updated 06:51 am EST, Wed December 4, 2013
Supplement to USB 3.1 specification could lessen USB cable frustration
Future USB cables will be able to be plugged in upside down, according to details about a future connector's specification. The redesigned Type-C connector will form part of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification," something which will potentially help lessen current frustrations by users plugging USB devices into hubs and computers.
The Type-C connector will be smaller than the current version, with Slashgear reporting that it will be similar to that of the Micro-B USB 2.0 design. Aside from having a multi-orientation design, it will also apparently work with future bus performance increases, as well as supporting "scalable power charging." As part of the improvement, the new connector will not be directly backwards compatible with existing USB sockets, though the design will allow for "passive new-to-existing cables and adapters" to be created as a stopgap measure.
A current USB cable connector
Brad Saunders, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman, advised that the group "recognize the need to develop a new connector to meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability," and that the new Type-C connector "will fit well with the market's direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB."
The specification is hoped to undergo an industry review during the first quarter of 2014, with the final specification expected to be published by mid-2014. Devices using the new connectors will likely emerge some time after, potentially in 2015.