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  • Writer's pictureSimon Salvin

What is USB-C?

I was recently contacted by a client who had purchased an iPhone . They wanted to charge their phone in the car but wondered why they received a strange cable rather than a USB?

in fact it is a USB connection, but the latest iteration, USB-C. The common USB connection and socket is known as USB-A, these can only be inserted one way. USB-C was designed to be less restrictive being able to insert in to the socket either way, much like the port on the iPhone/iPad known as a Lightning connector.

As a modern connector you’ll see this on Apple’s latest iMac, MacBook, iPad Pro/Air, many modern laptops including Dell, Chromebooks and the new iMac 24’ which feature 2x USB 4 sockets.

Not only does USB carry data but also video & power. It uses the same socket as Thunderbolt yet the two are completely different specifications with the new USB 4 also sharing Thunderbolt.

It has taken a good while to become more popular as it was announced back in 2012 then finalised and released in 2014.

For the client it is a simple case of purchasing a new cable, USB-A to Lightning. We recommend Anker cables available from Amazon is various lengths & colours, also available with USB-A to Micro USB, USB-A to USB-C, USB-C to USB-C and even a three in one cable USB-A to Lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C! Very handy for multi device/multi port charging.

USB has become one of the most complex named cable systems, its so mind boggling I won’t go in to it, but if you are interested read Jon Honeyball’s article in PC Pro Magazine Issue 321 July 2021 where he delves in to ludicrous naming convention. It’s all down to increasing speeds and more power delivery!

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