Designed to efficiently power Apple's most recent line of MacBook laptops, USB-C has been introduced as the latest industry standard of Universal Serial Bus connectors and cables. It was developed by a core group of companies – the USB Implementers Forum – that have been involved with the design and certification of the USB format since the standard's inception in 1996. Consisting of over 700 companies in addition to Apple, the USB-IF will ensure that USB-C won't remain an Apple exclusive for long. The membership of computer industry stalwarts such as Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Samsung will result in the adoption of USB-C by the bulk of PC manufacturers, entering widespread use as it replaces the much older and three times larger USB-A connector present on an array of devices.
Though similar in size and appearance to a micro USB connector, the USB-C connector is slightly thicker yet identical at both ends of its cable: this enables either end of a USB-C cable to connect to a variety of handheld devices such as gamepads, smartphones, and digital cameras. It also plugs in both ways – either up or down – as USB-C cables are orientation-free for maximum convenience. Specification-wise, USB-C cables utilise version 3.1, offering data transfer speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, making them twice as fast as the previous USB 3.0 version. In terms of Power Delivery capabilities, USB-C cables support 100 watts of bi-directional power – one cable can both transmit power back and forth while simultaneously transferring data between devices. This effectively enables you to charge your smartphone, power your laptop through a display monitor linked to an energy source or connect an external hard drive to your computer utilising only a single USB-C cable and connection.
USB-C cables also provide total backwards compatibility with legacy USB ports through the use of physical adapters: adapters can also enable the output of older interface audio-visual signals such as Video Graphics Array, DisplayPort, and High Definition Multimedia Interface via a single USB-C port and cable.