If it seems weird to you that Apple abandoned Thunderbolt, its all-in-one connector created just a few years back, in favor of USB-C for the new MacBook, you’re not the only one. It is weird. But there might be a more straightforward explanation for that than you think: According to a new rumor, Apple effectively invented USB-C.
According to noted Apple pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Apple was the singular driver behind the USB-C standard. Gruber said this on the latest episode of his podcast, The Talk Show:
“I have heard, I can’t say who but lets call them informed little birdies, that USB-C is an Apple invention and that they gave it to the standards bodies … and that the politics of such is that they can’t really say that. They’re not going to come out in public and say that but that they did. It is an Apple invention and they want it to become a standard.
“What I’ve heard is that it’s an Apple invention that was sort of developed alongside Lightning and that they donated, they gave to the standards bodies because they want the industry standard to be thin enough for their devices and they want it to be reversible.”
After people raised doubts about the claim, Gruber added a clarification:
“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.”
That makes a lot of sense to me. USB-C has a lot more in common with the design ethos of a connector like Thunderbolt than something like USB 3. What do you think?