So a lot of devices with Type-C only ports are coming out these days. If you are among the very few people who don’t know what that is then buckle down as I regale you with the Amazing tale of ports.
Part of the tech life is knowing which gadgets have what ports and which peripherals can be plugged into each port. There used to be all types of connectors and ports with each manufacturer pushing his own. I am looking at you Apple-shame on you. Then USB became the de facto standard. We had and still have quite a number of ports including:
- VGA-yes there are still a lot of shameless (thoughtful maybe) manufactures that still include this veteran port. Raise you hand if you are still using this in your daily life. It probably means you know who Princess Diana is what Y2K was then.
- RS32-we had a ribbon printer with this once at my former workplace.
- DE-9– or maybe the printer had this type of port it’s hard to keep track of these things you know
- SCSI-also know as “scuzzy” we used this one mainly for hard-drives before SATA was a thing. They say you can do lots of things with it but everyone just used it to for hard-drives and the odd cassette drives.
- PS/2-which was exclusively used for mouse and/or keyboard. It’s so hard to believe now but we used to have a dedicated keyboard port.
- Firewire code name IEEE 1394-a crazy thing that Apple decided we needed. Turns out we didn’t need it but because Apple came up with the idea everyone just followed suit because everyone thought it was cool. Kind of like the risible Apple watch. Few people use it to tell time and more people use it as something to brag about. Like an Austin Martin but let’s not get distracted here.
- Serial AT Attachment (SATA)– this is still around and kicking hiding somewhere in your laptop. Again this was more a hard-drive thing and the occasional DVD/CD Drive.
- PCI-around and very much alive. All I know is that somehow if you run the lspci command in Linux you get lots of devices and that if you wanted an extra Ethernet port on your computer you opened up you computer and plugged an Ethernet card on there.
- USB 1.x-even I don’t even know what that is.
And along came USB 2.0 aka USB
The U in USB stands for Universal so unlike a lot of earlier efforts USB was meant be a port where you could plugin all sorts of devices. It was started as an effort by seven companies that included IBM and Microsoft the guys who made the PC popular and so it became popular especially the second iteration of the port also known as USB 2.0.
Here was a port that could handle anything you threw at it. Suddenly you could plug all sorts of devices including printers, hard drives, keyboards, mice, camera,modems and pretty much anything without a care in the world. As long as you could find the device driver you were fine. USB is the greatest man invention ever since we discovered wheels and fire I tell you.
Then alas Steve Jobs, peace be upon him, decided to ruin it all again with his Apple Corp. First he made an amazing player called an iPod and people started copying him. Then he made iPhones and iPads and again people started copying him. His inventions created two problems:
- For some reason his cult followers wanted thin small devices which made it hard to fit the normal USB port
- These totally unnecessary things required massive data transfers between devices
Well Apple being Apple they created their own special Apple-30 pin dock connector that only they could make and proceeded to demand shocking amounts of money for it. The cable could of course be connected to USB ports on the other end. When more and more people started making the 30 pin thing they made up an excuse in 2012 and started selling lightning cables. The first Thor movie had come the year before hence the name you see. Thunderbolt was first seen around that time as well.
So while Apple fans paid $35 to get their cables the rest of us had to either rely on Micro-USB or Mini-USB. Micro-USB is what people here colloquially call the “flat” which make sense if you consider that the most popular connectors were the pin and round connectors for the Nokia 1200s and 3310s slabs we used to hurl around. The Mini-USB connector was especially popular with Chinese made MP3 players. The Micro-3.0 is like PHP6.
These solved the size problem but not the speed issues
So they started making 3D and 4K movies and the maniacs at Apple and Google went Retina. Which meant massive amounts of data had to be moved from computers to these devices. Around the same time they made HDMI or may be it was already there and people started using it more to connect displays who knows. But that still left the issue of transferring data at faster speeds. People could grow old and die waiting for a movie to transfer from their computer to a external hard drive using USB 2.0.
So they made USB Type-C
Well technically they first made USB-3.0 which looks like USB 2.0 but the port has a blue colour but it seems most computer users are just obtuse; they don’t know the difference between these ports. In fact pea-brained users had been complaining about how hard it was to plug in USB devices because they had to figure which side was up. Things like this stress people out you know.
So they made USB Type-C and here is what you need to know about it:
- Super fast data transfers are possible something like 10Gps in theory. That’s fast.
- The ports are smaller so Apple fanatics can have iPad Pros as thin as a leaf. Before you start questioning me on this just know there are many types of leaves. Like cactus leaves.
- It is committing genocide against the beloved 3.5 mm jack which you use for your earphones
- Carries more power which means you will no longer need those Y-cables anymore
- Charges both ways
- It is reversible so dumb people can just plug connectors in as every way is up and every way is down
- Is also known as USB-3.1
- It is an Apple conspiracy and Apple’s MacBook has only this one port like port uno. Seriously one port and nothing else. Their adaptor is available for the reasonable price of $69 if you think you need more ports.
So yeah that is the history of type-c give or take a few facts and outright lies.