THE USB IMPLEMENTERS FORUM has finalised the standard for the USB C interface after two years of planning.
As we reported last December, the USB C standard includes a number of big changes that will bring it into line with modern devices.
The biggest change is the new USB C socket that is designed to replace the USB A and micro USB connectors and features an equilateral plug design for the first time. This means that it can be inserted in either orientation, bringing it into line with Apple's proprietary Lightning connector.
The new interface encompasses the USB 3.1 standard, which has had its bus power provision future proofed with scalable charging and a power rating of up to 100 Watts.
Data transfer can reach the new Superspeed USB standard of 10Gbps, and all this from an interface that is roughly equivalent to the traditional USB B in size. The USB B socket has fallen out of favour in recent years, but you'll probably find one on the back of your printer, while the USB C connector is flat like the Thunderbolt or micro USB connector.
There is a downside to all this innovation. While USB 3.1 is backwards compatible, the USB C connector is, for obvious reasons, not. Until the world's hardware has had a chance to catch up, adapters and transformers will be the order of the day as legacy accessories connect to newer host devices and vice versa.
The new reversible USB C connector design is ideal for the left handed, trapeze artists, or those living in the southern hemisphere. It is not known at this stage whether the data will flow the other way through the cable if it is plugged in upside-down. µ