USB-C aka USB Type-C is the latest USB (Universal Serial Bus) standard which was developed along with USB 3.1 (but not same as 3.1). To allow reversible plug orientation, both ends of the USB Type-C cable is same.
The USB-C connector was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), non-profit organization to promote and support the Universal Serial Bus. Notable members of USB-IF include Apple,HP NEC, Microsoft, Intel,etc.,
Features of USB-C :
It leverages highest data transfer rate of 10Gbps. This is double the speed of USB 3.0 standard and far much faster than USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 which had data transfer rate of 12Mbps and 480Mbps respectively. This speed is referred as SuperSpeed+. This bandwidth is sufficient for supporting high throughput displays and multimedia.
Type-C is available with maximum power output of 20V, 5A i.e. 100W. This is the highest power a USB cable can withstand till date and is sufficient for most of the notebooks available. Additionally, the power transfer is bi-directional. That’s why a single receptacle is sufficient for charging the host and also any other device from the host.
We have been using USB cables which have Type-A connector (traditional rectangular one) on one side and Type-B connector (mini or micro) on the other side. They are used for charging and connecting smartphones, cameras and other similar devices; except for Apple devices which use proprietary standard Lightning and Thunderbolt for connection. Type-C has the same connector on both the sides. Moreover, it is symmetric along its x-axis; which means that we don’t have to worry about its orientation while plugging it in.
Type-C port measures just 8.4mm by 2.6 mm which is almost of the same size as that of the Type-B micro USB. This small size makes it suitable for thin devices and wearables.
Which devices are using it?
Apple MacBook 2015 and Chromebook Pixel are the only devices which are using Type-C Connector. Chinese firm LeTV has announced first ever smartphone using Type-C connector. However, release date is unknown yet.
Currently, USB-C accessories by Apple are ranging from $29 to $79. We can expect costs to come down with the advent of more devices in the market.
USB-C has the potential of replacing all the cables we are using currently; including the HDMI, DVI and DispalyPort cables. We can expect future devices to come equipped with Type-C ports. It is truly a standard to replace them all!