Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Here's your first look at the USB cable that, in all likelihood, you'll be plugging in thousands of times over the next few years. The organization in charge of the USB standard, used by billions of devices worldwide, has just taken the wraps off the new and much-improved connector.

As anyone who has used USB devices over the last few years could tell you, it can be a pain to figure out which way is "up" when plugging something in, especially with the familiar, rectangular "Type A" ones, which never seem to go in right. The smaller Micro USB standard has made finding "up" easier, but it can be a hassle to do without looking, or in the dark.

The new Type C USB 3.1 connector, compared to a normal Micro USB cable.USB Implementers Forum

The new Type C connector for USB 3.1 makes this all a thing of the past: Not only is there no up or down, but the cable is reversible, so you can use either end — just push and listen for a connection-confirming click. It's also smaller even than the Micro USB plugs, meaning the unsightly charge port gaps on phones and other devices will be less conspicuous.

Though this is the first look at the cable itself, USB 3.1's technical specs have been known for several months. The new standard will support a number of useful features for device makers, like variable power delivery options, support for sending high-resolution video signals, and of course a fast data transfer rate.

The port (left) as it is expected to appear.USB Implementers Forum

It won't be backwards compatible with your old USB devices, though adapters will almost certainly be available.

So far there are only 3-D renders of the Type C connector, put out by manufacturer Foxconn, so things may still change a bit — but the main features and improved ergonomics appear to be locked in. The final specs should be published in July, after which we can expect devices to start using this handy new port.