USB-C -ometh: The Next Wave of Apple Products

USB-C photo from Android Central

As technology matures, so do the ports that link our devices. The USB-C is rumored to be built in to Apple’s next generation of Macbook Pros. As the herald for many up-and-coming tech and hardware features–well, in this millenia, anyways–Apple tends to go all-in when it comes to new and new-ish features. Remember the hubbub when iPhones didn’t allow Adobe Flash?

But *particularly* when they have added bonuses. The USB-C will allow the computers to be ultra-slim. At nearly half the size of a standard USB port, this will allow for seamless connection between many mobile devices, cameras, and more. CNET predicts that the laptop will retain HDMI video and 3.5mm audio (they won’t have gone the way of Ethernet and SD card slots quite yet).

Other laptops (read: PCs) have already adapted the USB-C. Dell and HP have integrated into their newer models, albeit with less fanfare than Apple’s receiving. But why is the USB-C becoming so ubiquitous?

  • The size
    As we touched on above, it’s smaller a standard USB connector. To be precise, it’s half the width and a third of the height. For comparison, it’s just a tad larger than a micro-USB connector.
  • It’s reversible
    Have you heard that old joke about how there are three ways to plug in a standard USB? There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the way you tried the first time (if you don’t get it, you’ve never plugged in a USB drive). With the USB-C, it doesn’t matter which way is up. Just plug it in.
  • AND fast
    Typically, smaller and more accessible in the past meant that it was inferior. But this connection can transfer up to 10 GB per second.
  • AND powerful
    The connector can power a laptop, providing up to 100 watts. So phones or any other devices should be no problem.
  • AND flexible
    Get ready to clean out your *cable drawer* because you’ll need to buy new ones. Again. USB-C can handle connections (with modifications) for standard USBs as well as non-USB tech like video, Ethernet, and more.

Where USB-C Falters

It can’t all be good news, can it?

Well, it comes to the classic argument of space, devices and real estate. Granted: with wifi, BlueTooth, and other wireless technologies, cables are less of a concern than in the olden days.* But your wireless mouse still needs a port for the dongle. So does your flash drive, external drives, anything you want to charge or sync (tablet, phone, FitBit, golf watch, you get the gist).

Those are the types of things that are filling up my USB ports, and spilling off onto a hub. So, while USB-C can take on more, it also means that retailers might opt to reduce the more specific ports in favor of this one. Or, if you’re of a more nefarious mindset, to force users to purchase high-priced multiport adapter or a hub.

The market for laptops is outstretching the market for desktops, which means more and more people are relying on these kinds of computers as their primary machine.  Lightness and mobility are valuable features, but not at the expense of user experience.

*And by olden days, I mean 2000.