New reversible USB plug promises end to cable confusion

Next generation of USB plugs will be the size of a micro USB, but reversible like Apple's Lightning connector

The technology consortium in charge of the USB standard has announced that development has begun on the next generation of USB plugs.

The announcement has delighted technology enthusiasts across the world for one very simple reason: the new ‘Type-C’ plugs will be reversible, meaning that users will no longer have to fiddle with USB cables to find the correct orientation to plug them in.

The bad news is that the new standard will not be compatible with any current USB ports, including micro USBs. Instead it will be closer in design to Apple’s reversible Lightning connector, with a slimmer profile “to help enable thinner and sleeker product designs.”

In a press release, Alex Peleg of Intel welcomed the new standard as it “will enable an entirely new super thin class of devices from phones to tablets, to 2-in-1s, to laptops to desktops and a multitude of other more specific usage devices.”

“This new industry standards-based thin connector delivering data, power and video is the only connector one will need across all devices,” said Peleg.

Brad Saunders, chairman of the USB promoter group said, “the new Type-C connector will fit well with the market’s direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB.”

The new plug is slated for industry review next year, with a final specification published in the middle of 2014. Following this, manufacturers will be able to incorporate the new standard into their designs.

The new USB standard will be similar in size to the micro USB plug but will be reversible like Apple's Lightning connector (above).  

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