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except there's already a bunch of different usb-c cables looking identical but being incompatible in subtle ways, including official Apple ones?

There's industry-wide confusion related to the USB-C plug

USB-C != USB 3.1


USB-C != Thunderbolt 3


The extremetech article really frustrates me. So, can I plug in a USB 3.0 device with USB-C connector to a USB-C Macbook Pro (that has USB 3.1)? What about the Macbook One?


I've read about situations like this, and it's frustrating to think that something like this can occur.

I think it's reasonable to wonder how often this is actually in issue in practice. I don't have a new MBP (or any peripherals for that matter), so I can't speak to this directly.

Do you have a new MBP or know anyone personally who does? Have you or they had any issues with cable incompatibility?

This is just as true of any other cable. The Lightning cables you can buy at the corner store look like regular ones, but they don't have data lines, and they won't charge at full voltage. Cables are just awful. Or, one might say, knock-off cables are awful, and you shouldn't let them polute your junk drawer lest you never sort them back out.

you're missing the

> including official Apple ones

part here. If Apple had planned it better, all their USB-C cables (starting with the Macbook One) could do all the functions they need for any Apple product going forward. But even today, if you walk to an Apple store and buy a bunch of USB-C Apple products, you'll probably have to color code them yourself to not mix them up, because it won't work if you do. All Apple is helping here is saying "if you have a cable with an intsy tiny serial number print starting with X, use it only for Y". Gee thanks, that sure is a great ecosystem you got going here Apple.

There's a reason why Apple 1997 - 2007 pushed interoperable standards hard (examples: USB-A, 802.11B and then G, Firewire, mini-DP). None of these had connectors that you could confuse, including when switching between different Firewire standards, and these buses did fairly complex things as well. They even had a powerbook generation with two different Firewire ports so people don't get left hanging with their old Firewire devices. That's all under Steve Jobs and Jony Ive, just Ive not being the one in charge of doing these decisions.

I'm not sure, but I would argue having a charging cable with no data pins is the best thing you can do for security (for an unassuming user) so people can just charge of random USB ports without worrying about potential exploits.

As I understand it, there's a pretty significant tradeoff involved. If you want a USB-C cable that does everything, you're going to pay a lot more and get something that's much thicker than you need to, say, charge an iPhone.

So yes, ideally all Apple cables would do everything imaginable, but I understand why they didn't choose to do that.

But that's the thing, they don't even use it to charge iPhones, and your argument would be one for them to keep lightning, which seems like a fine connector to me. But Apple has been pushing USB-C on personal computers, and there IMO they should just have waited and then jumped on the first solution that does everything.

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