no longer have to try it one way, then flip it over. Or actually LOOK at the plug, to determine which is the right way.

Should add up to a minute or so per user, per year!

By Tony Swash on 12/5/2013 11:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, but just think of all the time that will be saved, since people will no longer have to try it one way, then flip it over. Or actually LOOK at the plug, to determine which is the right way.

Should add up to a minute or so per user, per year!

What's with all the Ludditism? Stuff get's changed and improved, sometimes incrementally, that's a good thing.

In answer to your "Or actually LOOK at the plug, to determine which is the right way" what about the visually impaired, those over fifty with declining vision, inserting a cable where the socket is out of easy line of sight, in the dark, if you have reduced usage of hands through illness or disability, etc, etc.

Easier is better, simpler is better, harder is worse, more complicated is worse, and not all users are able bodies young folk. Plus if you attach device cables a couple of dozen times a day, as I do, wasting time getting the connector the right way round adds up to a lot more than a minute a year. A cable connector that can invite erroneous insertion positioning is a poorly designed component.

Like a lightning connector?
By hpglow on 12/4/2013 12:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
I hope they design something better. The exposed gold plated contacts on the lightning connector get shorted and go bad often. I've had to toss two of them and I have two that only one side works defeating their reversibility.

The last thing the USB consortium needs to do here is copy Apple. I seriously hope they have better in mind.

RE: Like a lightning connector?
By Solandri on 12/4/2013 3:45:59 PM , Rating: 1
That's a drawback of reversible connectors. Because of the required symmetry, one set of electrical contacts has to stand up on its own in the middle.

With the non-reversible USB-A connector, the metal frame can support the connectors on one side on the male connector, and on the other side on the female connector.

RE: Like a lightning connector?
By inighthawki on 12/4/2013 5:41:49 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not sure I follow. It's more than possible to develop a reversible cable that does not have that flaw. The lightning connector is just flawed in how it exposes the male connection.

They missed the boat yet again.
By DT_Reader on 12/4/2013 11:45:01 AM , Rating: 2
When USB first appeared I was dismayed - and now I get to continue to be dismayed - that the plugs aren't androgynous. If they'd done it right we would be able to daisy-chain cables because the plugs would plug into each other.

RE: They missed the boat yet again.
By hpglow on 12/4/2013 1:01:24 PM , Rating: 2
What would be point? Most USB devices don't work on cables over 10ft because of voltage drop and or signal attenuation. I can't even get a $150 wired arcade stick to work 15ft from the TV, with a 5ft extension cable. You can daisy chain USB devices simply by putting a hub chip in each one and an extra female connector. It doesn't even make sense for many devices except monitors and keyboards. It's not being done because it's not what USB is designed for, it doesn't make sense, and it would add cost and confusion to most devices.

If it is so easy to design and implement a specification then have at it.

Who not backwards compatible?
By Samus on 12/4/2013 11:00:03 AM , Rating: 3
It would be reversible and backwards compatible with micro-USB 2.0 if they simply made the shape symmetrical and had a mirrored pin-out on both internal connection points.

I tried to file a patent for this 5 years ago and it was rejected because of protection against unauthorized standards and modifications set by the USB Promoters Group.

I have a working prototype cable that works in every device I own, although it is a little stiff inserting in one of the two possible directions on some devices, specifically my Galaxy Note 2 (ironically the S3 is fine) and my a Qi-compliant charger that I feel the connector isn't to spec, anyway.

Every other device I've tried from cameras to hard drives works fine.

USB 3.0 adds a huge dimension of complexity to backwards compatibility because of increased pin count, depth, current, and in the case of micro-USB 3.0, asymmetrical divided connector width. It's virtually impossible to retro-fit that spec, but making micro-USB 2.0 reversible could have been done nearly a decade ago. There's no reason this never happened.

awesome post
By rechiel7890 on 12/4/2013 3:15:46 PM , Rating: 1
uptil I saw the receipt of $5699, I did not believe friend was like they say trully making money part time on their apple labtop.. there mums best friend has done this less than ten months and resently repaid the morgage on there cottage and got themselves a Honda. you could check here..........bay91

By BillyBatson on 12/4/13, Rating: -1
RE: awesome!!!
By Etsp on 12/4/2013 2:09:18 PM , Rating: 3
You didn't actually read the article, did you?

RE: awesome!!!
By BillyBatson on 12/5/2013 10:06:25 AM , Rating: 1
I did, what did I miss?

RE: awesome!!!
By GTVic on 12/4/2013 3:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
You didn't think that through. Right now there are too many variables to missing the connection. Eliminating the orientation will significantly cut down on missed attempts.

Often people don't make a connection even though the orientation is correct. So then they try connecting multiple times with both correct and incorrect orientation until they get all the variables correct (angle, vertical position, horizontal position and orientation).

RE: awesome!!!
By Visual on 12/5/2013 5:48:30 AM , Rating: 2
The reason they often do not make connection is not in the listed variables. Rather, one of them just doesn't like the other. If both liked each other, they find a way.

RE: awesome!!!
By BillyBatson on 12/5/2013 10:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
I did think it through and you are talking nonsense. Angle? Horizontal and vertical positions? I just visually look grab the right end of the cable th first time, make sure the plastic piece is at the bottom and stick it right now. You aren't having sex here you're just connect a USB cable. I don't have issues doing either unlike most of the brain dead morons here on DT.

RE: awesome!!!
By HeavySnarker on 12/4/2013 4:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's pretty annoying.
Story of my life:

RE: awesome!!!
By BillyBatson on 12/5/2013 10:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
That's hilarious!!!!!
But not something I've experienced with USB...

RE: awesome!!!
By BillyBatson on 12/5/13, Rating: -1
USB sucks
By Argon18 on 12/4/13, Rating: -1
RE: USB sucks
By dgingerich on 12/4/2013 12:50:57 PM , Rating: 5
1. They already have a standard modification for USB 3 for bulk data transfers: UAS, or USB attached SCSI. It's making its way around, and has for over a year, but many motherboard manufacturers aren't using it because of what they see as lack of demand. The demand is certainly out there, but average users don't know much about it, and the idiots deciding on what to cut from motherboard design and external hard drive design are completely out of touch. They seem to be completely oblivious to the fact that if they add it and advertise it, it will sell better than those devices without it.

2. you incorrectly list PCIe and Thunderbolt as if they are storage transfer standards. They are general use standards, geared for general expansion of computer systems. Of course they have DMA transfer access. That's so they can accommodate storage controllers. On top of that, Thunderbolt is pretty much just an external PCIe coupled with DisplayPort signaling. Don't include Thunderbolt and PCIe in the same list as Firewire, SATA, or SCSI.

3. USB 3 allows for up to .9A on 5V, expanding the use for USB 3 devices to 4.5W. It hasn't been stuck at .5A since USB 2 was a standard. In addition, there are many motherboards out there, mine included, that are built to handle up to 1.5A on the old USB 2.0 ports. The power limitation you complain about here haven't been a major problem in ages. Besides, most people don't use their computers for charging their phones or tablets anyway.

4. Stop promoting firewire as some great thing. Sure, it could handle more power, and DMA transfers, but I know from experience that the data transfer rates on 400Mb firewire are about the same as USB 2.0, only with slightly less CPU usage. Years ago, I went out and bought a firewire enclosure for my backups, but was completely unimpressed. It didn't give me any advantages and cost me an extra $20. Apple pushed it as a standard, and it failed. (They're pushing Thunderbolt now, too, and it isn't going very well because of cable costs. I doubt it will catch up in adoption rates with USB 3 at all. Who wants to spend $50 on cables? USB 3.1 will beat it into the ground.) Even the latest version couldn't keep up, even slightly, with USB 3. It sounds more like you're one of those Apple fans with this kind of promotion.

For the most part, people want a single type of connector for their devices on their computers. USB provides that better than most. It's popular because of that.

Right now, the transition from 2.0 to 3.0 has been stalled for a bit, mostly because of Intel's lack of movement on the matter. (Even on their latest chipset, they didn't make it so that all the ports could be USB 3, like they did with USB 2.0 right away. They're being lazy right now.) It's on the way, but not as fast as most people would like.

RE: USB sucks
By Totally on 12/4/2013 7:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
Good post but I'd say Intel's feet dragging can be more attributed a conflict of interest since they developed Thunderbolt for Apple. Can't blame them, since I myself wouldn't be thrilled about shooting myself in the foot.

RE: USB sucks
By superstition on 12/7/2013 10:45:24 PM , Rating: 2
1. Thunderbolt is an Intel technology, not an Apple technology. Intel invented it.

2. Firewire 400 is ancient. There have been several major revisions of the spec since it was finalized.

RE: USB sucks
By CaedenV on 12/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: USB sucks
By momorere on 12/4/13, Rating: -1
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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