Apple’s Role in the Creation of USB-C

Seth Weintraub, 9to5Mac:

It appears that USB Type-C was initially submitted in 2012, the same year Apple announced Lightning. If it was Apple that invented this, it would have gone through a lot of testing and iterations by the many companies listed on the PDF by the time it was made a standard last year. And when Apple invents something, they aren’t shy about sharing that fact with the world, especially if it will help their customers adopt the technology — see Firewire, Thunderbolt (aka LightPeak), etc.

If Apple did indeed “invent” USB Type-C, it would be very strange that Nokia would have announced a product with it last year (the N1 Android tablet, pictured above). While Apple was the first to announce a laptop with the standard, Google’s Chromebook Pixel 2 was announced hours later, and is the first laptop to ship with the spec, landing in reviewers’ hands last week. It is strange, however, that Google seemingly held their announcement back until after Apple announced the MacBook.

My comments on The Talk Show about Apple’s role in the creation of USB-C were somewhat hyperbolic. It was a brief aside. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that no other companies contributed to the final spec. Only that from what I’ve been told, Apple ought to be getting (and taking) credit as the leading company behind USB-C’s innovations. Not that they “invented” it, but that they “basically invented” it. I completely stand by that. But there are a lot of politics involved. One reason Apple isn’t taking more public credit for their role: they truly want USB-C to see widespread adoption; a perception that it’s an Apple technology might slow that down.

I’ll also point out that USB-C is a very Apple-like design. It is reversible and thin; because it can handle power, high-speed data transfer, and video, it (obviously, given the new MacBook) allows for a significant reduction in ports on a laptop. Every aspect of USB-C fits Apple’s design goals. You can’t say that about any previous USB port.

Saturday, 14 March 2015