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The USB Type-C connector is a reversible/symmetrical connector, so no more guessing on how to plug it in. Increased durability of up to 10,000 cycles meaning a longer life for the number of times it has the capability to be plugged in. Type-C is not just for 3.1, it will be on 2.0 and 3.0 cabling and adapters also! This page is also available as a cutsheet.
USB 3.1 has 2 generations coming out that you need to know about:
Yes, it will be backwards compatible with older USB devices. However, transfer speeds will be limited to that of the legacy device.
The Google Chromebook Pixel and New Apple MacBook, both with the USB 3.1 Gen 1 with the Type-C port are on the market now. Other products are expected to hit the market mid 2015.
Yes. USB 3.1 can be adapted using adapters or adapter cables to work with older USB connections. USB Type-C ports will support older USB technologies.
For the full features of 3.1, 1m is the length limitation. Longer cables can still be used with lower speeds of data transfer. 3m for USB 3.0 and 4m for USB 2.0.
That is the proposed idea and plan for USB 3.1 connections. It will take the place of video ports and power ports. So laptops will just have a handful of USB 3.1 ports on them that will be used for power, video, audio, and peripherals.
We are looking to have the first set of products come in mid 2015 timeframe.
USB Type-C is not just carried on 3.1, it will also be carried on 2.0 and 3.0.
Not necessarily. USB 3.1 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Adapters will also become available, which allow for plugging legacy devices into a Type-C port.
At 1m length, data transfer rates are twice the speed of existing USB technology (up to 10Gbit/s), with built-in support for DisplayPort video and four channel audio, a symmetrical, high bandwidth connector called USB Type-C, and enhanced power delivery of up to 20 volts, 5 amps, and 100 watts for power and charging.