The USB is often described as ubiquitous, and with good reason. An acronym for Universal Serial Bus, the USB’s purpose is to connect peripherals to a computer.

From techie to casual computist, seeing a product with the familiar USB connector leaves a person with a warm, fuzzy feeling. There may be faster connectors, but USB is convenient, reliable, durable, relatively inexpensive and more than adequate for most tasks in terms of data transfer, making it the most popular way to connect.

USB Typewriter

Using a USB connector, one can hook up anything from a mouse to an old school Nintendo controller, from a keyboard to a retro typewriter.

“USB” even sort of sounds like “ubiquity.” Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Regardless, the USB gets around.

“There are [more than] 10 billion USB products in the install base today, and the industry is shipping [more than] 3 billion USB products a year and growing,” USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft said.

Using hubs, it is possible to connect 127 of those 10 billion USB products to a single host computer at a time.

USB is not only convenient for data transfer, but also for providing moderate amounts of power to connected devices such as speakers and external hard drives. Today, multiple USB ports dot the sides, fronts and backs of Macs and PCs alike. The following timeline explains how we got here.

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October 08, 2012