What is USB-C?

For a few days the USB-C standard has been haunted by the press without explaining exactly what USB-C actually is. is USB not equal to USB? Are there advantages to USB-C and can you upgrade your PC or laptop to the new standard? What can USB Type-C and whom is USB-C? These questions are now being clarified!

Apple announced the introduction of the new USB-C ports when introducing the 2015 MacBook models. Just a few days later, Google announced that the new version of the Chromebook pixel will also be shipped with USB-C ports. USB Type-C is not a single-aisle of Apple, but a new industry standard!

What is USB-C?

USB-C was adopted as standard in August 2014 by a panel of the USB implementors forum (USB-if), which will replace all other USB connectors in the long term. Unlike the previous USB connector, which is available in variants type-A, type-B and micro-B with transmission standards from 1.0 to 3.1, USB-C not only defines the transmission speed but also sets a new shape for the USB connector. This means that in addition to the well-known USB connector in different sizes, USB-C will introduce a completely new design.

USB-C or USB type-C is called the following:

Adapted to new products

Rugged enough for laptops and tablets, thin enough for smartphones

Size is equivalent to USB 2.0 Mirco-B

Improved usability-USB Type-C can be inserted on both sides

Supports various charging currents

Scalability to ensure future security

Supports future speed of transmission

Resistance: 10,000 Cycles

Current: 3a for standard cables and 5a for connection plugs

Plug size: ~ 8.4 mm x 2.6 mm

USB-C also supports the USB 3.1 transmission standards. This means up to 10 Gbit/s of data as well as power output of up to 100 watts for charging smartphones up to laptops.

What does USB-C look like?

USB Type-C is oval and is supposed to clean up the previous problem of the USB connector. With the new plugs there is no more up and down. USB-C can be inserted from both sides. The new connection should be so small that it can also be used in smartphones and tablets. With about 8.4 mm in width and 2.6 mm in height, USB-C is about the same size as the previous Mirco USB port, which is installed in most Android smartphones – without being compatible with the plug-in connection.

Can I upgrade to USB-C?

Yes and no. There will be adapters that allow USB-C cables to be connected to a conventional USB port on the laptop – for example, if the new smartphone can use USB-C, but the laptop does not. That said, there is a backward compatibility of USB-C to old USB ports. The USB connector on the laptop will not be replaced. The desktop computer looks a little different. For these, it will probably give expansion cards to buy.

Do I need a new laptop now?

Rather not. As of March 17, 2015, only the new MacBook and the Chromebook pixel with USB-C have been announced to date. Future smartphones will also use USB Type-C instead of the previous Mirco-B. There is also the possibility that Apple will switch from the Thunderbolt to USB-C for the iphones, but these are all speculations. Furthermore, as mentioned above, USB-C devices can be connected to conventional USB connectors, as stated above.

What does USB-C support?

The new port is intended to be much more versatile in connectivity and can transmit other protocols as well as data connections. The new standard supports:

USB 3.1 and all previous generations up to a maximum of 10 gbits/s




Current (20v at 5a = 100 watts)

Everything USB can do so far, for example Ethernet

The accessories industry will be pleased. USB-C allows adapters and connections of various kinds via USB instead of having to accommodate additional ports in the notebook or PC. In this way, HDMI or network connections can be made via a USB-C adapter with the display or network.

Apple has added several USB-C adapters to the range with the introduction of the new MacBook. Without these, previous USB sticks or external USB hard drives can no longer be connected to the new MacBook, as the notebook will only bring a USB-C port as the only connection ever. A USB-C to USB adapter will be charged at a close 20 euros while a USB-C-Digital-AV-multiport adapter is already 90 euro due.

What are the disadvantages of USB-C?

Not everything is rosy in the future. The prices for the adapters are a disadvantage. As always, early adopters are being asked to pay a hefty cash. This applies to new hardware and adapters. This will, however, be relativized over time. Manufacturers may supply suitable accessories, you don’t want to annoy your customers.

Also the size of USB type-C is a disadvantage for manufacturers of super thin devices. USB-C is minimally larger than Mirco USB which means some manufacturers will have to contend with the space. Manufacturers of laptops will have these problems less.

Personal opinion

There was a shouting through the media world when Apple presented a few days ago the new MacBook with only a single USB type-C connector. But somehow it was the same outcry as the first MacBook Air, which also dispensed with many of the previous connections. Many things are going on wireless thanks to WLAN and Bluetooth today. In addition, more and more data is stored in the cloud, which in the meantime reduces the number of peripherals connected to the computer. Whether a USB-C port will be sufficient, the user must decide for himself.

USB-C is definitely the right step forward. In particular, since at last the 50/50 chance of plugging in is eliminated. The transition from one to the next standard will be a bit painful as always, either through missing or expensive adapters, driver problems or manufacturers that initially refuse to accept a new standard. At some point this process will be done and the broad masses will enjoy the advantages of a uniform USB type-C connection.