Microsoft is creating a Surface USB-C dongle for existing devices, but the software giant also appears to be preparing a USB-C Surface connector for its future laptops and tablets. In a patent filing, spotted by MSPoweruser, Microsoft reveals it’s working on a version of its Surface connector port that will work with existing USB-C devices.
The patent, filed by Surface designer Jan Raken, describes a solution that will maintain Microsoft’s magnetic connector for power, while keeping the port on the device USB-C. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s patent does say the connector will only support USB 2.0 speeds. This could render the port a little useless, especially as most USB-C implementations use USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 capabilities. However, Microsoft may have managed to implement USB 3 speeds on the Surface device port itself, and simply restrict the Surface connector to USB 2.
Either way, most Surface users will be hoping Microsoft can combine Thunderbolt into its USB-C plans for the future. Microsoft’s Surface connector does provide the convenience of the MagSafe-like magnet connection that Apple dropped from its new MacBook Pro lineup, but transfer speeds will be a keen area of interest for future Surface devices.
Microsoft’s Surface chief, Panos Panay, explained to The Verge earlier this year that the company is taking a careful approach to USB-C for Surface. “The last thing I want is to take away the port they need today and tomorrow and the next day, to achieve a technology milestone where I then put a barrier in front of my customers,” says Panay. “A dongle or an adaptor or a cable that didn’t work because it was Thunderbolt or wasn’t Thunderbolt or I bought the wrong peripheral or I tried to charge it with my phone charger but it wasn’t enough to charge my device all day. Those are those moments.”