From the horse’s mouth
USB Promoters’ Group
Press Release (PDF)
A new USB equipment connector is in the process of being designed and will be called by the USB Promoters’ Group by the middle of 2014. This is to cater for technology equipment that is becoming smaller and thinner while also allowing for quick worry-free connections.
This connection will be the same size as the existing USB Micro-B connector used on most smartphones or the Apple Lightning Connector that Apple uses on their latest iDevices. This will cater for devices that are acquiring an increasingly-low profile such as the smartphones, tablets or Ultrabooks or even peripherals like some external hard disks and keyboards.
The socket will be designed so that you don’t worry about which way you plug it in and the patch-cords will have the same connection on each end so you don’t have to worry about which end of the cable you are using, in a similar vein to the RCA connections used on most stereo equipment.
Of course, the standard will also define the patch cables that allow you to connect equipment that has the USB Type-C socket on it to equipment that has commonly-available USB connections like the Type A found on computers and USB power supply equipment or Micro-B connections found on the smartphones or USB hard disks.
As we are seeing the USB connection become the universal power-supply connection for many different gadgets. Here, the USB Type-C connection will also allow for scaleable power-supply and charging situations and to provide further support for improved USB bus performance. A commonly-raised question that could surface is the power-supply performance for particular USB patch cables especially as we find smartphones not charging as quickly with some cables compared to others given the same power-supply equipment.
Of course, this will cause a requirement for power-supply standards for mobile devices to be revised because of the current standard supporting only the Micro-B connection on the mobile equipment and Type-A on the power-supply equipment. As well, we will be ending up with USB Type-A to Micro-B and USB Type-A to Type-C as power/data cables for most of our gadgets in the near term.