EDITORIAL: I hate microUSB

Despite the fact that I am an Apple user, I find myself overrun with microUSB cables and devices. It’s the go-to charging cable for just about everything in my life with the exception of those Apple devices. From my camera to my remote control, I just can’t escape the lowly microUSB cable, and every time I touch one I get more and more scornful.

It is, in fact, utterly impossible to fit a microUSB cable into its device the first time. I have to imagine in the entire seven-year history of the connector there have been no more than five times that anyone has actually plugged it in right the first time. I can look at the cable, look at the hole it goes into, make sure all the ridges line up, and it still doesn’t go in right. You would think that I would have at least a 50/50 chance, but it seems utterly impossible even if you have the darned thing facing the right way.

I’ve already told you all that there’s a new USB connector coming, and that it’s reversible. It’s also been pointed out that it’s still not as good as Apple’s lightning connector, because the connector is still a lump with a hole in the middle, instead of the paddle-type Lightning connector which is pretty much idiot-proof.

I don’t know when that new USB connector will take over the world — it took about 2.5 years for microUSB to become pervasive — but for at least that long, I will be cursing every single time I have to touch one of those microUSB connectors, and it seems like I’m touching them roughly every single day. I should point out that full-size USB connectors suffer from roughly the same malady… it’s very hard to figure out which way is up. It’s not impossible, since most USB cables have the USB logo on the top embossed into the plastic, and it doesn’t appear on the bottom. At least you know if you’ve got the right side; whether it actually slips in the way it should is another whole deal altogether.

The great Muhammad Ali once said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” Of all the many challenges in life, there’s no question that there are greater ones than the ability to connect a microUSB-equipped cable, but it is the insidious struggle of that connection that vexes me. It is the pebble in my home office’s shoe. And boy, do I want it out of there.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.