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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Meet The Next Generation Computer Port - USB-C

USB Type C image
Apple showed off it's cool new MacBook laptop the other day, and while it certainly is a thing of beauty, one of the things seemingly lost in the shuffle is the new connector that's been incorporated. It's called USB Type-C (the official name is USB 3.1) and soon you're going to see it popping up on devices everywhere.

What's so different about USB-C from the previous USB-2 and 3.0? Let's count the ways:
1. It very small and uses a micro-USB connector that's reversible. Because the connector is so compact, you'll see it show up on all sorts of mobile devices as well as laptops and desktop computers.

2. It's like USB on steroids in terms of speed. It features speeds up to 10Gbps, or twice that of USB3. It's still not as fast as Thunderbolt 2's 20Gbps, but it's plenty fast for most audio applications.

3. It can deliver lots of power, with up to 100W available, meaning that it can not only drive a bandwidth hog like a 4k display but power it too.

4. It's backwards compatible with all the USB connections before it. No need to buy new USB gear, if you have an adapter, they'll work just fine with your device with the new format.

That said, the adapters are pretty pricey at the moment, going from $19 to $79 depending upon what you're trying to connect. Expect these prices to come down as more third party suppliers get into the act. Apple's prices for accessories are always at the top of the market.

While USB-C might seem like another Apple propriety connector, this is something that the entire computer industry is adopting. Like in other cases (like adopting SCSI, USB-3, Thunderbolt, dropping disc drives and CD drives), Apple just made the move first move.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

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