Next-Generation USB Will be Reversible

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Next-Generation USB Will be Reversible

You'll no longer have to worry which way up your USB plug is when you blindly try to plug it in to the back of your computer.

When you try to plug in a USB cable, you have just a 50% chance of doing it the wrong way, and having to turn it around. Why then, does it seem that we try to plug it in upside down every time? USB cable developers have sympathy for our pain, announcing that an upcoming version of USB 3.0 - USB Type-C - will feature a connector that is completely reversible. Hooray!

Apple's proprietary lightning cable is currently already reversible, and this move will eliminate one of the advantages it currently has over USB. Other improvements coming with the new connectors include support for scalable power charging (allowing the cable to offer up to 100 watts), and data speed transfers of up to 10 Gbps, double what is possible at the moment.

The Promoter Group, which agrees on the design of the standard, is currently made up of representatives from Intel, HP, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments.

"Consumers are now demanding thinner and sleeker product designs and the USB 3.0 Promoter Group recognizes this need," said the group's president Jeff Ravencraft. He added that the decision to make the new connectors reversible was "unrelated" to the Apple lightning cable.

"This allows USB to increase performance and continue to deliver ease of use to several evolving product categories for years to come," said Roland Sperlich, from Texas Instruments.

From mice, to microphones, to smartphones, USB is without a doubt one of the most common connectors we use in our lives. Nice to see that it's still moving forward, and finally eliminating some of those niggling issues that have plagued it for too long.

Source: BBC

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I'll miss the days of trying to put in my USB, it won't fit, flipping it over, won't fit, flipping back to the original position. Now it fits.

Pretty sure there are plenty of companies out there who already make this sort of thing, not just Apple.

Oh dammit is a thing? Really? No, I don't try to plug it in upside-down anymore, I haven't for at least a year, maybe two. Well, I understand that innovation is for the sole purpose of the unskiled being able to do what only skilled people did in the past.

I am completely serious about that, innovation is to make these things easier, even if it is the silliest, most trivial, things.

Heheheh... easy USB. Never mind it was THE easy hardware connector. NO MORE! It's not easy enough anymore! BLAARRG!

Somehow, I think I'll still end up flipping the damn thing for 10 minutes blindly behind the computer.

Pebkio:
Oh dammit is a thing? Really? No, I don't try to plug it in upside-down anymore, I haven't for at least a year, maybe two. Well, I understand that innovation is for the sole purpose of the unskiled being able to do what only skilled people did in the past.

I am completely serious about that, innovation is to make these things easier, even if it is the silliest, most trivial, things.

Heheheh... easy USB. Never mind it was THE easy hardware connector. NO MORE! It's not easy enough anymore! BLAARRG!

Oh, c'mon it was so simple to achieve I wonder why it is done only now.
basically doing something like this

IIIT
= =
IIII

T is position identifier and port identifies it and flips functions of connectors if necessary
Although I for some reason think that they found even simpler solution

Oh, yeah, what a relief. Taking an extra 5 seconds with my USB drive was the bane of my life. Now this horrible nightmare will be over and I will finally be happy. Truly we are living in the 21st century.

blackrave:
Oh, c'mon it was so simple to achieve I wonder why it is done only now.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume it hasn't been done because it's so massively trivial that it wasn't worth changing an entire standard just to cut 5 seconds out of plugging something into a computer.

Of course, now it's totally worth it... but don't you dare ask me why because I have no idea...

Clive Howlitzer:
I'll miss the days of trying to put in my USB, it won't fit, flipping it over, won't fit, flipping back to the original position. Now it fits.

Me too. Everyone knows USB connectors exist in 4-dimensional space.

Pebkio:
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume it hasn't been done because it's so massively trivial that it wasn't worth changing an entire standard just to cut 5 seconds out of plugging something into a computer.

Of course, now it's totally worth it... but don't you dare ask me why because I have no idea...

Are you claiming that convenience isn't valid motive for development?
Because if that's the case, then your're wrong.

"Gather round kids *snort, spit*, let ol' pops tell you a story. Back way when, thems USB didn't always fit. Oh golly no... didn't have no fancy new fangled double sided USB. We had to make do with one side... and I'll tell yer... seemed like the wrong side was always the first one you tried..."

Twenty Ninjas:
Oh, yeah, what a relief. Taking an extra 5 seconds with my USB drive was the bane of my life. Now this horrible nightmare will be over and I will finally be happy. Truly we are living in the 21st century.

glad im not the only one thinking the same. Who was demanding thinner usb design, those few seconds dicking around was really that much problem ? lol

blackrave:
Are you claiming that convenience isn't valid motive for development?
Because if that's the case, then your're wrong.

Oh no, of course not, as I said in that first post of mine, I'm a fan of progress. But it has to be a bit of a balance. For instance, value of change vs cost of change.

Now, it seems that a reversable dsign is going to have to be a new design which means that my older hardware will potentially not be able to accept the newer peripherals. Unlike the switch between USB 1 and USB 2, which used the same stadard shape and size. I'd have to buy a converter piece to use new peripherals until I can scrape together enough to upgrade my system.

That's the cost.

The value? I get to avoid the very very slight annoyance of accidentally trying to plug something in upside-down.

Pebkio:

blackrave:
Are you claiming that convenience isn't valid motive for development?
Because if that's the case, then your're wrong.

Oh no, of course not, as I said in that first post of mine, I'm a fan of progress. But it has to be a bit of a balance. For instance, value of change vs cost of change.

Now, it seems that a reversable dsign is going to have to be a new design which means that my older hardware will potentially not be able to accept the newer peripherals. Unlike the switch between USB 1 and USB 2, which used the same stadard shape and size. I'd have to buy a converter piece to use new peripherals until I can scrape together enough to upgrade my system.

That's the cost.

The value? I get to avoid the very very slight annoyance of accidentally trying to plug something in upside-down.

Well, they could design it so it can accept ordinary USB as well
.
.
.
[facepalm]
Oh, right- humanity.
Who am I kidding? It most probably will be half-done and barely functioning at first
Maybe USB 4.0 will do it right.

blackrave:
Well, they could design it so it can accept ordinary USB as well
.
.
.
[facepalm]
Oh, right- humanity.
Who am I kidding? It most probably will be half-done and barely functioning at first
Maybe USB 4.0 will do it right.

Well, that's why I say "potentially". There could be some magic that'll happen, but I don't see how. Our current USB plugs are designed for a single-sideed pin setup and reversable is, as far as I'm aware, dual-sided. Reversable USB cables would never be able to be reversable on my computer's USB ports.

You can't chaulk it up to humanity this time, the two designs are a bit incompatible. It's a big leap, and those are needed sometimes... but not for a petty annoyance. Y'know, I don't actually have any written evidence of this, but I'm pretty sure we had the technology and design knowhow to make USB 2.0 reversable, but it would still be a big change in design standards.

Again, I don't really know how they can justify such a big change for a such a small reason NOW, but it's going to happen, and I'mma head to a hardware store to pick up my USB 3 to USB 2 converter when it does.

Pebkio:

Well, that's why I say "potentially". There could be some magic that'll happen, but I don't see how. Our current USB plugs are designed for a single-sideed pin setup and reversable is, as far as I'm aware, dual-sided. Reversable USB cables would never be able to be reversable on my computer's USB ports.

You can't chaulk it up to humanity this time, the two designs are a bit incompatible. It's a big leap, and those are needed sometimes... but not for a petty annoyance. Y'know, I don't actually have any written evidence of this, but I'm pretty sure we had the technology and design knowhow to make USB 2.0 reversable, but it would still be a big change in design standards.

Again, I don't really know how they can justify such a big change for a such a small reason NOW, but it's going to happen, and I'mma head to a hardware store to pick up my USB 3 to USB 2 converter when it does.

Doubling number of contacts (and speed) would be quite a good reason for changes.
Also current USB design could use only half of port
I'm sure there is a way to make it happen
I just don't know how, yet.

sure sounds good. not that i had a problem with it since i have 2 USB slots in front of my tower and can easily plug in any sticks or other devices knowing how to put it in.
im just wondering if we still can plug in our 2.0 in to it.

Aeshi:
Pretty sure there are plenty of companies out there who already make this sort of thing, not just Apple.

They didn't say Apple was the only company doing this, nor was that overly relevant to the article, just a simple reference as an example to where this can already be found. Apple makes a better example for most people than "random company 12".

the info that got my attention is "up to 100 watts of power"
with the annonced death of firewire, good news for people who like plugging sound interfaces and hard drive on the road.

Yes, change the shape of the plug so we have to rebuy every usb device ever in 5 years if we don't want to have a fuck-ton of of converters laying around >_>

Ya know, 95% of USBs already have something on them telling you "This side up" with a little icon that is sometimes even a USB icon. Or in the case of 360 gamepads, it has a little bump on the right side up.

Are you people really that stupid?

Twenty Ninjas:
Oh, yeah, what a relief. Taking an extra 5 seconds with my USB drive was the bane of my life. Now this horrible nightmare will be over and I will finally be happy. Truly we are living in the 21st century.

5 seconds x 4 times a day (low average) x 7 days a week x 52 weeks a year x 5-10 years = how many hours of my life saved doing something unnecessary?

Rainbow_Dashtruction:
Ya know, 95% of USBs already have something on them telling you "This side up" with a little icon that is sometimes even a USB icon. Or in the case of 360 gamepads, it has a little bump on the right side up.

Are you people really that stupid?

You know you can't always see a USB slot when you're reaching around the back of a desktop or working in low light conditions or are long-sighted or the person's computer your trying to help fix is standing on its end behind a desk so you can't be sure which is the 'right side' up. Of course you do, you're no stupid.

floppylobster:

5 seconds x 4 times a day (low average) x 7 days a week x 52 weeks a year x 5-10 years = how many hours of my life saved doing something unnecessary?

Given 10 years, that's about 20 hours. Of course, if you work strict shifts, you might not really use those 20 seconds per day for anything important. And holy crap do you REALLY misposition the USB side every single time for 5 seconds? That's a bit clumsy, no offense.

Rainbow_Dashtruction:
Ya know, 95% of USBs already have something on them telling you "This side up" with a little icon that is sometimes even a USB icon. Or in the case of 360 gamepads, it has a little bump on the right side up.

Are you people really that stupid?

And what if your USB ports are vertical?
Where's you little bump now?

Watch. I'll still not be able to plug it in the first try. Its the damn USB curse and it won't die, not even with technology that targets it. It will just perpetuate into infinity.

Sseth:
"Gather round kids *snort, spit*, let ol' pops tell you a story. Back way when, thems USB didn't always fit. Oh golly no... didn't have no fancy new fangled double sided USB. We had to make do with one side... and I'll tell yer... seemed like the wrong side was always the first one you tried..."

I was thinking more "you punk kids are spoiled. Why, in my day, we had to walk fifteen miles, through the snow, uphill, barefoot, just to plug in our connectors! And if we plugged them in the wrong way, it was another trip!"

floppylobster:

You know you can't always see a USB slot when you're reaching around the back of a desktop or working in low light conditions or are long-sighted or the person's computer your trying to help fix is standing on its end behind a desk so you can't be sure which is the 'right side' up. Of course you do, you're no stupid.

laide234:

And what if your USB ports are vertical?
Where's you little bump now?

You mean you guys can't remember the exact location and orientation of each and every USB port on every device you own? I mean, that doesn't seem all that unreasonable an effort.... >.>

But yeah, this isn't like, the biggest innovation in the history of computers, but it's certainly handy. I don't get why people are complaining like it's a bad thing.

Then again, maybe it'll encourage more of those filthy casuals. We all know that's why they avoid PC gaming!

Zachary Amaranth:

Sseth:
"Gather round kids *snort, spit*, let ol' pops tell you a story. Back way when, thems USB didn't always fit. Oh golly no... didn't have no fancy new fangled double sided USB. We had to make do with one side... and I'll tell yer... seemed like the wrong side was always the first one you tried..."

I was thinking more "you punk kids are spoiled. Why, in my day, we had to walk fifteen miles, through the snow, uphill, barefoot, just to plug in our connectors! And if we plugged them in the wrong way, it was another trip!"

(we used to live in a shoe, in the middle of the road)
and in those time we had to solder the cables ourselves to the motherboard. and if you wanted to play a game, you had to to type the entire sourcecode yourself, in one go! those were the days

I think that it is a good and worthwhile improvement. Arguments against this that boil down to calling other people stupid, unskilled, or that it merely saves a few extra seconds still don't feel good enough to motivate not making such an improvement to the USB connector. Why discourage small improvements like this if it does not make things worse? It makes me think of knee-jerk responses.

The only good counterargument here seems to be that we would need to buy converters for all our USB devices in the future. But maybe the next generation may be backwards compatible, like the other USB generations.

grrrz:
and in those time we had to solder the cables ourselves to the motherboard. and if you wanted to play a game, you had to to type the entire sourcecode yourself, in one go! those were the days


And you really did have to type most of the stuff yourself too...

captcha: double whammy

Aeshi:
Pretty sure there are plenty of companies out there who already make this sort of thing, not just Apple.

Well the other big connector is firewire and that is owned by apple. Really until usb 3.0, firewire was faster than usb. The only reason it never took off like usb was because apple sat on it too long and charged too for licensing it.

Twenty Ninjas:
Oh, yeah, what a relief. Taking an extra 5 seconds with my USB drive was the bane of my life. Now this horrible nightmare will be over and I will finally be happy. Truly we are living in the 21st century.

Hey, those five seconds add up.

OT: If things can be easier, make them easier. Yay!

Its not like that was really necessary. Id rather they stop putting the ports in backwards though. for example to conencyt my MP3 player to PC the mp3 palyer has to be face-down because its connector is upsidedown (and thats not USB).

And i spent more time typing this than i spent on plugging in USBs this whole years.

MetalMagpie:

Clive Howlitzer:
I'll miss the days of trying to put in my USB, it won't fit, flipping it over, won't fit, flipping back to the original position. Now it fits.

Me too. Everyone knows USB connectors exist in 4-dimensional space.

damn, i got ninjad, twice.

laide234:

Rainbow_Dashtruction:
Ya know, 95% of USBs already have something on them telling you "This side up" with a little icon that is sometimes even a USB icon. Or in the case of 360 gamepads, it has a little bump on the right side up.

Are you people really that stupid?

And what if your USB ports are vertical?
Where's you little bump now?

They never are, unless you have flipped it onto its side in which case the way up is supposed to be is the side the bump will be on.

Worgen:

Aeshi:
Pretty sure there are plenty of companies out there who already make this sort of thing, not just Apple.

Well the other big connector is firewire and that is owned by apple. Really until usb 3.0, firewire was faster than usb. The only reason it never took off like usb was because apple sat on it too long and charged too for licensing it.

...and now it's been killed by apple with a shovel to make room for new thunderbolt (who has about two peripherals compatible)
so there you go.

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