Next-Gen USB Connector Will Be Smaller with Lightning-Style Reversible Plug
Apple’s Lightning connector may have initially been an awkward transition for those accustomed to the legacy 30-pin dock connector, but it’s now the inspiring folks behind the USB spec to adopt some of the same changes.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced this week (PDF link) that development is under way on the next generation of the USB Type-C connector, which will feature a «thinner and sleeker» design.
The biggest change will become immediately apparent as the size is reduced to something like the existing USB 2.0, Micro-B connector, which the organization claims will be «tailored well to work with emerging product designs.»
In addition to supporting «scalable power charging,» the new USB Type-C connector will tip its hat to Apple’s Lightning connector thanks to reversible plugs — users will no longer have to struggle with which way to plug into devices or hubs.
Needless to say, such a sweeping change will create compatibility issues with current USB connectors, but the group promises the Type-C specification will include «passive new-to-existing cables and adapters to allow users to use their existing products.»
The USB Type-C specification is expected to be ready for scrutiny during the first quarter of 2014, with a final specification to be published sometime next summer — which means this time next year, we may very well be using devices that could actually work with the sleeker connector.
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