Microsoft: Magnetic USB Type C possible successor of the Surface Connector
The Surface Pro and the Surface Laptop are currently enjoying great popularity, especially among students, as the latest generation of the surface line up offers a great balance between performance, display, mobility, keyboard and battery life. However, these devices have a big disadvantage, which could be decisive for some users. The Surface line up, apart from the smaller Surface Go and the Surface Book 2, does not have USB Type C ports. This is a realy big point in that USB Type C is generally regarded as the connectivity standard of the future because it can do just about anything. Charging, external monitors, hard drives, external graphics cards: all of this is technically feasible with USB Type C (+ Thunderbolt).
Microsoft, on the other hand, has decided to use its own Surface Connector instead of using USB Type C like many other manufacturers. This connector can basically do the same as USB Type C. While using the surface dock this port can be used to connect several external monitors, keyboard, mouse, hard drives, etc., while the device charges itself via this port. However, the interoperability with devices that already use USB Type C is missing. The only real advantage that the Microsoft Connector has to offer over USB Type C is the fact that it is magnetically connected to the surface device. This means, for example, that if for example someone stumbles over the charging cable, it is simply disconnected from the charging port.
However, Microsoft seems to have found a solution how to combine the best of the Microsoft Connector and USB Type C: A magnetic USB Type C port and cable. Microsoft already filed the patent for this technology in May 2018. Both the plug and the connector have magnets that ensure that the cable stays in place, but can quickly and easily be disconnected if needed. However, normal USB Type C plugs can also be used. As with other devices, these are then held in place with the help of a small mechanism inside of the port, which gets deactivated the moment the system detects a magnet on the USB Type C plug.
Unfortunately, filing a patent application does not indicate whether the patent will be used in the product. However, this would definitely be desirable because it would eleminate probably the biggest disadvantage of the surface line up.