The last time we talked to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the governing body for USB, it was back at CES 2014. At the time the USB-IF was showing off their plans for USB 3.1, an updated version of USB set to double USB’s throughput from 5Gbps to 10Gbps. The USB-IF was also using CES to discuss their plans for the new Type-C connector, a small, reversible connector that would be designed to replace the existing standard (large) and micro connectors on hosts and devices alike, while also doing away with the frustrations of trying to properly orient a USB plug the first time. However at the time the USB-IF was still finalizing the design for the Type-C connector, so while they could discuss their plans they didn’t have a final connector to show off.

Catching up to today, while the USB-IF still hasn’t finalized the Type-C connector, they have for the first time released renderings of what they’re expecting the connector to look like. Since it’s intended to replace standard and micro devices alike, it comes as no surprise then that the Type-C connector looks a lot like today’s USB 2.0 Micro-B connector, with concessions made to make the connector reversible and to house the additional pins that are necessary. We’re told the connector is 8.3x2.5mm, which makes it larger than USB 2.0 Micro-B, but still smaller than the wider Micro-B connector for USB 3.0.

Images Courtesy The Verge

Meanwhile in the USB-IF’s rendering of the socket itself, we can clearly see that Type-C will still be using tongues in the socket, with the pins once again organized around the tongue. There had been some speculation that Type-C would do away with tongues and be similar to Apple’s Lightning connector, but this is clearly not the case.

As exemplified by the USB-IF’s render and in their previous statements, the USB-IF is intending for this connector to be a long term replacement for hosts and devices alike. So while we’ll still see Type-A connectors on hosts for some time, the idea is to eventually replace those with Type-C connectors, just as how devices will move to Type-C. The ultimate idea being that once that transition is complete both hosts and devices will use the same connector, doing away with the differing ports and asymmetrical cables of today.

The USB-IF is anticipating completion of the Type-C specification in July, which means we could be seeing Type-C cables and design by the end of this year.

Source: CNET

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  • tilandal - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    That's a great idea. The only problem is exposed power pins are a big UL no no. There is an easy solution though, to protect the pins you could just put a shield around it. Oh wait that's exactly what a tongue is.
  • Peeping Tom - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    Replacing the standard A connector? Good luck. All current PCs and laptops use Type A and by the time they could phase it out in favor of Type C, a faster cable type or standard will have arrived.
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    Hrm, is a little confusing that the image doesn't show an A<=>C cable and calls it "USB 3.1." Sure hope existing laptops, etc. will be able to work with Type C gadgets, and laptops will Type C ports can use them to talk to A/B gadgets.
  • ivan256 - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    Hopefully the physical connector will last several generations as USB-A connectors did.

    Too bad they didn't come up with something more physically robust than current USB cables though.
  • asuglax - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    I would really like to see most devices going forward ship with Type-C connectors and include small Type-C to female Type-A connectors in the short term. Not only does this enable future compatibility with other Type-C devices, but it also opens up design space with the smaller ports. Also, if I'm not mistaken (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong here), the Type-C spec includes functionality to auto-negotiate which device is the host, eliminating the need for USB On-the-Go (OTG).
  • solipsism - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    What's your reasoning? The Type-A connector has been around for a very long time and there is no reason that Type-A and the proposed Type-C can't live side-by-side on the same devices for many years before the Type-A connector becomes outmoded.
  • ivan256 - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    Really? Tongue in the socket again? Is this just a stubborn refusal to admit Apple did something well, or are they trying to produce a low cost/low rent connector at the expense of reliability?

    USB1/2/3 ports can have the tongue easily ripped out by people tripping on the cords and pulling to the side, as any PC tech will tell you. It's a design that is easily improved, and if they're going to break physical compatibility anyway, there is really no excuse. The connector should either be Lighting style, or Thunderbolt/Mini-DP style (but reversible).
  • iwod - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    Yes, I would rather Apple somehow works with USB-IF to bring Lightning Port Design as the new Type C Standard.
  • A5 - Thursday, April 3, 2014 - link

  • WARPEDXYKEE - Friday, April 18, 2014 - link

    You don't realize that Apple is running this standards committee. The "lightning" connector did not have enough pins and was in need of an upgrade, Apple took over and dominated the "C" connector definition.

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