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USB governance group ratifies Type C connector, USB 3.1 specification

updated 09:19 am EDT, Wed August 13, 2014

New connector is symmetrical, similar to Apple Lightning

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has ratified the new USB Type-C connector. Initially revealed in December, the new connector is symmetrical, smaller in size, and has scalable power charging. Additionally, the new specification supports faster speed, and is still backwards-compatible (with adapters) to previous versions of the spec.

The receptacle opening is 8.3mm wide by 2.2mm high, and is expected to have a durability of 10,000 cycles. The new cable will support up to 3A of power, up from the 2A of today's cables.

The new standard will replace full-size USB and Micro-USB connectors, and offers bandwidth at 10Gbps, about twice the speed of the existing USB 3.0 specification.

by MacNN Staff



  1. OldMacGeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-04-10

    Symmetrical again?! Sigh. Don't know how many times I blindly insert a USB cable one way, it doesn't work so I flip it. That doesn't work, so I flip it again . . .

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    You probably mean "asymmetrical," which this isn't.

  1. gprovida

    Junior Member

    Joined: 02-14-06

    So will the European Union ban these or require old connectors to ensure endurance of obsolete technology? Or will they simply drop the whole everyone use USB old style connectors which allows Apple to continue its 2012 Lightning connector which is symmetric, smaller, faster, is backward compatible (for some functions e.g., power and music) as well as "smarter."

    By the way, anyone note Apple innovation lead implicit in this situation just like 64 bit. Oppsy not following the tech journalist and investor analyst narrative.

    I can't wait to (not) hear everyone p@@sing and moaning about new USB making their old device investments obsolete like they did when Apple (went USB on the iMac, got rid of floppies, ....) Lightning.

  1. OldMacGeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-04-10

    Nope. I meant symmetrical. A rectangular connector that will - kinda - fit in either way. Yes, it will only go in *all* the way in one orientation. Finding that orientation when you can't see the connector, however, . . .

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    The openings for the connector measure roughly 8.4mm by 2.6mm (different site), which makes the width roughly the width of Apple's old 30-pin connector. Both connectors have the same problem, a slender circuit board mounted inside a small slot--the perfect size to catch a bunch of lint. Lint is what messed up my wife's iPhone4 and something that doesn't happen in the properly constructed Lightning connector. Put the circuit connectors on the top and bottom of the jack and connector, getting rid of the tiny circuit board inside the slot as well as the equally tiny slot in the connector. Apple did it correctly, the USB consortium messed everything up and time will show how bad of a connector it is.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    OldMacGeek, the new USB 3.1 Type-C connector here is "symmetrical" like the Apple Lightning Cable, in that it will fit into the jack "all the way" no matter what the orientation.

    Prior USB jacks, I think you mean, were "symmetrical" in appearance on the outside, but the jack itself was "asymmetrical," meaning it would only go into the jack if it were oriented the same way each time. This new USB 3.1 Type-C connector is "symmetrical" both on the outside and inside, just like the Lightning Connector.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Ah, yet another reason to delay upgrading to a MacBook Air. I'll wait until it ships with these connectors. That and a Touch ID power switch.

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