Computers

USB-C: The End Of Apple’s Thunderbolt & Lightning Ports?

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Apple decides to ditch all ports on their new MacBook and replace them with USB-C. (Image courtesy of Apple)

In case you were living inside a cave in a secluded mountain, you might want to know that Apple has just unveiled a new MacBook a couple of days ago. It?s not a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, just good ol? MacBook — one that?s thinner than both Air and Pro.

Due to it?s insane thinness, only 13.1mm at its fattest point, the Cupertino-based tech giant decided to reduce its ports to just two: one for a 3.5mm headphone jack and a new USB Type-C port (or USB-C). You won?t even find a separate power connector.

Thunderbolt nowhere to be seen in the new MacBook

When rumors about an upcoming MacBook surfaced online back in January, one feature that seemed ridiculous at the time is the idea of a single port. Instead of multiple holes, there would only be one. It?s even more absurd to think that Apple would integrate USB-C into their new MacBook since that technology has only been introduced in September last year.

Well, it turns out the idea is not that strange, after all. The company?s renowned Thunderbolt connector is gone. It has been dethroned by USB-C; serving as a display output, power connector, and port for USB peripherals all rolled into one. Even the SD card slot has disappeared.

USB Type-C?s small nature leaves us wondering about the future of Apple?s Lightning connector for mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad. What?s good about Lightning is that it replaced the device maker?s traditional 30-pin connector with something that has symmetrical design and able to power a device and transfer data. But all of those neat features are already being offered by USB-C. Furthermore, Lightning will certainly work only on Apple-made products whereas USB Type C is set to be compatible with lots of gadgets from different manufacturer.

USB-C features

So what makes USB-C truly special? Aside from the fact that it?s small enough to make laptops crazily thin (and may even work its way to tablets and smartphones soon), you can insert it without getting the orientation wrong. But we?ll get to that later. What we need to realize first is that the USB Type-C is not a new USB standard in the same way as the previous USB 1.1, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 version or even the latest USB 3.1. Trusted Reviews enlightened us in this area and mentioned that those upgrades are focused on what the connection can relevant to feature enhancements and speed. ?Type-C?, meanwhile, utilizes USB 3.1 technology and is all about physical connection; much like how miniUSB and microUSB works.

Having said those, here?s a quick rundown (delightfully listed by folks from Gizmodo) of the coolest features that make USB-C one of the greatest additions to modern gadgetry.

  • It’s reversible, like Apple’s Lightning cable. No more fumbling to plug it in the right way.
  • It can transfer data at up to 10 Gbps?i.e. 10 times your crazy Google Fiber connection per second.
  • It can do video. Forget specialized video ports like DisplayPort and HDMI (eventually anyway) because Type-C can do that too. And in both directions. A single cable could carry video from phone to PC or PC to phone. Or to TVs, tablets, you name it.
  • It can carry a crapload of power; capable of delivering up to 100w of power.
  • Like all USBs, Type-C is an open standard so it will not be exclusive to any one company or line of gadgets.
  • Type-C is backwards-compatible. You can use with the old ports that are already all around you (if you get an adapter).

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Photo Credit: ?Apple

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