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USB-C

“USB-C is the emerging industry-standard connector for transmitting both data and power….The USB-C connector looks similar to a micro USB connector at first glance, but it’s slightly thicker to accommodate its best feature: it works either way you plug it in. Like Apple’s Lightning and MagSafe, the USB-C connector has no up or down orientation. As long as the connector is lined up properly, you don’t have to flip the connector to plug it in. The cables also have the same connector on both ends, so you don’t have to figure out which end to plug in, as opposed to the USB cables we’ve been using for the past 20 years. Also, USB-C supports the recent super speedy Thunderbolt 3 specification which adds impressive new features and capabilities, such as 40 Gbps bandwidth and reduced power consumption, while being able to provide as much as 100 watts of power to attached devices. A USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 means a single cable is all you need to power and transmit large amounts of information (up to and including two 60Hz 4K displays) to and from computers and peripherals.  Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro models offers four of these new USB-C connectors.

 

 

Apple’s Magsafe proprietary charger cables were much loved and provided protection if one were to accidentally trip over the cable the laptop easily separated from charging cable and prevented the system from crashing to the ground. But USB-C allows new innovations in connectivity. Now you can connect either side of the laptop to a power source through USB and it will charge the MacBook Pro. For example, the new USB-C power adapter that ships with MacBook Pro models can be used to power the laptop via the included USB-C charge cable, or you can plug in a USB-C to Lightning cable (or use a USB-C to USB-A adapter along with your existing Lightning to USB cable) and use it to charge your iPhone or iPad, as quickly as those devices can support. This provides for all sorts of possibilities since the new Apple MacBook Pro comes with four USB-C ports. Thunderbolt 3 is currently the fastest bandwidth type of connectors for high performance peripherals, displays and external storage units. The fact that Thunderbolt 3 uses the same physical connector as USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 on the new MacBook Pros makes it more flexible and universal, without adding additional ports and requiring specialized, unique cable types.

As Apple Insider explains, “Apple sells rather expensive replacement MacBook adapters, but given its support for standardized USB-C Power Delivery, you can now shop around for less expensive alternatives.” Dave Taylor explains how this is an improvement in his seven and half minute video on this subject. There are adapters available now and new ones in the works as developers create more connectivity for the new MacBook Pro.

“Its latest MacBook Pro machines not only supply more connectors, but also support the enhanced new USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 protocols for blazing fast wired connectivity and high resolution displays.” Apple Insider This is a better idea as the bulbs video below dramatizes:

LG UltraFine 5K Display

Apple has partnered with LG to create an “ultimate docking station for the MacBook Pro.” It’s a 27-inch 5K display with built-in stereo speakers, camera, microphone, and three USB-C ports (5 Gbps) that connects to (and simultaneously charges) the new MacBook Pro via a Thunderbolt 3 cable. As Apple Insider points out, “With power delivery over the same USB-C cable as Thunderbolt 3, you can now connect a display with just one cable. Apple’s previous Thunderbolt Display required both a Thunderbolt 2 cable and a MagSafe power connection. Before that, Cinema Displays needed three cables: one for video, one for power, and one for USB.” Apple offers this new display on its own web site. It will be available in December 2016. They also offer a 21-inch LG UltraFine 4K Display.

Ports: One Thunderbolt 3 (input), three USB-C (USB 3.1 gen 1, 5Gbps)
Display Size: 27-inch (diagonal) 5K display with IPS technology
Resolution: 5120-by-2880 with support for billions of colors
Power Delivery: Up to 85W over Thunderbolt 3 for host power and charging
Camera Type: Built-in camera
Speaker Configurations: Stereo