Upcoming Reversible USB Cable Depicted in New Renderings

Wednesday April 2, 2014 11:15 AM PDT by Juli Clover
The upcoming USB 3.1 specification, an update to USB 3.0 that provides a throughput of up to 10 Gbit/s, also includes a new "Type C" connector, which is reversible much like Apple's Lightning cable.

Announced in December [PDF], the reversible design was said to be smaller in size, similar to existing Micro USB plugs. While no cables are available yet, the USB Implementers Forum (via CNET) has released renderings showing what the cable might look like.

usbtypec1
The reversible design, which looks a lot like a Lightning cable, aims to replace USB and Micro USB with one cable that can be used from either direction. The USB prong is 8.3 x 2.5mm, which is much smaller than standard USB ports but larger than Micro USB.

usbtypec2
At the current point in time, the cable's design has yet to be finalized, which means a final product could look somewhat different. The specification is expected to be finished in July of 2014.

Top Rated Comments

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9 months ago
As much as people rail on Apple for using a non-standard port and cable, it took Apple to show everyone what we've been missing all along. And soon we will all benefit with better USB cables.
Rating: 17 Votes
9 months ago
Why on God's Green Earth did it take this long (and still hasn't been released in the wild)?



Edit: Note that this is opposite of the Lightning connector, where the male connector sits inside the socket. That design will mean a lot of sockets inside expensive electronics will what breaks, instead of the connector on a cheap cable. These USB guys really couldn't be more daft...
Rating: 11 Votes
9 months ago

I dont like new standards because all my current stuff will no longer be compatible with the new equipment


We need more standards to standardize the existing standards. Has anyone standardized the process of standardizing standards? I love new standards.
Rating: 10 Votes
9 months ago

As much as people rail on Apple for using a non-standard port and cable, it took Apple to show everyone what we've been missing all along. And soon we will all benefit with better USB cables.


Apple is the catalyst of change (or guenie pig) in the tech industry. Most companies don't have the gut to make drastic changes unless Apple does it first. This is not all the times, but most of the time.

This is why I'm not a fan of those short sighted exec sitting in their corner office blocking tech progression.
Rating: 8 Votes
9 months ago
It would be nice if Apple adopted this type of cable in place of a proprietary one.
Rating: 7 Votes
9 months ago
Cool that there's something universal coming. The Lightening connector seems way better though.
Rating: 5 Votes
9 months ago
To everyone not using Apple products: welcome to 2012.
Rating: 5 Votes
9 months ago

It would be nice if Apple adopted this type of cable in place of a proprietary one.


Maybe if those in charge of the usb spec would get their act together, Apple wouldn't have to create proprietary connectors. I'll enjoy my lightning connector for 2-3+ years before you get usb 3.1 that is larger than micro usb.
Rating: 5 Votes
9 months ago

It would be nice if Apple adopted this type of cable in place of a proprietary one.


Uh, you do know Apple was the first to buy into USB in a big way, right? Right?

At this point, there are about a cajillion times more Lightning connectors in the world than there are "USB 3.1 Type C" connectors. IMO, this new USB connector would have never happened, had Apple not shown the world the right way to implement a reversible connector in the first place. (And I'm not granting the Type C connecror is necessarily going to be a good design for real world use (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=18953014&postcount=25).)
Rating: 5 Votes
9 months ago

Ok, I'm confused... yes, the Lightning connector is reversible, but well, the only things that really use it are iDevices, and the speeds (so far as I've read) are more comparable with USB 2.0, not even Gbps...


The lightning connector is just the physical interface. The reason why you are seeing USB 2.0 speed when syncing is because the devices have USB 2.0 chipsets in them.

This is just like a USB connector which can carry USB 1.1, 2.0, or 3.0. It's not the connector, it's the chipset in the device.

So aside from the fact it's reversible, what's so great about the lightning connector?


It's the little things. This will sound ridiculous to anyone who doesn't use it, but to anyone who does use it, they will know what I'm saying. It's really a genuine pleasure to use. The reversible aspect is a large part of it, but there's more:

1) There's also a nice snap to it as it goes in that gives you confidence it's in all the way and secure. USB connectors just sort of slide in and have the same amount of friction whether its barely in or all the way.

2) It's easy to plug in. USB, even if you have it the right way up, doesn't naturally align. How many times have I tried to plug it in, assumed it was upside down, flipped it over and tried to plug it in again, assumed it was upside down THIS TIME, and flipped it over AGAIN, and finally it goes in.

3) It's smaller than it's predecessor. Micro USB got BIGGER going to USB 3, AND more finicky to insert. Seriously???


4) Lightning is solid. Micro USB has a reputation for being fragile and cellphone repair shops say it is the most commonly broken part they fix.

5) All my Apple devices use the same connector. My USB devices, which are "standard", use USB 2.0, Micro USB, Micro USB 3.0, and Mini USB. Four different cables for USB, and soon to be five when this one comes out.
Rating: 5 Votes

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