USB-C: Flood of peripherals at Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show
My favourite Apple laptop of the year, the single-port MacBook, came as something of a surprise when it was announced last March. One port? Howls of derision from the port fetishists of this world, quiet anticipation from thinking beings. I wasn’t put off by that one port. On the contrary, I now believe a single connector (think of it as a dock connector) is the way to go for lightweight road-warrior computers.
It was only a matter of time before convenient, small USB-C peripherals became available and we are now seeing the beginning of the flood tide. This week at CES in Las Vegas, a number of companies announced USB-C peripherals and the list can only grow. I’ve latched on to two of the most interesting ideas—products that I can see on my shopping list.
First comes a solution for the absence of a mag-safe port. Until the MacBook arrived, all MacBooks had sported the nifty magsafe, a magnetic power connector that would disconnect if the cable got snagged. Instead of the computer flying off the desk, the cable would snap out with no damage done. This isn’t the case with the MacBook. The USB-C is a pretty firm connector and there is no doubt that the lightweight computer would go flying if you trip over the power cable.
Accessory manufacturer Griffin has come up with a neat solution—a magsafe-style dongle that stays firmly attached to the computer while allowing the cable to snap free, just like on other Apple laptops. The dongle comes with a special cable and is a must-buy for any MacBook owner. It's a simple idea that will gain traction.
External storage has so far been restricted USB disks via an adapter. There have been no native USB-C disks to choose from.
Samsung has filled the gap but with an enticingly small drive that is little larger than a credit card. It is smaller than other USB-3 drives and will make an ideal travel companion for the MacBook. This little device comes in 250, 500 GB, 1 and 2 TB configurations and is encased in a shock-resistant metal case. It can withstand up to 1500G of force and will survive a drop of up to the meters. Prices have not been announced, but the drives will be available from next month.
Now I am on the hunt for the perfect USB-C hub to provide power in, several USB-3 sockets, SD card reader and HDMI output. I don’t think I’ll have too long to wait.