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What is USB-C, and why does it matter so much?

Published Sep 24th, 2023 8:18PM EDT
Image: Anker/Amazon

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The move from Lightning cables to USB-C on the iPhone 15 has stirred up quite a few questions about the so-called “universal connector.” Originally released in 2014, USB-C has quickly become a beloved connector among the tech community. But why does everyone prefer USB-C, and why is it such a big deal to see Apple outright embracing it?

The big idea behind USB-C was to finally bring together the fragmented connectors that tech consumers have had to bounce between over the past two decades. When the first computers started making their way out into the consumer market, we had to worry about VGA connectors, USB connectors, 3.5mm headphone jacks, and a slew of other possible connection options.

Having so many different connection options has been outright confusing for a large number of the populace, which is why we’ve seen such a big push for USB-C. Not only does it do away with some of the hassles of traditional USB-A and USB-B connectors, but it also provides the ability to transfer data at high speeds, as well as to transmit video signals, and even charge batteries.

Apple explains how USB-C makes charging even more convenient on iPhone 15 and AirPods Pro with USB-C. Image source: Apple Inc.

This makes it fundamentally more useful all around than other USB types. Additionally, many people, like the European Union, are pushing for broader USB-C adoption because it will help cut down on the amount of cable waste we have to worry about. 

If all phones and electronic devices support the same type of charging cable, we have no reason to have multiple cables – therefore reducing the chance we have to completely throw something away when we replace that device down the line. With USB-C, we’ll be able to keep using the same cable until it stops working, helping cut down on waste.

And, because every device will support the same type of charging connector, we won’t have to worry about manufacturers always including those cables in their packaging. While some might consider that a ripoff, others see it as a huge benefit to help cut down on waste, which will no doubt help us reduce the effects of climate change that we are driving with our wasteful nature.

There are many reasons why USB-C matters, but ultimately, it is all about making life easier for all the people who use tech devices in the world.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.