Microsoft is believed to be working on adding USB-C to its Surface family of products, but by the looks of things, the company doesn’t want to go for the traditional approach and just put this port on its devices.
Instead, what it wants to do is to take the existing design and improve it in a way that would make it more convenient for users whether they rely on USB-C for data transfers or charging.
One possible result of this work is described in a patent called “Magnetically activated latch mechanism” and which technically details how a USB-C port can rely on magnets to easily keep the cable in place all the time.
Basically, the magnetic port would work similarly to Microsoft’s very own Surface connector that already allows you to attach and remove the cable effortlessly. Microsoft believes the same idea can be used for USB-C too, which makes a lot of sense in terms of usability given customers already love the Surface connector.
For our more tech-savvy readers, Microsoft describes its improved USB-C design in the abstract section of the patent:
“A magnetic receptacle is described. The receptacle includes an electronic connector having an engagement feature on one or more sides of the electronic connector. The engagement feature is configured to engage a latching feature on a magnetic protrusion.
The receptacle includes one or more receptacle magnets positioned adjacent the magnetic receptacle configured to deactivate the latching feature on the magnetic protrusion. In one implementation, a magnetic plug is described. The plug includes a plug tip. The plug includes one or more latching features. The plug includes one or more plug magnets positioned adjacent the plug tip. The one or more plug magnets are configured to cooperate with one or more receptacle magnets to transition the one or more latching features between an engaged state and a disengaged state.”
As for when USB-C could make it to the Surface lineup, just don’t hold your breath for it, though I personally expect this to happen next year when new models are projected to see daylight.