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  • OreoCookie - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I don't get why they insisted on female plugs, wouldn't you get much smaller and sturdier connectors with something that resembles a Lightning plug? Reply
  • Morawka - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    for backwards compatibility with Micro USB cables Reply
  • OreoCookie - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Ugh. After having so many different mutually incompatible USB plugs (the above picture is missing at least one), why do they care? Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Also cost. The lightning connector for the host and the cable are substantially more complex than this simple connector. Sure, they're sturdier, but they're bulkier and more expensive. USB needs to be incredibly cost effective in order to become a "Standard" Reply
  • hpglow - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I own two Apple devices with lightning connectors and I can attest that it isn't very durable. The official cords tend to last longest. But if even the slightest moisture hits the end it cooks the plating off the end. I know what people are saying... "so don't get it wet". Well for the most part that is no issue. But there is one charging station at the end of my couch and I have a 3 year old. For reference other cables have received worse abuse and continue to charge.

    Plus I'm sure there is some inane Apple patent on anything resembling a lightning connector.
    Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    this a simple connector ? you stupid mental .. haha you know what? go study protocol of this and then come back . na�ve pathetic . Reply
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Type-C plugs and receptacles are not physically compatible with Micro-B plugs. You need to use an adapter. Also, the plugs are still "male" despite being a hole-in-a-post design. I'd reckon that's the sensible way to do it if you want to keep costs down, provide 360º shielding, and not have exposed contacts on a connector that can potentially provide up to 20 V, 5 A. The Type-C design also keeps the moving parts (spring contacts and retention latches) in the cable plug, which is generally easier / less costly to replace should they wear out / break. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    doont worry there will be tons adapters .. Reply
  • Paul Tarnowski - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I haven't looked it up but it might be a patent thing. Which is stupid, but so are most patent things. Except the ones I'm going to apply for -- those are totally necessary. Reply
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    In the USB case the connectors are protected. You can't short them by accident. They are also less likely to scratch, oxidate or get damaged, compared to the Apple lightning plug.

    I expected that those issues aren't important for the lightning plug because the bus works completely different. Each cable must have some sort intelligence (simple IC up to a full ARM SoC) which activates/deactivates the individual pins, to avoid a possible shorting and the likelihood of oxidation. This makes those cables very expensive!
    http://www.chipworks.com/en/technical-competitive-...
    In USB, the cables are simple passive cables and the voltage is always applied to the pins and you can damage your PC by shorting them. So you have to mechanically protect them.

    However, on my search for the inside view of the simple charger cable I stumbled upon the Apple shop.
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD818ZM/A/lightn...
    Now I think, the lightning plug is a mechanical failure. I mean, a failure rate of almost 80% (probably 90% or more, because many people gave just one review but bought several cables already). A lifetime of several months, together with an exorbitant price for a charger cable.
    Now I even find it funny that this didn't lead to a lawsuit yet.

    And yes, Apple hasn't solved the issue with freely accessible supply pins either:
    http://www.zdnet.com/lightning-cables-failing-due-...
    It's a failure by design.

    While the plug seems convenient and idea behind lightning superior, it suffers the same issues smartwatches like the LG G watch has with oxidation and the lightning tech. makes even simple charger cables expensive, even more video cables delivering mediocre, highly compessed, videos:
    http://www.panic.com/blog/the-lightning-digital-av...
    Reply
  • OreoCookie - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Where did you get the numbers on the failure rates, I'm curious? It's always dangerous to extrapolate from personal experience or to try and make statistics from ratings of products on online stores. But the 1.5 star average certainly says something. My first Lightning cable (I keep one in the office and one at home) has some bulges right before the plug from the mechanical stress, but that's not a problem of the plug design but rather the cable itself.

    The only problem I've had was with the actual Lightning connectors was that lint had accumulated in my iPhone's charging port and so it wouldn't charge properly. The iPhone's SIM tool took care of that. (A problem that is to some degree shared by micro USB devices, but those are usually not in my pocket.)

    Moreover, a few years ago my dad's computer was fried by a faulty USB hub, so yes, I'd prefer some protection and not just a dumb cable. But that's a problem which cannot be solved by a new USB plug. While I am not thrilled by the costs of Lightning cables, I think active cables are the way of the future, and that extra costs are mitigated when this fictitious connector becomes ubiquitous.

    I think that the Lightning design is mechanically more robust than, say, a micro USB plug, because it uses way more material. And I'm not sure the casing does anything to prevent oxidation of the contacts, especially if it is used like the majority of USB cables is: they stay plugged into a device.

    You're right that there are problems associated to exposed pins, but I reckon you can take care of those. This USB-C adapter seems DOA to some degree (I currently have four different mutually incompatible USB plugs in my house), because there is a push towards ever smaller devices and very often the limiting factor are plugs (just have a look at MacBook Airs or similar devices, they are not much thicker than the USB plugs). A Lightning-style connector would allow for significantly smaller ports.
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I think it was obvious that I simply took the 1 star reviews from the Apple site and set it in relation to the 5 star reviews to estimate a failure rate according to Apples own online store. Yes, it's inaccurate, but I simply was surprised by the low rating.

    Regarding protection:
    You can also buy a cheap Lightning cable knock off and surely fry your iPhone or iPad with it.
    Every USB port on a proper device is protected.

    According to the chipwork links the Lightning connector does not have some sort of galvanic isolation. So the cable protects your device from overvoltage spikes the same way a passive USB cable does. The mentioned protection is related to Apple, so that 3rd party manufacturers can't produce such cables easily. The mosfets are used to prevent a shortage and corrosion, which isn't necessary on other cables whose contacst aren't exposed.
    Reply
  • sweenish - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    Simply having more material does not make a great leap to more mechanically sound. How is it implemented, what is the material, have the batches been strength tested, etc.?

    You can't make an airplane out of just any aluminum and say you're good just because you used more material.
    Reply
  • steven75 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    "Failure by design." LOLWUT. Haters gonna hate! Reply
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    The failure by design was related to the openly accessible contacts.
    Connections with an applied voltage which can get easily in contact with electrolytes suffer from corrosion. One of the reasons Apple has to implement ICs in the cable.
    Additionally gets oil or dirt much easier on the contacts if you can touch them with your oily dirty fingers adding some resistance to the contacts. This however casuses contact problems, heat and finally destroys the connections.
    Most of the images you can find about the issues with Lightning connector are however related to the fragile cable relief, which is something they can fix.

    But the other thing is a design issue. The corrosion can get slowed down with the active control of voltage in the cable itself. The contact problems however, not. So that's a failure, or issue, by design. Of course the Apple connector has some advantges, too (more rigid) but also serious disadvantages.
    Reply
  • OreoCookie - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Many plugs have openly accessible contact, the ubiquitous copper-based ethernet plugs come to mind. So I think these are problems with a solution. Also the fact that you need silicon to make the cables work doesn't faze me, if it's necessary, it's necessary.

    You're are of right that Apple's design of the Lightning connector comes with trade-offs, but I think they optimized for the right thing, size: with the current USB design, I don't think you can shrink the plug without compromising structural rigidity too much, and size is the most important thing if you want to have a plug that will stay with us for several years to come. It should be the standard plug on anything from an ultra thin Pebble/Whatever Smart Watch to the new Samsung Galaxy S10. Here, I don't think USB-C will deliver. Instead, it'll be the fifth mutually incompatible USB cable lying around (I have two types of big USB cables for external hard drives, a mini USB cable for my dslr and a micro USB cable for my card reader). The fact that you need silicon in the cables is just an implementation detail that won't really matter once they are main stream.

    You write that most images of faulty Lightning connectors feature frayed cables, and I agree. But that's hardly a problem of the plug, but nevertheless should be a problem that's fixed. Especially if cables cost ~$20 a pop, Apple has no excuse to skimp here.
    Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Thursday, September 25, 2014 - link

    please what lightning that is crap useless !! usb is standard and that should stay ! Reply
  • willis936 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    10 Gbps are they joking? That's an optional feature that most people won't be paying for right? Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    1. I think you're confused about the difference between 1Gbps and 1GB/s.
    2. It's not like it's making the product substantially more expensive, you'll be fine.
    3. SSD's today could saturate that fully.

    4. Are you SERIOUSLY complaining about progress? Advancement of technology? Faster speeds?!
    Reply
  • willis936 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I'm intimately aware of what a 10 gig phy is and yes I am complaining about it because it costs a lot more than you think. Do you think faster speeds magically appear because "technology advances". Lower power! Faster speeds! It's copper. You need to charge the channel and no matter how good "technology gets" you're fighting physics. Display techs have taken years to bump past 3 gig, 802.3 has been sitting at 1 gig for roughly a decade. Thunderbolt offered really high speeds and No One Used It because it cost too much for unnecessary speeds. USB wins for low cost and ubiquity. Reply
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    You can't compare USB with Thunderbolt, because the underlying idea of both is totally different! This makes Thunderbolt much more versatile, but also more expensive. Not because of the high transfer speeds, but because of the protocol.
    There's no reason to complain about too fast transfer speeds. Maybe you don't have a use yet, but in 2 or 3 years for sure. Be happy that you don't need a new USB connector then, again.
    Show me (don't just assume) why the step-up to 10 GB/s makes it more expensive.
    And no, faster speeds don't appear magically, they become possible thanks to a lot of research and improvements in multiple areas. But this doen't mean, the hardware becomes more expensive. Sometimes it's just better algorithms, error corrections, optimized protocols which allow huge speed improvements. Not always is a hardware change necessary.
    Reply
  • willis936 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Here's an analogy: you can make really awesome rockets and make better designs every year for a century but it will still always be hard to leave earth's atmosphere. Switching a 1m copper cable at 10 Gbps is the exact same thing. We've been able to do it for a while but it's not on your phone for a reason. It's the same reason you have 100-base-t routers and at best 1000-base-t in your home and not fibre. We all want more speed and would use it if we had it but I'd like my however many billion usb devices to stay cheap. Reply
  • extide - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Dude, this is JUST A CABLE & CONNECTOR, NOT the actual 10gbit PHY or any of the stuff that makes 10gbit expensive! Reply
  • frenchy_2001 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Seconded.
    They designed the *connector* to accept and work at the fastest usb 3.1 speed which is 10Gbps.
    The price difference for that is negligeable if any. It is just good design for your plug to support your highest standard.
    Usb cables are dumb. They are just copper wires with passive plugs. Cost will be low.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    If Type-C cables must support 10Gbps and 3A, they will guaranteed be more expensive than 5Gbps and 1A. As for how much...probably less than a buck in manufacturing, but companies will probably charge a much higher premium. Reply
  • Peeping Tom - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Much of the speed bump comes from just using a different encoding scheme. So cost-wise it should be about the same. Reply
  • willis936 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    So they've found a way to violate Shannon's theorem? Fascinating. Reply
  • spugm1r3 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    The funny thing about standards is that they usually become standard well after the technology is proven. I don't imagine the USB-IF said "You know what be awesome?" and then magic'd up a sweet idea for super fast connectivity that's also universal.

    It's using the USB 3.1 standard, which was announced last year. USB 3.0 was announced in 2008, carried a premium and still has not completely displaced USB 2.0. The main difference here is that USB-C is designed for compatibilty with mobile and desktop applications, in both size and utility, so unlike the shift to USB 3.0, which simply stratified the market, manufacturers can actually save money by switching to USB-C. OEMs like Samsung and Apple, whose products span multiple categories only have to purchase a single connector type in large quantities for all of their products vs. smaller quantities of USB-A, USB-B, USB-B micro, etc... and support a single protocol on future products.

    Adoption will likely occur first on mobile applications, where peripherals are less of a concern. Desktops and laptops will still support USB-B for a number of years to come, but as with all new technologies, halo products will see it first and it will trickle down to the mainstream products. I wouldn't be too concerned with the premium associated, early adopters always pay premiums and the rest of us that buy our products well after the technology is mature just chalk up the price to inflation.
    Reply
  • ruggia - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Wait, so we already advanced to a point where a I am already hitting the very limits of Shannon's theorem with a $10 commodity product? Good to know. Reply
  • willis936 - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    How did you get that out of my reply? I was pointing out that you can't have layer 2 shenanigans make throughput surpass phy rate. If you want 10 gig phy then you need a 10 gig phy. Reply
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    USB 3.0 SuperSpeed has a nominal data rate of 5 Gbit/s but uses 8b/10b encoding so it's really only 4 Gbit/s, and that's before taking any sort of protocol overhead into account. USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus doubles the data rate to 10 Gbit/s AND switches the encoding scheme to 128b/132b to make even more bandwidth available to the upper layers.

    @willis936 The Nyquist frequency for USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus is 5 GHz. Over short cables (1 m is the practical length limit stated by the USB-IF) it's really not that big of a deal for passive copper using shielded twinax, micro-coax, or bonded UTP. My home network has been GbE for 10 years now, and the only reason I haven't bumped up to 10GbE is because the switches are still a bit expensive. 10GBASE-T runs into trouble because you're trying to jam 10 Gbit/s over potentially 100 m of UTP where a good amount of the installed plant is only rated for up to 100 MHz. This means you have to break out higher order modulation schemes and throw a ton of power at it to get anywhere. Phones and tablets already do USB 3.0, HDMI, MHL and MyDP, so 5+ Gbit/s really ain't a thang.

    Interestingly, all Type-C USB 3.1 cables will have 4 differential pairs despite SuperSpeed and SuperSpeedPlus only using 2 pairs. It looks like they built in the potential for future speed increases through bumping up to 15 Gbit/s and/or using multiple channels.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Nyquist frequency? We're not talking about minimum sample rates! (To capture a 5GHz signal, you need to sample at greater than 10GHz.) 10Gbps _is like_ 5GHz when you have 1010 bits. Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    The minimum sampling rate would be the Nyquist rate, not the Nyquist frequency, no? willis936 said: "So they've found a way to violate Shannon's theorem? Fascinating." If you consider a discrete-time system with a sampling rate of 10 GHz, half that, or 5 GHz would be the Nyquist frequency. 2 bits per cycle, right? Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    I think "sampling" is an unrelated topic. When you digitally store an analog waveform, you capture samples, and the highest frequency that will be maintained is 1/2 the sampling rate. 44.1kHz digital audio stores up to 22kHz sounds (minus some for a non-ideal low pass filter...but I'm not audio expert).

    In this conversation we're just talking about a bunch of digital bits. 10Gbps data is similar to a 5GHz clock during the 1010 portions, and intersymbol interference (ISI) will make it even worse. I think Nyquist terms only apply if you're talking about sampling analog waveforms.
    Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I always found it funny that a standard with "Universal" in the name should have so many different variations of the plug. Reply
  • nunomoreira10 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    just like sd cards, the drive circuit is the same but different sizes fit different needs Reply
  • icebox - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    It's the serial bus that's universal, not the plug. Solder the wires directly and it would still be usb. Reply
  • spikebike - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Lets hope the new USB standard actually is durable. Unlike micro-usb connectors that claim 10k insertions, but only under laboratory conditions featuring a robot.

    I've lost phones, cables, and chargers to the plague that is micro-usb.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    In what historical revisionist world can USB 1 be described as a 'massive' plug? Compare it to the parallel or serial ports we were using at the time, or even something like SATA Express today. Sure, its too big for smartphones... but smartphones didnt freakin' exist when it came around, and many smartphone connection todays are comically small/weak.

    Honestly the USB plug 1 is just the right size for a connection to me (for everything but smartphones). Large enough to plug it in by feel alone, small enough to jam 8 of them on an IO panel.
    Reply
  • Paul Tarnowski - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I remember trying to figure out a rail system to use on a smartphone-like device back in college. Essentially it would let you connect as many plugs as could fit within the rail and over 4 lines. Magnets would hold the plugs in place, and the controller would use an IRQ system to address the right device. All I needed was to find a way around the system being shorted by mistake and a controller that ran at over 10GHz.

    In 1999.

    It was a great deal of mental exercise that went absolutely nowhere.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Have they released the pinout yet? I only count 12 pins, which doesn't seem that future-proof given that USB 3 is already 9. Reply
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    More pins doesn't make a serial bus faster!
    The big difference between USB2 and USB3 was the switch from half duplex to full duplex.
    Of course they could stuff another lane (4 additional pins, then you have more or less the layout of Thunderbolt) in the USB bus to double the speed, but I rather expect they want to keep the pin count low to keep the connector simple and the cable thin and flexible. They'll reather improve the protocol, signal analysis, frequency, ... to further increase transfer speeds.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Yes, I know it will only use 9 pins for the foreseeable future but one of the justifications foe the new connector was some level of future-proofing. Reply
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I'm actually fairly impressed this time around. There's D+,D- and Vbus for legacy USB 2.0 functionality, control and sideband use channels, Vconn for powering electronically marked or active cables or accessories, and 4 differential pairs, only two of which are currently used for SuperSpeed or SuperSpeedPlus implementations. The minimum power rating for Type-C cables is 5 V, 3 A, which is much more realistic for the types of applications people expect to use USB for nowadays. There's even a set of pin assignments built into the spec to support an analog audio mode. Reply
  • edzieba - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    12 pins per side for 24 total, assigned dynamically ('upper' pins separate from 'lower' pins, uper and lower determined by handshaking) for USB3.1 and statically ('upper' pins mirror 'lower' pins) for USB 3.0 and below. Reply
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Full pinout an details are available here: http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/usb_31_081114.z...

    The site seems to be getting hammered with all the news today, so it took me quite a few attempts to actually download the entire zip.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Thanks. It looks like they're going with full configurability here - the interface can be adapted to a variety of different use cases - it even has enough configurable pins to support DisplayPort/DockPort or dare I say ... Thunderbolt even. Of course, trying to enable many signaling modes on the same port comes with its own problems, but this opens up some very interesting possibilities! Reply
  • R3MF - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    If they really have kept backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 i hope they have found a more elegant solution than keeping parallel pins as was the case with USB 3.0.

    tell me this is so?

    it would be a terrible waste in what is supposed to be a compact streamlined plug format for micro devices!
    Reply
  • V-600 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    In the third paragraph shouldn't "As some people know, it can take several tries to get a USB cable to connect..." actually say it can take 2 tries to connect? Reply
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    You've clearly not heard of USB Superposition http://cookieshq.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/... Reply
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    I honestly expected that to be part of the article!

    I am disappoint.
    Reply
  • sheh - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Good, it's about time. I always felt having just 4 common plug variants is too few.

    Once they finish finalizing USB-C mini and USB-C micro I hope now they can start work on symmetric HDMI, HDMI mini, HDMI micro, DisplayPort, DisplayPort mini, DisplayPort micro. Maybe add symmetric HDMI-B too, just in case it ends up being used.
    Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I don't think it's really fair to call the USB-A and USB-B connectors "massive." I think we've kind of forgotten what it was LIKE in the old days.

    Yes, they're massive next to a microUSB connector, but... they were so much TINIER than the serial and parallel connectors they replaced! Yes, even the "small" 9-pin serial ports.

    And they LOCKED IN when you inserted them! No more fidgeting with thumbscrews or worrying the cable would fall off if you didn't.

    And they... okay, you still couldn't easily insert them blind, but no one's perfect.

    Anyways, I'm just sayin'... they aren't THAT big.
    Reply
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Ha yes I suppose calling them massive isn't very fair when you look at their age :) But compared to the latest spec, it's a rather big connector for two power and two data lines, especially when it only supported 100 mA on the power lines. But to be fair - 18 years ago was a long time in the tech space. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    I think they're smaller than HDMI connectors, too. I mean, really, it's surprising how well they held up all this time. Those were some amazingly slim connectors. Reply
  • RU482 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    "The first connectors, USB-A and USB-B, were not only massive in size, "

    lol, somebody doesn't remember plugging printers into 25 pin parallel ports. USB A and B were relatively tiny when introduced!
    Reply
  • OreoCookie - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    Or external SCSI plugs … :-D Reply
  • Peeping Tom - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    lol....damn those screws! Reply
  • EvanAdams - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    I am so happy about Type-C. I hate hate hate USB-Micro. I hate at night and in the dark in bed having to figure out which side is up. Having it be flippable will just make my day.The sooner the better Reply
  • GTRagnarok - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    When can we expect devices to adopt this? Reply
  • grahaman27 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    "soon" Reply
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    "do not run" Reply
  • xemone - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Using this reversible microUSB connector as the connector for VESA's new microDP would make this even cooler. You'd have a new custom IC mediating between the port and the PC. The USB 3.1 and DisplayPort signals would be connected to the IC and this Type-C connector on the other end. So no matter which way you plug the cable in, the IC would instantly reconfigure 20 of the 24 pins (2 sides) to DP signals for a DP cable or simply allow the default 12-pin USB 3.1 signals (1 side) to pass through.
    HA! That would be cool!
    Reply
  • xemone - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    1 port and 1 cable that auto-configures for power, data or AV. Maybe two or all three simultaneously! This has to happen! Reply

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