If you’ve used a USB device before, you’ll definitely have encountered that frustrating occasion where you tried to plug the connector in the other way around. It’s not a big deal, since you just need to flip the cable over and you’ve solved the jigsaw, but it is irritating. The good news is that the next generation of USB connectors will feature a reversible design, so such incidents should disappear.
While the details haven’t been finalized, nor is a picture of it available, we do know that the new connector will be called Type-C. It should be around the size of a micro USB connector, and be added to the existing USB 3.1 specification, which is expected to be finalized around the middle of 2014. For the average consumer, it should seem to function similarly to Apple’s Lightning connector, which is also reversible, and thus more user friendly than the current USB connector.
While progress is good, hopefully some kind of backwards compatibility with current USB ports will be possible, so it won’t make existing USB ports in devices obsolete. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group is already working to include a specification for adapters and cables to safeguard the functionality of existing ports. After all, one of the strongest benefits of USB ports is that they’re ubiquitous.
Work has begun on a new generation of USB that will break compatibility with existing connectors in order to improve ease of use and allow for thinner devices. The new connector, called Type-C, is an addition to the existing USB 3.1 specification and is expected to be finalized by the middle of 2014. There aren’t any images available yet, but Type-C will be around the size of a Micro USB plug and, like Apple’s Lightning connector, will finally be reversible — in other words, no more frustrated attempts to charge your phone with an upside-down cable.