USB Type-C spec finalized but no word on when it will launch

usb type c

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has now finalized the spec for a new connector and cable, USB Type-C, that is much smaller than current USB ports and cables. It is also designed to offer reversible plug and cable orientation, meaning that users will be able to insert a USB Type-C cable in its supported port in either direction.

The port will support USB 3.1, otherwise known as SuperSpeed USB, which will offer data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps. The port will also support power delivery up to 100W. However, the new connector and cable design does meant that current USB devices will have to use adapters to use the Type-C products.

This news means that at some point, many upcoming smartphones, tablets, notebooks and desktop PCs will have USB Type-C ports, which could make them easier to use for consumers. The only catch is that it may be a little while before the first products are released with USB Type-C connections. Today's announcement gave no indications of a launch date for the new spec.

Source: USB 3.0 Promoter Group


Reader comments

USB Type-C spec finalized but no word on when it will launch


People who need it. Most users probably don't need usb 3.0, b but there are people who do, just like they're are people who will need usb 3.1 and thunderbolt 2.

actually tunderbolt can reach up to 20 Gbit/s and while USB 3.1 has a top speed of 10 Gbit/s but it has a huge header which causes it to only has an actual speed of 7.2 Gbit/s

but thunderbolt has some security issues because of it's direct connection to the south bridge

and finally most drives can't run at those speeds

Apart from the adapters.... This looks like a FINALLY.,. Now lets hope apple finally adapts to it, in Europe they'll have to ;)

I am no Apple fan but lets give credit where it is due and get this straight - Apple beat the rest of industry by coming up with a reversible small size connector (aka lightening connector) by more than a mile. It annoys the hell out of me when I have to look at the phone to see what way the microUSB is before plugging in. Apple's Lightening connector is a great - just like Nokia's addition of wireless charging to windows phone is great!

Just a heads up, Magsafe wasn't 100% Apple. Get the facts right man. They took an existing product and made it their own.

It's not hard to beat standards when you have no consideration for compatibility and only build for one piece of hardware. The power of USB is not its individual spec, it's its versatility and broad reach.

But... Now this will make the lightning look like a snail, so USB wins again thanks to being patient and waiting until it's completely done and future proof.

I remember around 1998 a pc magazine editor said "usb failed", and later someone said "bluetooth failed ... nobody care about it" :-)

And yet the first-gen Surface Pro and RT power connector is awful. Much less pleasant to connect than USB, to say nothing of the same non-standard issue that Apple devices bring.

I wouldn't say it's awful, but they certainly could have done better (like what they did for Surface 2 and especially SP3 which is great).


However, the incompatiblity point doesn't really apply to the Surface devices since USB doesn't provide enough power to charge a device that size and there is no standard for charging laptops and larger tablets that draw more power than USB provides.  Apple's MagSafe connector for MacBooks is no more or less prorprietary that any other laptop charger out there so no problems there.  It's the lightning connector on their phones that is annoyingly proprietary. 

Certainly they did improve the charger on subsequent models, which is nice. The first one is too difficult for my kids to reliably plug in/attach, and that's entirely due to design. At least Microsoft learned and fixed the issues, but it still annoys me on a regular basis since we still use the original Surface and Surface Pro at home.

You're right about previous USB standards not providing enough power for laptops, etc.. Glad the new USB standard will fix that.

I don't know your phone, but my Lumia came with a micro USB cable that has a small notch on one side of the plugg. Because of that low tech solution, I can always connect it to the phone in the the right orientation the first time, even without lights. Am I a super man? I don't think so, hehe. Reversible cables are fine, but not really a necessity in this case, and in the case of Apple's solution, I think it must be extremely easy to get dirty with finger oil and other things, as the contacts are totally exposed. And the absurd price they charge for a cable is... well... very Apple (Sad that MS is learning from that with Surface accesories)

or they do..

when you move the controler chip and put it inside the cable, there are 2 problems;

1- the cables are going to be expensive...

2- they are going to fail more often, and then again, expensive to replace them..

Do they met the minimum speed and quality standards for the lighting? I'm willing to bet that they don't..
It's the same when you buy a 1$ micro USB cable, you never know what you gonna get :D

Do they met the minimum speed and quality standards for the lighting cable standards? I'm willing to bet that they don't..
It's the same when you buy a 1$ micro USB cable, you never know what you gonna get :D

By that logic then the cables cost about the same, lightning is no more expensive because if you won't buy a cheap lightning cable then you also wouldn't buy a cheap micro usb cable.

The thing is that one has a controller chip inside it, and the other the controller it's inside the device.. One normally have a decent controller, the other, who knows? do you understand my point now? Don't expect to buy a cheap lighting cable and have a decent controller inside it.. It costs money to manufacture and pay royalty's for the technology..

Hopefully this will help Apple switch from Lightning connectors in the future. I'm sick of seeing $30 adapters. Also, I've been hoping for something like this for a while now.

Apple could switch any time they wanted.  They use their own adapter so they can have their own chargers and adapters to sell at the prices they set.

Yup. Apple always had to pull a "Sony" and do something proprietary to get the extra cash. Pretty lame.

You realize people couldn't put in other headphones until the adapter came out in March-ish, right? Because there was no 3rd party adapter for it at launch.

I wouldn't mind Apple / Sony padding their pockets a bit after the primary sale of a product if that primary sale wasn't already the highest priced item on the market.

It's like they are screwing us twice... for no other reason than we keep asking for more.

I really think we need to start factoring the TOTAL cost of ownership of a product before we buy it.

Sony does it so that hopefully their proprietary solution becomes the standard, then they can collect royalties. They aren't trying to be different for no reason. Granted, they scored with BluRay during the HD-DVD\BluRay format wars, those two companies (Apple and Sony) are notorious for offering proprietary connectors, technologies, where there is already a working accepted standard just to hope sales become popular enough that they can reap some extra cash. Apple with their own connectors and special codecs and Sony with their gotta be different formats. it's all about the cash. I'll stick to something that utilizes standards. Windows put out Plug and Play just for that reason. Get your item on the HCL before they ship and you're good to go, you may need a USB cable but you can get those anywhere. If I'm asked to fork out $30 - $40 bucks for crap I can only buy from a genius at an apple store, that's some serious BS. The funny part is, there are plenty of people that just don't know any better, and when the de facto smartphone choice for the uninformed is an iphone, then you can almost guarentee being able to rape each customer for at least two years. Sad. And that's why I'm in the Microsoft camp.

As I have mentioned places still lightning cables for as little as 5 bucks here, if someone is stupid enough to pay 30 instead of shopping around then they deserve to be shafted on the price.

As the manufacturing price is higher than other cables, it means that the selling price must be higher too. If they lower the selling price to the equal of cables that are cheaper to manufacture, that could indicate a lower quality product.

Yes, you can find the cables for $5 where you live. Elsewhere, people cannot. It is not about being stupid (not that there isn't more than enough of that to go around).

It's also for psychological reasons.. It makes consumers of Apple products feel as if their products are exclusive, or special... Lol! It sounds funny, and petty, but on some level it's true.... Apple knows what they're doing...

Yup. I'm so sick of the Apple fan boy culture. They think Apple's s*** don't stink, but their hardware is no better than anything else. I had an iPod 3G back in the day and had to send it back to Apple 10 TIMES for service!! They replaced it 4 times, each a new lemon. I'll never pay for Apple products again, and certainly not at their inflated prices.

I do not like apple products because their very complicated ease of connectivity and very much higher pricing. Why the heck I would pay more if I can get it at less.

There's gonna have to be a higher voltage at some pins because if they keep 5V at the power pins they'll have have to carry 20A

Hey, fraztto... Leave the engineering to the guys who get paid to worry about it... Just let us enjoy the final result, and dream about it in the meantime... :-o

I was wondering that, carrying that level of current would presumably be a little dangerous (it was a long time ago that I studied electronics though so I know almost nothing on the subject). Even iPad chargers which are pretty fast charging only provide about 12 watts right? I might go and see if I can read up on this out of curiosity

The spec calls for 20V @ 5A which is far more managable. The wires required for 5V @ 20A would make the connector and cable very expensive.

Yes, but only if the battery can handle it. Otherwise, sure it will charge fast, but deplete fast too... I.e. Using a 2amp charger on a 1 amp phone will charge it faster, but it does die faster as well.

Faster charging is one advantage.  The other advantage is that 100 watts is enough to charge any laptop or tablet.  This could allow future laptops and tablets to standardize on USB 3.1 cables and chargers instead of each one having a proprietary charger.  It would be very much like phones are today with micro USB charging (except iPhones).  You would be able to borrow anyones charger to charge your laptop/tablet.

Hoping this opens up for external graphics cards on a wider scale. Would be awesome to ditch the stationary in favor of an ultrabook or Surface Pro and dock it to a more powerful GPU and screen for more serious gaming.

Indeed they do, search for MSI GUS II for example. They're not common though and the GUS II uses thunderbolt which unfortunately is not very common on ultrabooks, or at least wasn't when I was shopping for one.

Also, keep an eye out for the Silverstone XG2 Station. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

Edit: Seems the MSI GUS II might be hard to find as well, they exist but I can't find any retailer that actually sells them... sorry for bringing your hopes up. =/

I wonder if this is what the Surface Pro 4 will use, since the Pro 3's thinness seemed to be limited by the USB port.

Same with the Surface 2.

But while it would be awesome to have a Pro 4 as thin and light as an iPad Air (Thanks to USB type C and Intel Broadwell chips: I don't want to lose my full size USB for all my legacy stuff.

I'll just take a bigger battery, haha!

are you surethe usb is limiting the thinness? i bet it's more to do with the core processor and fan. what a thin usb will allow is to make it thinner at the edges to give the illusion it is a vsry thin tablet, like what apple does with macbook air and imac.

I never thought about it like that! I knew the processor and fan play a part in the thinness, but since the Pro 3 has so many custom parts I thought they could do the same thing for the Pro 4 with the new USB. However, also based on what SwimSwim said, I think they might not even use the new USB in the Pro 4 because there will be seemingly nothing to connect to in comparison to all the existing USB devices.

I was wondering the dame thing but I'm afraid future Surface Pro will use full sized USB-A ports. However, it may be possible to use this on the power side since the main advantage of the magnetic power connector is quick(SP3) and self detachment in case of getting pulled from the table. SP3 is already very thin, any thinner and you will compromise strength. I would rather have a drop proofed SP than a 2mm thinner SP that breaks whenever i accidentally drop it on the floor.

This is going too slow. TOO SLOW!
Don't people in the tech industry realise if they don't inovate and spread that inovation quickly they will loose money. Their money depends on it.

Nobody's forcing you if you don't want to. I want my phone to be preety high end. Not that I have a lot of money to throw everytime they invent something, but I just like living on the edge.

Think about how much computers use USB 3.0, not much to be honest. And it was introduced a long time ago.

Phones are even worse, now it's about 3.1 and this C-type thingy and I still haven't even SEEN 3.0.

That's mostly because USB 2.0 was "good enough" for most things. 

This needed cable change may push 3.1 faster.

I have not seen a computer that costs more than $300 come out in e last 2 years not come with usb3. This is wrong. But I see your point.

It's for people who don't want to be late in the game, and buy the phone, and a month later, the new one comes out, not for people who own a phone, and a better one comes out a few months later.

No, people in charge of bringing these things to market don't see what you do... Not engineers, accountants, or CEO's... No. The world is waiting for your knowledge, so show us how it's done, Rio.... ;-)

Politicians who are in the pockets of lobbyists. I'm guessing Apple etc. earn a lot of money on their overpriced cables.

As someone who used to crawl under desks and try to plug in USB cables in the correct way in the dark I say WOOHOO!!!!

I would assume that computers will have the old USB ports as well new ports to support the new type. Then it would be reversable on both ends.

That's what they did for USB 3.0 anyway. New computers are coming with USB 3.0 ports and USB 2.0 ports, it's just that they are the same type of port so you can use either type of cable in either port and it adjusts speeds to match.

Plus connect to other devices on a network via WiFi. I don't really understand why this isn't a common feature of all phones.

Oh well ... I guess that's what happens when you have your head full of work. I off course meant the Type-C connector.

Looking forward to all The questions of why host x and host y or client a and client b don't compute together.

THANK GOD FOR IT BEING REVERSIBLE! I am always shit out of luck when it comes to plugging in USB cables into my desktop. Hooray for technology!

Just what the world needs, yet another connector type.  Throw away all your old stuff and buy buy buy!

Let's be honest here, the USB standard has probably served consumers better than any other connector type.  I think it's perfectly acceptable that it gets modified once-in-a-long-while.

Yep. There's an adjustment phase, but it allows for better and more convenient products to come along. I guess some people are just very conservative-minded when it comes to electronics.

Seriously, the Surface 4 Pro *must* come with a Centronics connector port, or it will be a total failure. This USB fad has gone on quite long enough.

Not to mention that USB 2.0 and 3.0 will still be around for a LONG while. Computers will come with the new type as well as the older type for years until most everything using the old type dies.

I get the point in improving tech. But I never understood why people get so annoyed about the current usb's. It can only fit one way, and its not hard to figure it out.

Totally not annoying that I scratch up the side of my device when I try to plug the cord in during low-light conditions or when I forget to look... But seriously, it's an issue that could have been anticipated and prevented during the design phase.

While possibly great for external memory storage, I can forsee nightmares with devices that still use a hardware connection like non-wifi printers. Most of those already have issues with 3.0, and people are unwilling to pay the higher prices to get those devices up to the higher spec connection.

Not all of them, and many of your newer PCs and Macs are coming with only 3.0 ports. And on the ones with both, I've seen some conflicts with the USB drivers not able to step down or install correctly, even when connected to the 2.0 ports.

Too little too late? I don't see anything replacing USB any time soon. Thunderbolt is not widespread enough and far too expensive. And wireless just doesn't cut it yet for ease of connection and reliability.

The same people who cry about replacing cables are the same ones who cried about DVDS replacing vhs. I'm sorry you had to replace your records and cassettes as well. Wait, no I not. I welcome useful new shit, not cry about it.

A buddy of mine was just showing me a monitor on the market today that's running on USB power and data. This could make it more mainstream.

#corrections "cable design does MEAN current USB . . ." article has "meant." thanks for the post. First I've heard of the new standard other than people saying it would work plugged in up or down.

100W over such a tiny connector? That's pretty cool, but I hope we don't see a return of 'fire wire' like burnout issues.
On the plus side, at 100W we could charge everything from smart phones up to laptops!

Wau, super idea. I just wonder if is there any need of intelligent logic in cable? Because when Apple introduced this reversible cables, they had to do it intelligent...

There is something strange.. "The port will also support power delivery up to 100W" for what i know.. 100w at 5v is something like 20A of electric current.. How they can accomplish this without melting the cable??

Apparently there are going to be some pins that run at 20v.  So those lines would only carry 5 amps.  I'm not sure if that is correct, but I read it elsewhere a while back.

Year but those aren't Apple products and could terminate your warranty if they cause a problem. There will always be generic solutions down the road.