If you're an owner of a new Apple MacBook, HP Spectre or Samsung Galaxy Note 7 you'd be familiar with the slim, high-speed, high-power USB Type-C connector. It's set to become the new standard, with its reversibility (that's right, there's no wrong way up with the USB-C) just one of the advantages. It can power laptops, transfer data and solve world hunger (okay, maybe not that last one).
Now Intel have hailed it as the ideal — and superior — alternative to the headphone jack.
There are some improvements for the USB-C standard coming later in the year which could make it ideal for widespread smartphone use — making digital audio a viable replacement for routing bulky analog circuity, allowing them to be slimmer. This is what Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail told the crowds at the Intel Developer Forum.
Sanders and Ismail said the coming improvements would allow for audio to be a real focus. Features like automatically turning the microphone off when it's not in use, and connecting a phone to a display for transferring apps or movies.
We're a bit of a fan of the USB-C here at Gizmodo, with Sandisk's Ultra UBC Type-C scoring a glowing review, but they aren't without their problems — if you don't know how to use them properly, and acheap cable can straight up kill your laptop. (Type-C to Type-C only, kids).
Certification is coming, via the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in the form of a Certified USB Charger Compliance and Logo Program. Safety isn't the only concern of the program, though, with one of the main aims being to reduce the number of chargers you need, ultimately minimising e-waste.