Why Did This Take So Long?

After years of frustration, a reversible USB is finally here!

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It’s one of those unfortunate facts of life. In a similar fashion to the way that bread will always land buttered-side-down, your USB cable will never be orientated right on your first attempt. Almost anyone who is at all involved in the digital world will know the frustration that is caused by the standard Universal Serial Bus (USB) port’s unnessarily complex connection procedure.

With this in mind, and given the huge number of people and devices using the USB port, the question must be asked: why has nobody ever tried to improve this? Well the truth is they have, but the problem was finding a solution which all tech manufacturers could agree on, before implementing this as the future standard for USB ports.

Image: © 2014 USB Promoter Group

Now luckily, our days of waiting might finally be over. The organisation that works on the development of new USB port standards has announced a brand new port, dubbed USB Type-C, which will become the future standard. In a similar way to Apple’s Lightning connector, this new port is fully reversible, in the sense that, no matter what orientation it is plugged into a device, it will still achieve a data connection.

Image: © 2014 USB Promoter Group

This new standard will be similar in size to a Micro USB 2.0 Type B connector, with its port measuring in a 8.4x2.6mm. Despite its small size, it can still transfer huge amounts of data, capable of compatibility with the 10Gbps data transfer rate of the new SuperSpeed USB 3.1. In addition, the cable can be used for device charging, with a maximum power delivery of 100W.

The bad news for us consumers is that this new standard will still take some time to roll out. Manufacturers will need years to begin to include this new port into their product designs and then build up a large enough user base to do away with the old connector for good. Sadly, it looks like we could still be stabbing away at our current USB ports for the foreseeable future.