USB-C: Everything you need to know

The recently announced Apple Macbook features a new type of USB port. The so-called type-C becomes the new standard and brings with it several innovations.

At this point, devices are using the USB type A and B. USB A ports are the original entrances that can be found in computers, game consoles, outlets and media players. Type-B inputs are also frequently used (including mini-USB and micro-USB). These plugs link smartphones, tablets, printers and hard drives to other devices or chargers.

USB Ports
From left to right: USB Type-A, Mini-B, Micro-B

The new USB technology is going to change this by employing a single connector type: USB type-C. This means that the cable now fits everywhere.

Faster communication with USB-C

The type-C USB also ensures faster communications between the devices. This is because the cable can carry out 100 watts at 20 volts, which is a maximum of 9 watts with the current cables. Using the new USB 3.1 standard, a data transfer rate can get 8 Gbps (1.25 gigabytes per second). The latest version, USB 3.0 is capable up to 4 Gbps (0.625 gigabytes per second).

In practice, this would allow laptops to be recharged via a USB cable. Also, charging smartphones and tablets can go faster, like sending data. Type-C allows for the transmission of data at the same time of charging.

Thinner design

In addition, the new USB plug and USB ports are just as small as the current micro USB plugs. Therefore, future devices will be much smaller. This is already reflected in the upcoming Macbook, which is 24 percent thinner than the Macbook Air. In comparison, the type-C ports are 0.83 by 0.26 centimeters, compared to type-A’s 1.4 to 0.65 centimeters.

Always the right side

Where it was necessary with previous USB cable to watch how you put it in, this is no longer necessary with type-C. The cable will have no top or bottom. Therefore, you can plug it blindly into devices.

Broad support

The new ports can handle version 3.1 of the USB protocol, but also work with older techniques. Existing USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices can also be connected.

Type A inputs will disappear from new devices, but to continue to provide support for older devices, adapters will still be made available. Apple sells cables that convert USB type C to HDMI or VGA. Also, existing hard drives, mice, keyboards and other accessories can be connected with adapters to type-C ports.

It is currently still a drawback of type-C which is to be worked with adapters in order to maintain full USB support. It will probably still take quite some time before all new accessories are using the new standard.