USB, the workhorse port used for everything from phones to cars, is about to get even more useful. But consumers may find the changes puzzling at first.
A new style of USB port called Type-C promises a lot. You can insert cables either way up so there’s no fiddling with the proper orientation. The port can also transfer data faster, connect computers to TVs, and supply power to laptops, not just phones.
Sounds great, right? The problem is that it’s not going to be clear at the beginning which USB ports will be able to handle which jobs. Your first USB Type-C port won’t necessarily come with all the new abilities.
The move to USB Type-C is the latest technology shift that’s likely to throw you for a loop. The fact that everyone uses USB amplifies the problem. After the standard settles in, we should all eventually benefit from chargers that work on any laptop, a simplified selection of ports and cables, and less fumbling when it’s time to plug something in. You will just need a little patience.