First images of reversible USB cables emerge

USB Type-C plug will initially sport up to 10Gpbs data transfer speeds

The ubiquitous USB cable that has always required users to plug it in "right side up" will soon get a welcome upgrade: a symmetrical plug similar to Apple's Lightning connector.

A presentation by Intel this week showed the new USB Type-C cable specification, expected to be completed by July. The new spec will initially use existing USB SuperSpeed 3.1 and USB 2.0 technologies, according to the USB Implementers Forum.

An artists rendition of what the new USB Type-C cable and port will look like (Source: Intel).

The USB Type-C Connector is a new design created to work with emerging product designs with smaller ports.

Unlike today's USB connectors, which requires a user to correctly orient the plug, USB 3.1 Type-C cable is reversible. Initially, the USB 3.1 Type-C specification will support up to 10Gbps data transfer speeds.

The new USB cable and plug is similar in size to existing USB 2.0 Micro-B plugs now used in some smartphones and other mobile accessories.

The Type-C connector and cable will support scalable power charging in order to grow with future USB bus performance requirements. The first iteration will have a 5 volt power transfer rate, but that is expected to deliver up to 100 watts for higher power applications.

An artist's rendition of the new USB Type-C port (Source: Intel).

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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