What is USB Type C | Current State Late 2018September 26, 2018
For as long as I can remember USB (Universal Serial Bus) has been one of the main ways we connect peripherals to PC, IE Mouse and Keyboard, and how we charge a lot of portable devices like our trusty Mobile Phones. USB has evolved with the times to push more data and become the go-to standard for how we connect locally. The latest and greatest iteration of USB is USB Type C, but what is USB Type C? and how does it work?
Today I will be explaining in the simplest terms possible, who invented USB ?, what came before USB Type C ?, what is USB Type C ? and how it benefits us in 2018.
Who Invented USB
The Universal Serial Bus was released in 1996 but conception was in 1994, a group of several companies – Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel came together with a singular goal. The goal was to create a simple connector for adding accessories to PC’s, to eliminate the need for numerous ports that fundamentally do the same thing while cutting down on clutter. Since USB was introduced it has been the standard for connecting peripherals to almost everything.
Fun Fact: Apple iMac was the first mainstream product to use USB, due to the popularity of the iMac there was a flow-on effect causing the success of USB.
Journey to USB Type C
You can’t truly comprehend the capabilities of USB Type C without first understanding the evolution of USB.
USB 1.0 to 3.2
The USB standard established in 1994 has gone through a number of upgrades over the years. The max transfer rate of USB 1.0 was 12 Mbit/s, in 2017 USB 3.2 was released with a max transfer speed of 20 Gbit/s. One of the few physical differences that let you know you have USB 3.0 and higher is the blue inserts inside the connector.
USB Type A Connection
If you have been playing around with PC’s for a while, USB Type A you will recognize. Its used mainly for add-on peripherals like a Mouse, Keyboard, External Hard Drives and External Disc Readers. Type A is fairly limited in that it only allows for one way traffic and power. On most consumer USB cables you will find at least one of the ends will have a male Type A connector.
USB Type B Connection
A common place you will find a USB Type B cable would be to connect a printer or scanner to your computer. Type B allows pr greater data transfer and eliminates the need to run two host computers when using bigger peripherals.
Benefits of USB Type C
USB C was first introduced in 2014 but it wasn’t till 2017 – 2018 that the technology was introduced to the general consumer. USB C represents a step in the direction of minimalist design and multiple functionalities, we have seen it in our phones, laptops and high-end consumer electronics, everything has become sleeker, thinner and jam-packed full of functionality. The old USB Type A or Micro USB didn’t follow this mantra, they are big, only provide data transfer, power and only go in one way ( average of 5 attempts to get it lined up and connected up lol ).
USB C allows for standard data transfer, audio playback, video playback, and power. It is one third the size of traditional USB Type A and Hallelujah, the connector is reversible :), you don’t have to mess around and it connects the first time.
Current and Future Applications
USB C had it’s coming out party on the Apple MacBook and Chromebook Pixel, since then its made its way onto most flagship phones IE Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, Google Pixel 2, Various Huawei Phones, Essential Phone, OnePlus 6 and the list goes on.
To be honest, I thought that by now (Late 2018) that USB C would be more prevalent in today’s tech, I’m all for USB Cing all the things. With Apple dropping its proprietary charging cable on the Macbooks, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see USB C on an iPhone in the near future. How nice would it be as an Android user to be able to visit a friend who is an iPhone user, and know that you can charge your phone at their place should you need to (It’s the little things for me).
The best case scenario for future applications of USB C would be the complete replacement or power cables, HDMI cables, Display Ports and most ancient peripherals. As the USB standard increases past 3.2 its will lift the advantages of having a USB C connector over all others.
I’m hopeful that USB C will completely take over, I love the convenience of having a connector that can do all the things. I hate going on holiday or leaving the house with a bag full of cables to charge all my devices. I predict that it will happen, USB C will take over, let’s just hope it happens before we go completely wireless 🙂
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