Next-gen USB connector will be reversible, support USB Power Delivery

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The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) on Wednesday announced that the upcoming USB 3.0 specification would come with a brand new connector that is smaller, as well as reversible. This puts it on an equal footing with Apple's Lightning connector, which works regardless of which way connectors are plugged in. The news is an excellent step forward as USB has traditionally used one-way plugs in a bid to keep manufacturing costs as low as possible.

According to various reports, the new plug will be similar to the existing Micro-B connector measuring 6.85 by 1.8 millimeters [Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) Lightning connector measures 7.7 by 1.7 millimeters]. USB-IF says the new connector will work at 10Gbps with USB 3.1, and is also compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2. Most importantly, it will also support the new USB Power Delivery (USB PD) standard.

As we reported earlier, the USB PD specification delivers up to 5 amps and 100 watts. This is sufficient to power most laptops and LCD monitors, including all smaller USB peripheral devices, tablets and smartphones. In comparison, competing standards such as Thunderbolt supplies just 10 watts of power to connected devices.

The obvious downside would be the inevitable transition period where users will have to sort through multiple types of connectors: Full-sized USB, mini-USB and micro-USB connectors. In the long run though, there is now much to look forward to in USB 3.1 beyond a mere speed bump.

For more:
- check out this article at Apple Insider
- check out this article at Engadget

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