Is it Force Touch that vibrates feedback from trackpads and screens? Is it faster CPUs, or higher resolution displays? Is it Siri gaining artificial intelligence to take over the world ala Skynet? Uh, maybe. But I think something else will have a bigger, more immediate impact.
Goodbye, Lightning, Hello… This?
Apple stunned the technology gadget world a few years ago with the diminutive Lightning cable and port on the iPhone and iPad. Out with the old– thick, cumbersome, 30-pin connector. In with the new– thin, light, faster, powerful Lightning connector.
Well, guess what? If what’s old is new again, then what’s new can be old again. Say goodbye to Lightning, folks. There’s a new kid in town and he’s about to rule over Gadgetland.
Apple helped the growth of USB as a connector standard when the iMac was introduced in 1998, sans floppy disk. Since then, USB has become ubiquitous, but still falls behind Apple’s ability to push the envelop of technology forward. Lightning did what USB did not. Thinner, faster, power, reversible, cooler.
For whatever reason, and despite Lightning’s obvious superiority over the plethora of USB connector types, Apple decided to drag USB into the 21st century by helping out with the new USB Type-C standard which is mostly backwards compatible with previous USB standards, but is reversible, like Lightning, and can help power and recharge devices, like Lightning.
It’s as if whoever was working on the USB Type-C standard had interned on Apple’s Lightning engineering team. USB Type-C shows up on Apple’s hot selling new MacBook, the notebook with a single port for power, video, connectivity, et al. What about Thunderbolt, the Intel technology that Apple adopted? Guess what? The next generation, Thunderbolt 3, will use the USB Type-C connector.
Yep. That’s right. One connector to rule them all, and work everywhere; USB, power charging, 4k video, peripheral connections, whatever. USB and Thunderbolt are merging. Got a Mac with a USB, a FireWire, Ethernet, DisplayPort/Thunderbolt connector? Dinosaurs all.
Thunderbolt 3 on a USB Type-C connector has the future built in (until Apple changes it again) with USB compatibility, bi-directional PCI Express and DisplayPort with support for dual 4k displays, including HDMI, and daisy chaining.
What’s not to like?
Just get used to the fact that whatever connectors and cables you have now for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad, are going the way of the extinct dodo bird and moderate Republicans. For now, it will be one cable and connector to rule them all. USB Type-C with Thunderbolt. For now.