In October 2019, Microsoft released Surface Pro 7, Amazon released the Kindle Fire HD 10, and Sony also announced its latest Play Station 5; these three devices belong to PCs, tablets and game consoles, respectively, but Compared to their previous generation, these three devices have one thing they can’t ignore – they all use the USB Type-C (also known as USB-C or Type-C) interface.

In response, Patrick Moorhead, founder of market research firm Moor Insights & Strategy, said in an interview with the US Wired magazine:

USB-C has become the industry standard for every personal computing and connected device.

Groundbreaking of Type-C

In fact, USB Type-C has been born as an interface standard for more than five years.

In August 2014, Type-C was officially introduced as an interface in the newly released USB 3.1 standard; it is a specification for a new USB cable and connector that defines connectors, ports, containers, and wires. A complete set of new USB physical specifications, including cables.

However, Type-C is just one of the three interface styles proposed in the USB 3.1 standard. In fact, in the USB 3.1 standard, there are three interface styles, one is Type-A (that is, Standard-A, the most common USB interface style on traditional computers), and the other is Type-B (also an existing interface style). The other one is Type-C.


As you can see from the naming of the three interface styles, the developers of the USB 3.1 standard (USB IF Association) are also trying to simplify and unify the long-standing variety of interface types in the industry. Simply put, the USB IF Association has selected the most widely used of the nearly ten USB interfaces that exist today, named Type-A and Type-B, and then redesigned a new interface. It is named Type-C; only these three interfaces can support various data standards such as data transmission speed and current transmission size under the USB 3.1 standard.

In fact, USB is a technical standard, and every new version is developed based on the technical update to consider compatibility issues with previous generations. Therefore, among the three interfaces of the USB 3.1 standard, the existence of Type-A and Type-B is more to consider the problem of backward compatibility and unification of existing interfaces. In a sense, the existence of the two is also a compromise of the new standard for the past; of course, this compromise is necessary.

On the other hand, only Type-C is the pioneering aspect of USB 3.1 in terms of interface styles – and because of this, Type-C has received worldwide attention during the design phase; when it finally became published in the world After that, it has aroused many discussions and expectations.

Why is Type-C?

So why mention USB Type-C?

With the increasing demand for lightweight and miniaturized new devices, the “huge” size of traditional USB interfaces has been difficult to meet the needs of device manufacturers and consumers. At the same time, the problem of requiring repeated plugging and unplugging in the traditional USB interface and finding the “correct” direction has been widely criticized by consumers. Users urgently need an interface that can be inserted like the Lightning interface, especially in mobile phones. In a device with a large number of connected data lines, the experience of inserting the wrong interface once or twice a day is not friendly.

Based on these issues, the developers of the USB standard introduced the Type-C physical interface specification, which introduced several features in the specification:

  • Slim. Unlike the traditional Type-A interface that is common in life, the new Type-C interface is extremely slim down in size, only 8.3*2.5 mm, making it ideal for use in increasingly smaller computing devices.
  • Non-directional. Similar to the Apple Lightning interface, the Type-C interface has no directional requirements, ie both front and back insertions can be paired, which greatly improves the usability of the USB interface.

However, in addition to convenience, the USB Type-C interface has another symbolic meaning.

The USB standard is based on a basic philosophy of regulating the connection and communication between computers and other external devices. Since the era of USB 1.0, people have designed the Type-A interface style adopted by the USB 3.1 standard for computers today (of course, this is not the case at the time), and this interface style has experienced USB 1.1, USB 2.0 and even USB 3.0. The standard update, still stubbornly surviving in this world, once dominated the USB interface type of most of the world’s computers.


And other external devices connected to the computer not only disappeared or emerged during the development process, but also produced a lot of complicated interfaces. In this case, the Type-C interface was born; this interface can be connected not only to mobile phones, tablets, etc., but also directly to the computer – in other words, the interface between the computer and other devices is more equal at the interface level. The computer is no longer an absolute center, and the phone can be connected to the tablet via Type-C.

In other words, in fact, Type-C better confirms the arrival of the mobile Internet era; in this era, there are more and more devices – computers, mobile phones, tablets, televisions, e-book readers and even cars – – Both can access the Internet in different ways, thereby weakening the central position of the computer previously symbolized by the Type-A interface.

Type-C has become an industry standard

A few months after the launch of the USB 3.1 standard, Type-C was quickly recognized and adopted by the industry.

In the first half of 2015, a number of technology-leading companies launched different types of Type-C devices, such as Nokia’s N1 tablet released in January 2015 and Apple’s 12-inch model launched in March 2015. Macbook (this product line has now disappeared), as well as Google’s Chromebook Pixel 2015 released in March 2015.

However, in the field of smart phones, the first to support the Type-C interface is the LeTV super mobile phone that was launched in April 2015.

Since then, in addition to smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other devices, many manufacturers have launched a
series of

other devices with the proliferation of Type-C interfaces , such as desktop boards, USB PD chargers, USB sticks, mobile hard drives, mobile Power, car charger, cable, headphones, sports cameras and more.


Relatively speaking, among many electronic devices, the category of smartphones embraces Type-C interfaces more quickly. From the second half of 2015, almost all Android manufacturers will adopt Type-C in their own high-end smartphones. interface. However, Lei (Public No.: Lei Feng) also noticed that in the subsequent product strategy, some Android vendors tend to use the Type-C interface as an important product attribute to distinguish high-end and low-end smartphone products – often in the entry machine. Or use a more old-fashioned Micro-B interface on the low-end machine.

In addition, Apple’s embrace of the Type-C interface is also attracting attention. In addition to being the first to ship Type-C in a 12-inch MacBook notebook, Apple introduced a new generation of MacBook Pro in 2016 and replaced the body interface with Type-C. In 2018, Apple introduced it in the new generation of MacBook Air. Type-C – Since then, the MacBook has fully used the Type-C interface.


On the new iPad Pro launched in 2018, Apple also replaced the previous Lightning interface with Type-C, which underscores the productivity attributes of the new iPad Pro.

Unlike Apple, as another important player in the productivity field, Microsoft has not introduced Type-C in its own Surface Pro; but at the October conference in New York (see

), Microsoft finally The Type-C interface is configured in the newly released Surface Pro 7.

At the same time, the Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3 released together are also equipped with Type-C.


Lei Feng network summary

It is worth mentioning that although the USB Type-C interface is based on the USB 3.1 standard, in practical industrial applications, many manufacturers also choose to use the Type-C interface without the USB 3.1 standard; Although the USB 3.1 standard is not met in terms of transmission speed and charging efficiency, the convenience of the USB Type-C interface style can be enjoyed.

In other words, USB Type-C, as a new interface, is also backward compatible in the process of becoming popular.


From the development process of Type-C, a technical standard from birth to popularization obviously needs the promotion of the whole industry and the gradual acceptance of the market, and it is impossible to accomplish it overnight; for Type-C, from the formal establishment of the standard to the present Recognized by the entire industry, it has been five years before and after. Five years has also proved and will continue to prove that Type-C is the right interface direction – after all, in the latest generation of USB4 standards, Type-C has become the only supported interface (see Lei Feng network
previously reported)


Finally, welcome to the era of Type-C interfaces.

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