Next Generation USB Connector to be Reversible →

This will be convenient for the user, once it’s here. I love the Lighting connector on my iPhone 5S. Much like Touch ID, I can’t imagine going back to a world where I’d have to look at my phone’s power adapter before plugging it in.

But, while we are all eagerly waiting and wondering what is taking the rest of the world so long to “catch up to Apple”, we forget about the planning it takes to keep the embedded world ticking.

Technological advancements that are multi-platform and backwards-compatible do not simply “show up” for the holidays: It is an unfathomable effort to consider the impact that a forward-looking change will have on an existing specification. When you consider that USB is a multi-platform interface — (think computer architectures: x86, ARM) — you can’t forget that the BIOSes and boot loaders of these platforms are simultaneously evolving to encourage cross-compatibility (think UEFI on x86) while maintaining implementation-specific workarounds to permit backwards compatibility with legacy devices.

A change that isn’t thought through can lead to compatibility restrictions, limiting the use of some devices to very specific combinations of hardware and software, causing havoc with a specification *named* with the intent to be universal.

(via DaringFireball, and The Loop)