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    The fundamental problem with USB-C is also seemingly its selling point: USB-C is a connector shape, not a bus. It’s impossible to communicate that intelligibly to the average consumer, so now people are expecting external GPUs (which run on Intel’s Thunderbolt bus) for their Nintendo Switch (which supports only USB 3 and DisplayPort external busses) because hey, the Switch has USB-C and the eGPU connects with USB-C, so it must work, right? And hey why can I charge with this port but not that port, they’re “exactly the same”?

    This “one connector to rule them all, with opaque and hard to explain incompatibilities hidden behind them” movement seems like a very foolish consistency.

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      It’s not even a particularly good connector. This is anecdotal, of course, but I have been using USB Type-A connectors since around the year 2000. In that time not a single connector has physically failed for me. In the year that I’ve had a device with Type-C ports (current Macbook Pro), both ports have become loose enough that simply bumping the cable will cause the charging state to flap. The Type-A connector may only connect in one orientation but damn if it isn’t resilient.

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        Might be crappy hardware. My phone and Thinkpad have been holding up just fine. The USB C seems a lot more robust than the micro b.

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          It is much better, but it’s still quite delicate with the “tongue” in the device port and all. It’s also very easy to bend the metal sheeting around the USB-C plug by stepping on it etc.

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          The perfect connector has already been invented, and it’s the 3.5mm audio jack. It is:

          • Orientation-free
          • Positively-locking (not just friction-fit)
          • Sturdy
          • Durable

          Every time someone announces a new connector and it’s not a cylindrical plug, I give up a little more on ever seeing a new connector introduced that’s not a fragile and/or obnoxious piece of crap.

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            Audio jacks are horrible from a durability perspective. I have had many plugs become bent and jacks damaged over the years, resulting in crossover or nothing playing at all. I have never had USB cable fail on me because I stood up with it plugged in.

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              Not been my experience. I’ve never had either USB-A or 3.5mm audio fail. (Even if they are in practice fragile, it’s totally possible to reinforce the connection basically as much as you want, which is not true of micro USB or USB-C.) Micro USB, on the other hand, is quite fragile, and USB-C perpetuates its most fragile feature (the contact-loaded “tongue”—also, both of them unforgivably put the fragile feature on the device—i.e., expensive—side of the connection).

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              You can’t feasibly fit enough pins for high-bandwidth data into a TR(RRRR…)S plug.

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                You could potentially go optical with a cylindrical plug, I suppose.

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                  Until the cable breaks because it gets squished in your bag.

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                3.mm connectors are not durable and are absolutely unfit for any sort of high-speed data.

                They easily get bent and any sort of imperfection translates to small interruptions in the connection when the connector turns. If I – after my hearing’s been demolished by recurring ear infections, loud eurobeat, and gunshots – can notice those tiny interruptions while listening to music, a multigigabit SerDes PHY absolutely will too.

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                This. USB-A is the only type of usb connector that never failed for me. All B types (Normal, Mini, Micro) and now C failed for me in some situation (breaking off, getting wobbly, loose connections, etc.)

                That said, Apple displays their iPhones in Apple Stores solely resting on their plug. That alone speaks for some sort of good reliability design on their ports. Plus the holes in devices don’t need some sort of “tongue” that might break off at some point - the Lightning plug itself doesn’t have any intricate holes or similar and is made (mostly) of a solid piece of metal.

                As much as I despise Apple, I really love the feeling and robustness of the Lightning plug.

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                  I’m having the same problem, the slightest bump will just get it off of charging mode. I’ve been listening to music a lot recently and it gets really annoying.

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                    Have you tried to clean the port you are using for charging?

                    I have noticed that Type C seems to suffer a lot more from lint in the ports than type A

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                  It’s impossible to communicate that intelligibly to the average consumer,

                  That’s an optimistic view of things. It’s not just “average consumer[s]” who’ll be affected by this; there will almost certainly be security issues originating from the Alternate Mode thing – because different protocols (like thunderbolt / displayport / PCIe / USB 3) have extremely different semantics and attack surfaces.

                  It’s an understandable thing to do, given how “every data link standard converges to serial point-to-point links connected in a tiered-star topology and transporting packets”, and there’s indeed lots in common between all these standards and their PHYs and cable preferences; but melding them all into one connector is a bit dangerous.

                  I don’t want a USB device of unknown provenance to be able to talk with my GPU and I certainly don’t want it to even think of speaking PCIe to me! It speaking USB is frankly, scary enough. What if it lies about its PCIe Requester ID and my PCIe switch is fooled? How scary and uncouth!

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                    Another complication is making every port do everything is expensive, so you end up with fewer ports total. Thunderbolt in particular. Laptops with 4 USB A, hdmi, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and power are easy to find. I doubt you’ll ever see a laptop with 8 full featured usb c ports.

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                    That’s the downside of the switch to USB-C for everything. When we had 10 different types of connectors, it could seem confusing, but at least you know that if the plug physically fits, it will generally work the way it’s supposed to. Now we’ll have only one type of connector, which seems less confusing, but there are like 50 variants of exactly what the port, devices, and cables support, and no way to tell by looking. Now it’s plug it in and hope for the best, good luck figuring out what’s wrong if it doesn’t work the way you expect.

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                      I think HDMI suffers this problem, too. It carries so many different flavors of types of signals, consumers may assume a device has certain features just because it has HDMI and that’s the cable that carries that feature. Like, does this Blu-ray player support 3d and Ultra HD? As the ultra HD tv takes an HDMI cable, why not?

                      There’s not really a reason to think cable defines functionality, especially as cables turn into big pipes for different digital codecs and power schemes. And the flipside is that you can just have extra cables in one type for when you need to plug in a device, even if that device is doing something really different. But that’s not the world consumers are trained for, and at a certain point, devices exist to satisfy expectations.

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                        Wasn’t Bluetooth supposed to kill those cable issues anyway? How many years before we see the first Apple laptop/tablet/thing without any kind of port?

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                          Wireless will never be as fast or as reliable as wired. [citation needed]

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                          Maybe next time, we’ll get it right. But probably not.

                          Hmm. You seem to be an Apple fanboi… so next time you will also buy and Apple, and yes, it will be defective by design.

                          Not that WinTel is terribly much better, but I at least sometimes get the feeling the PC ecosystem is trying to evolve in a sane direction (mostly because particularly insane choices are outcompeted).

                          Apple has an organizational hubris that screwing the customer is their Job given Right.

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                            Thunderbolt also developed because USB 2 wasn’t good enough. Is USB 3/HDMI/display port good enough now? Either one of those is good enough and thunderbolt should be dropped or Apple should stick to their guns and dump everything else.

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                              USB3 without thunderbolt is good enough for all the use cases that were around at the time; it’s not good enough for external graphics cards, so whether you think we need thunderbolt comes down to whether you think those will become non-niche.

                              Apple-only connections don’t have a great history IMO - PERCH, FireWire and DisplayPort all felt like a solution in search of a problem. (I’m told FireWire was useful for real-time audio, but that’s rather niche for consumer PCs).

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                                FWIW at least DP is used in standard PC parts not coming from Apple. My display and GPU carry it, used for high-FPS (and G-SYNC) signalling.

                                Of course that’s a specific niche of gaming setups which is a niche in the overall PC market.

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                                  DisplayPort isn’t Apple-only – but for some reason tends to only be found on higher-end PC hardware.