Apple’s new MacBook may be the thinnest and lightest the company has ever produced, but the buzz at its March debut was centered around the MacBook’s lack of holes. The paper-thin laptop owes much of its design to its inclusion of just a single port. As a successor to USB Type-A ports, the USB Type-C serves the function of many others. In the MacBook, it provides charging, USB 3 data transfer for external devices and peripherals, and video output through support for HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort connections.
Ports such as Thunderbolt and Lightning were designed by a single manufacturer — Apple — to work with certain devices. USB-C is the result of a collaboration — the USB Implementers Forum behind the standard includes over 700 companies, including Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung. This makes the new architecture truly universal.
Most existing devices can be connected to a USB-C port with an adapter, and we will see more USB-C to USB-C connections in the near future. The main advantage is faster data transfer. It’s theoretically twice as fast as USB 3.0. Charging times will also be reduced, and that’s where the Xtron by Maximas comes into play. Maximas is seeking funding through an Indigogo campaign, and prices start at around $70.
The Xtron boasts a 13,400 mAh power capacity, a USB Type-C port, and a USB Type-A port. Thus it can be used to charge two devices simultaneously. The Japanese battery cells come from the same company that manufactures batteries for Tesla.
The manufacturer claims that this is the world’s first true USB Type-C power bank, but it’s relying on the battery’s power output to make that claim. Other companies have already built Type-C power banks, but they deliver less power.
With a power output of 4.2 amps, Maximas says that the Xtron will charge your devices in “no time.” The company claims that 3.5 hours of charging time will extend the new MacBook’s battery life by 8 hours.
Related: Apple MacBook (2015) review
As of this writing, Maximas has raised over $3,600 of the $30,000 it says it needs to get the Xtron into production. The timeline shows an expected shipping date of December 15, 2015.
As more companies implement USB-C architecture into their devices, the Xtron and others like it will come into their own. In addition to the MacBook, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones, Nokia N1 tablet, and the Chromebook Pixel all feature USB-C ports.