Even if you’ve only got a few technological devices, you’ve probably got a rat’s nest of cables strewn around your home: power cables, USB cables, monitor cables, and so on. But someday in the not-too-distant future, you may finally be able to get rid of a bunch of the cables crammed into your desk drawer, thanks to the new USB Type-C standard that’s starting to make its way to market.
No, USB Type-C won’t vaporize those old cables into oblivion, but it will end up eventually replacing what many of them can do. Right now your laptop has separate ports for power, video, and USB, but USB Type-C can actually handle all three of those over a single cable at the same time. Google’s latest Chromebook Pixel has USB Type-C ports alongside traditional USB ports, while Apple’s new MacBook has a USB Type-C port as its only port (aside from a standard headphone jack).
I know what you’re thinking: Ugh, another new connector. Right now, yes. To take advantage of USB Type-C, currently you’ll need an adapter. But once peripheral makers start producing devices with USB Type-C ports, you’ll be able to buy, say, a monitor with a single, convenient cable that plugs into your laptop and provides both power and a video signal. If that monitor happens to have speakers or an integrated camera, those will be able to work over the same cable, too.
USB Type-C also has a few other advantages: it’s reversible, so no need for trial-and-error when trying to plug it in; it’s much more compact, which means it may be able to replace the mini- and micro-USB connectors used by smartphones; and it’s up to twice as fast as the last version of USB.
The era of ‘one cable to rule them all’ isn’t here quite yet, but nor is it very far off.