For the first time in 17 years, the USB connector we've all come to know and love is set to change with a new plug type proposed by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group. The Type-C connector will break compatibility with all past USB devices, unless an adapter is used, but it will provide a number of advantages over the existing cable.
To start with, the connector will come with an entirely new design that's reversible - similar to Apple's Lightning connector - which will finally stop the issues with not being able to insert the plug correctly the first time. Type-C will also be smaller than the current Type-A plug, similar in size to the microUSB 2.0 connector.
The Type-C connector is currently in development and is expected to be finalized by mid-2014. Brad Saunders, chairman of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, says the updated connector will "meet evolving design trends" while Intel's Alex Peleg says it will facilitate "an entirely new super-thin class of devices from phones to tablets, to 2-in-1s, to laptops to desktops".
The new connector will go well with USB 3.1, an update to the specification that was finalized earlier this year. USB 3.1 will boost the throughput of USB to 10 Gbps, and allow power delivery of up to 100 watts thanks to new power profiles. The specification will still be backwards compatible through the use of older connectors, but its expected delivery date of late 2014 might mean we'll see Type-C connectors paired with USB 3.1 on new devices towards the end of next year.