Tech Notes: USB 3.0 – Coming to a Computer Near You

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I’ve been working in the tech industry for a little over a decade.  Now, that may not be much in human years, but in tech years, that’s a long time.  In fact, if you own any type of electronic device like an old computer, typewriter, Palm Pilot, Blackberry, original iPod, keep them handy.  Maybe one day some vintage collectors will want to buy it for nostalgic purposes.  These things could go into the Computer “Hall of Fame” one day.  Look at this dinosaur below!


Well, pretty soon, there’s another change coming to most computers. You see, In technology, it’s all about evolution. Things evolve. Phones get faster. Laptops get thinner. Televisions are so thin now that one day they will probably be the thickness of a sheet of paper. Most evolution in the tech world means things progress and get better and easier to use. (In the future, maybe we can discuss how some changes are actually a regression.)

USB is a connection that all modern-day computers have. In fact, your computer is probably equipped with multiple USB ports. Things like printers, digital cameras, flash drives, smartphones, wireless keyboards and mice all connect to your system via USB now. USB is what killed floppy disks, and currently CDs and DVDs are holding on for dear life. Your USB port is going to undergo a facelift of sorts pretty soon, and what happens afterwards will be better.

Remember when Apple changed its power plug from the wide 30-pin connection to the “Lightning” connection?  What did we all have to do?  Go out and purchase new plugs. Some would call it “planned obsolescence.” USB Type-C is the official name for this evolution.  Not only will this mean faster transfer of data between two devices, but no more wrestling wit your flash drive trying to figure out which way to insert it. You all know what I’m talking about.  See a photo of the physical difference below.


The smaller port will allow computers and devices to fit more ports in a smaller space. This will make these devices even thinner and more lightweight than ever before. However, evolution comes at a price. You’ll now need to reinvest in flash drives and other types of USB devices because eventually, the larger USB rectangular connection that we all use will be phased out, and eventually, your computer won’t even carry the port. Newer MacBook laptops are already doing this. Companies will make adapters so that your old flash drives and printers can be converted to the new connector type.

USB Type-C, even though it’s physically smaller, will not only still deliver data across the wire, but power as well, meaning you can charge your smartphones and tablets through the connection. Some say that eventually Apple will even replace the lightning connection with this new type of USB connection.

What this means, in the long run, is that no matter what brand of technology you choose to have, or what type of device it is, a single plug will do it all. Imagine that desk drawer full of wires- a tangled mess- now with just a single plug in it.  A USB Type-C plug. The advancements in technology will allow us to simplify connections to and from all of our various gadgets, making it truly universal. After all, that is what the “U” in USB stands for anyway!

Come see us down at the shop if you have any questions.

-Submitted by Chad Droze
Post and Computer Center (Freshfields Village)