Why USB Type-C is the future

January 29, 2017

I've finally decided that I'm going to get one of the new MacBook Pros after being very pleasantly surprised during my first hands-on experience. I will blog about my new notebook later when I receive it, right now my main concerns is connectivity, or the lack thereof. I have to find ways to adapt to having only 2 x USB Type-C connectors (no pun intended). What is USB-C anyway, you may ask?

What is USB Type-C?

USB Type-C is a type of connector that is used to transfer data between devices. It's not a USB version, which are given whenever transfer speeds are increased (notable versions were 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1), it's actually just the plug, of which there are many types (Type-A, Type-B, Type-C, as well as Mini and Micro versions of the same). The most famous and most widely used on laptops so far is the standard Type-A (with versions 2.0 and 3.0), the standard Type-B is commonly used for connecting printers, while the Micro B version is very commonly used in smartphones as well as DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras. Type-C is new, it was introduced in 2013, and first adopted in 2015 with Apple's MacBook. Despite this, it's by far the most versatile and promising of them all, and will definitely be the future. I have made an overview of the history of USB and Thunderbolt, a technology that is known for much faster transfer speeds, you can see it here.

As you can see, with the introduction of USB 3.1 (Gen 2), we've reached transfer speeds of Thunderbolt 1, which is amazing. However, the new USB Type-C connector is also used for Thunderbolt 3, which is 4 times faster than Thunderbolt 1 and USB 3.1 (Gen 2). And both of them are supported in the new MacBook Pros, which is amazing. Being a geek, this is the most appealing thing about opting for one of the new MacBook Pros. I just love USB Type-C, it's capabilities, and how it will transform computing. For that I can accept a little bit of dongle life.

Why is USB Type-C so great?

USB Type-C is so great, because it incorporates all the interfaces that required their own connector before: Bi-directional power, USB (3.1/3.0/2.0), Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, VGA and Lightning. It's basically one port to rule them all, and it opens up amazing possibilities in the future. However we are not there yet, because a lot of devices such as external hard drives, pen drives, SD-card readers, monitors, smartphones, and tablets do not support it yet. Moving on to the USB-C train is a bit of a pain right now, because it requires lots of dongles, but Apple is definitely serious about pushing the industry forward and had to make such a radical move to strip the new MacBooks off all the legacy ports except the classic headphone jack. This will definitely speed up the adoption of USB-C, but it might still take a few years before we see most new computers and peripherals come with it, and a few decades before the current USB-A is completely replaced. I can't wait for this to happen, and I would be really psyched, if the iPad and the iPhone would've moved to USB-C one day. I'm willing to do the jump now, and get a taste of the future.

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