In the future, you will be able to connect any USB cable to a USB port without worrying whether the connector is facing “up” or “down.” In other words, future USB cables will have reversible connectors.
The specification that’s going to make that possible – USB Type-C Specification – is being worked on by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which will release a final standard by mid-2014.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group draws its membership from Intel, HP, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics and Texas Instruments. According to the group’s press release, which you may read here (PDF file):
The new USB Type-C connector, built initially on existing USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 technologies, is being developed to help enable thinner and sleeker product designs, enhance usability and provide a growth path for performance enhancements for future versions of USB
The new standard will bring the following benefits:
- An entirely new design tailored to work well with emerging product designs
- New smaller size – similar in size to the existing USB 2.0 Micro-B
- Usability enhancements – users will no longer need to be concerned with plug orientation/cable direction, making it easier to plug in
- The Type-C connector and cable will support scalable power charging
- Scalability – the connector design will scale for future USB bus performance
A USB cable with a connector that can be used across all devices will be very welcome indeed. But it’s still at least two years before it reaches the marketplace, so don’t go asking for it at your local electronic store this holiday shopping season, or the next.