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One of the chief annoyances about USB cables is that they can only be plugged in one way—and you will invariably try to plug a USB cord in the wrong way at least once before succeeding. That's one of the problems the USB Promoter Group hopes to solve with the just-announced USB Type-C connector (PDF), which like Apple's Lightning connector will be reversible so that there's no "wrong" way to plug it in. The new connector is described as a "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification" and its design should be finalized by the middle of 2014.Ultimately, the new connector is designed to be used on both ends of the USB cable (the most common cables today have a rectangular Type-A connector on the end that plugs into your computer or charger and one of the many Type-B connectors on the end that connects to the device). Once computers, chargers, phones, tablets, and other accessories are all using Type-C ports, this should greatly cut down on the number of cables you need to connect all of your stuff together. In the meantime, the new spec calls for a variety of different cables and adapters meant to help the new Type-C connector interface with older Type-A and Type-B ports—USB Type-A ports have been standard on pretty much every computer sold since the mid 1990s, so expect that transition to take some time.The new connector isn't actually pictured at any point in the release, but we know that it will be similar in size to the USB 2.0 Micro-B ports used in the vast majority of non-Apple phones and tablets today. This means that, in addition to being reversible, the clunky and unattractive micro-USB cable that comes with the Galaxy Note 3 (or most modern USB 3.0 hard drives) can be replaced by something sleeker once high-end phones begin supporting USB 3.1.Though it's unfortunate that this new connector breaks compatibility with current connectors and cables, the new connector is designed to "scale for future USB bus performance" improvements. As USB 3.1 is supplanted by newer and faster versions of the standard, the new Type-C connector shouldn't have to change.