September this year, Apple announced iPhone 11. Many of you may have questioned why Apple insisted on using lightning cable instead of USB-C cable.
It is not the time to do that yet.
Can you clarify the difference among Type-C, USB 3.2, and the earlier 3.1 gen1, gen2, 2.0. It is easily to be fooled by the seller, and spend high price to buy low spec.
The chaos of data connector and transmission standard gave sellers opportunity to mislead the consumers. This article will help you to clear the misconceptions and be a savvy consumer.
Misconception 1: USB-C (TYPE-C) = thunderbolt3 or USB 3.1, etc.
When it comes to USB-C or TYPE-C, many people will think of thunderbolt3 or USB 3.1, which means ultra-high transmission speed. However, this is totally wrong. USB-C or TYPE-C is just a type of USB connector, the appearance.
While USB 3.1 is a transmission standard, it means how fast the connector can transfer data. USB 2.0, 3.1, GEN1, GEN2 are all transmission standard, and micro, A, B, C represent the connector types.
The newer model of connector type can carry the old transmission standard as shown in the table below.
|Connector Type||Specification applied||Maximum theoretical transfer speed|
|Type-A to Micro USB||USB 2.0||0.48Gbps ( 60MB/s)|
|Type-A to Type-C||USB 2.0||0.48Gbps ( 60MB/s)|
|USB 3.1 Gen1||5Gbps ( 500MB/s)|
|USB 3.1 Gen2||10Gbps ( 1212MB/s)|
|Type-C to Type-C||USB 2.0||0.48Gbps|
|USB 3.1 Gen1||5Gbps|
|USB 3.1 Gen2||10Gbps|
|USB 3.2||20Gbps ( 2424MB/s)|
|USB4 or thunderbolt3||40Gbps ( 4000MB/s+)|
Tips:10Gbps means you can copy a 4GB movie (1080p and 90 minutes long ) from your PC to flash drive in 3.2 seconds.
The naming of USB 3.x is quite confusing. If you found out that it is different from what you usually hear, fret not, we may all be right. It’s all USB-IF’s fault!
Misconception 2: Type-C = high speed transmission.
As per mentioned in the previous point, the transmission standard and connector type are not necessarily related. Many sellers give consumers the illusion that a Type-C equals to high speed connector, misleading the consumers that their products have better transmission speed and charging efficiency.
The actual transmission protocol a mobile phone data cable carrying may be USB 3.1 Gen1 as you expect. While most of them stay in USB 2.0, some will even be USB 1.0.
Some sellers will indicate that their product’s maximum data transfer speed. The most commonly used is 480Mbps, a stand of USB 2.0. Some sellers will label their products as 480MB/s, which is the stand of USB 3.1 Gen1. But in fact, just USB 2.0. They are intentionally or unintentionally playing with MB and Mb.
Products using the Type-C connector are not necessarily USB 3.2, thunderbolt3 or USB4. We rarely used this kind of high-speed transmission in our daily life. But if you want to carry these three standards, Type-C is necessary.
Misconception 3: USB-C is better than Lightning.
Most people want iPhone 11 to use Type-C, since they think that Type-C is better than lightning. The future of Type-C is indeed brighter than lightning, but it is not a good idea for Apple now. USB is in a mess at this moment. There have been many accidents caused by inferior USB charging cables. Besides, just the names will easily drive people crazy which we will talk about later. Apple has always focused on maintaining its own ecology. It is not a wise choice to adopt Type-C at this chaotic time.
By the way, can you remember the last time you used cable to transfer date between your phone and PC. Is it a longggg time, isn’t it?
USB4, More Possibilities.
USB4 was announced not long ago. The speed is on par with thunderbolt3, reaching 40Gbps, which is the same speed as the video transmission line HDMI 2.1 (48Gbps). With USB4, the unification of physical connector is no longer out of reach. In the future, just with a type-c cable, you can connect to various audio and video devices(e.g. computers, TVs, headsets), storage devices (like thumb drives), HIDs (e.g. keyboards and mouse).
What we can expect now is, the new USB4 can bring a lot of improvements to USB Hub. Laptop manufacturers have reduced the number of connectors, in order to reduce the size of the laptop. However, the demand for connectors is on the rise. Then the USB Hub came into being.
We often use laptop with mouse, keyboard, earphone etc. and sometimes our phones are charged by laptop. Perhaps, a network port will be needed when there is no WI-FI. The truth is, there are not so many connectors on laptop, for example, MacBook Pro Air got only one 3.5mm audio connector and two Type-C connectors, which is difficult to meet daily needs.
USB Hub can help us solve this problem easily. The only problem now with the hub is bandwidth and power supply. When you connect to too many devices, you will find that some of them are not working properly, for example, mobile hard disk will not work properly due to the insufficient power supply.
At present, the protocol for hub is mainly USB 3.1 Gen1 or USB 3.1 Gen2. The latest names should be USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen2 (silly USB-IF). The speed for the former is 5Gbps, while the latter is 10Gbps. USB 3.2, which is not in used yet has 20Gbps, now named as USB 3.2 Gen 2X2 (What a HOPELESS name)!
Quite a number of sellers put the confusing “USB 3.2” in the title for their product, some of it is Gen1, some of it is Gen2, but one thing for sure, there is no Gen 2×2, which is what the consumers looking for.