Why was Apple forced to switch to USB-C?

Shreyas Sen

Apple recently announced that it plans to adopt the USB-C connector for all four new iPhone 15 models, helping USB-C become the connector of choice of the electronics industry, nine years after its debut. The move puts Apple in compliance with European Union law requiring a single connector type for consumer devices.

USB-C is a small, versatile connector for mobile and portable devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones. It transfers data at high speeds. transmits video signals and delivers power to charge devices batteries. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. The C refers to the third type, following types A and B.

The USB Implementers Forum, a consortium of over 1,000 companies that promote and support USB technology, developed the USB-C connector to replace the older USB connectors as well as other types of ports like HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA. The aim is to create a single, universal connector for a wide range of devices.

The key features and benefits of USB-C include a reversible connector that you can insert in either orientation. It also allows some cables to have the same connector on both ends for connecting between devices and connecting devices to chargers, unlike most earlier USB and Lightning cables.

USB-C's widespread adoption in the electronics industry is likely to lead to a universal standard that reduces the need for multiple types of cables and adapters. Also, its slim and compact shape allows manufacturers to make thinner and lighter devices. USB-C refers to the physical connector. Connectors use a variety of data transfer protocols - sets of rules for formatting and handling data - such as the USB and Thunderbolt protocols.

The latest USB protocol, version 4, provides a data transfer rate of up to 40 gigabits per second, depending on the rating of the cable. The latest Thunderbolt, also on version 4, supports up to 40 gigabits-per-second data transfer and 100 watts charging. The newly announced Thunderbolt 5 will support up to 80 and 120 gigabits-per-second transfer and 140 to 240 watts power transfer over a USB-C connector.

Since its introduction in 2014, USB-C has gained widespread popularity and has already become the connector of choice for most non-Apple devices. Apple converted the iPad Pro to USB-C in 2018 and now is doing the same for the best selling Apple device, the iPhone.

Thanks to the industrywide adoption of USB-C, consumers soon won't have to ask "Is this the right connector?" when they reach for a cable to charge or sync their portable devices. (This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence.)

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What is the inculcation of scientific temper?

Gona are the times when children were expected to remain silent in children were expected to remain silent in classrooms and around elders. Today, the world wants to hear the voices of youngsters. Their questions make leaders, thinkers, and scientists reflect on the path that humanity is trudging along. But to enable youngsters to ask the right questions, it's pertinent to instill in them the value of scientific temper.

Despite being a Constitutional mandate, few efforts are made by the collective society to include this vital value in the otherwise exhaustive menu of our value systems that we teach children. Why is this so?


The concept

We live in an era of deepfakes and fake news. Blindly believing unverified claims and unsourced information has resulted in riots and cost lives around the world, including in India, in recent years. The fine line separating reality from perceived realities has blurred beyond visibility in the digital era. In these troubled times, scientific temper is the only solace that can help us sift and find truth.



Scientific temper can be explained as a mindset that encourages curiosity. skepticism, and, most importantly, a willingness to question established beliefs. For instance, while encountering new, unheard information, a person with scientific temper would stop to think, ask questions, and seek explanations.

They will not jump into conclusions based on the face value. They will not allow their emotional response overtake logic. Scientific temper helps us actively engage with the world around us and understand it better. It helps us avoid knee-jerk reactions in sensitive situations, thereby preventing any unnecessary consequences.

The history

Indian’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote about the importance of "scientific temper" in his book "Discovery of India" in 1946, stressing its necessity for everyone to think like scientists. This concept of scientific temper found its place in the Constitution, much later, in 1976.


It was included under clause (h) of Article 51A through the 42nd amendment. This amendment bestowed upon every citizen the duty to develop scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform." In 2014, the theme for the National Science Day was "Fostering Scientific Temper."


The significance

Developing a scientific temper helps an individual develop as a good citizen, and a good human being. It helps youngsters manage their professional and personal relationships with minimal conflicts, while contributing positively to their immediate society. It is a critical building block for a healthy democracy as well

Scientific temper values the importance of questioning established beliefs and being curious. This practice will make individuals voice their opinions and raise questions, thus facilitating collective input in decision-making processes. When students learn to think scientifically, they learn how to make smart choices and solve problems.

In professional settings, it helps them resolve conflicts. Manage teams, and succeed in large matrix structures.


The contribution

Scientific temper has played a significant role in the development of India from a primitive civilization into a modern, emerging global war. Over generations, social reformers worked tirelessly to rid India of many, many social evils that arose from inherent superstitions. During this process, they appealed to the scientific temper of the general populace to shed their blind beliefs through reasoning and verbal articulation.

From human sacrifice to window remarriage, intouchability and religious divide- they addressed many issues. Some of these practices have been abolished from our contemporary society while other continues to haunt us even today. Only, continuous and concerted efforts to inculcate scientific temper will help our country move forward from narrow social constructs to embrace peace, prosperity, and pluralism.

Parents, educational institutions, media, and publishers of content for youngsters have a role to play in this process. As Nehru wrote, ‘’ what is needed is the scientific approach; the adventurous, the search for truth and new knowledge, the refusal to accept anything without testing and trial, the capacity to change previous conclusions in the face of new evidence… (This) should be a way of life.

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Why did UTC replace Greenwich Mean Time?

The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) replaced the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the world standard of time on January 1, 1972. For 50 years now, UTC has been the standard that is used to set all time zones around the globe.

Time is now an integral part of our lives every day. We wake up at a particular time, go to schools or offices at a set time, have our classes or meetings scheduled to take place at a given time... there is an endless list like this. Every aspect of life is now driven by time.

It wasn't always like this though. Until some centuries ago, there wasn't any need to measure time as accurately as we do today. There was basically daytime and nighttime in all the different places on Earth as the sun, moon, and the stars dictated time. But then, as the world grew smaller, and more connected with increasingly better technology, things changed.

Need for standardisation

When rail and shipping lines started connecting the world, economic activity started requiring standardised timetables to coordinate activities. The idea for a universal time stemmed from this requirement and it was first conceived late in the 1800s.

A way to synchronise clocks across the world was first discussed in 1884 by the members who met at the International Meridian Conference in Washington D.C. While latitudes running east to west had always been measured from the equator, there was no such consensus around longitudes, or lines running north to south around our planet.

The prime meridian

It was at this conference that delegates from 25 countries chose to set the prime meridian or the zero point for longitude lines as that which passes through Greenwich, England. Time standards and time zones were built around this line, and hence came to be known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The advent of the atomic clocks after World War II enabled time to be measured with astounding accuracy in the second half of the 20th Century. These atomic clocks were able to show that Earth's rotational period actually varied ever so slightly on an everyday basis, owing to tectonic movements, melting ice sheets, and natural oscillations in our planet's movements.

Atomic time vs solar time

The idea behind Coordinated Universal Time or UTC (though it wasn't yet known by that name) was thus born in the 1960s. It was a way to accommodate the differences in timekeeping that arise between atomic time and solar time. While atomic time refers to the time derived from atomic clocks and is hence extremely accurate, solar time is the time arrived at using astronomical measurements of the rotation of the Earth on its axis relative to the sun, and is hence, variable. UTC is not only kept within an exact number of seconds of International Atomic Time (TAI), but is also kept within 0.9 second of solar time or astronomical time, denoted as UT1.

Result of a compromise

UTC started being used in the 1960s, but it wasn't until January 1, 1972 that it became the world standard for time, serving as the international basis of civil time as well as scientific time. This meant that UTC had effectively become the successor of GMT, providing for the basis of time worldwide. In case you are wondering how Coordinated Universal Time is abbreviated to UTC, then you will be pleased to learn that it is the result of a compromise. The acronym is a compromise between English and French speakers. While the English name for it, Coordinated Universal Time, would normally be abbreviated as CUT, the French name for it, Temps Universel Coordonne, would have been TUC. Instead of having it as CUT or TUC, a compromise was reached, and the acronym UTC was born.

Every time zone in the world is now given in terms of UTC. The Indian Standard Time (IST), for instance, is UTC+5:30. This means that IST is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of UTC. Irrespective of where you are on Earth, the time in that region can be given in terms of UTC.

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Where did the chalk come from?

Have you ever wondered where the chalk comes from? Well, it originates from the shells of single-celled marine animals known as foraminifera and from the calcareous remains of single-celled algae called coccolithophores!

When foraminifera, coccolithophores and other organisms die, their remains sink to the bottom and accumulate as a fine-grained marine sediment known as ooze. These deposits, built up over many, many years, eventually consolidate into chalk rocks and give rise to chalk cliffs above sea level due to the movement of Earth. Such cliffs are found in many parts of the world.

So, chalk is nothing but the white or light grey, porous limestone composed mainly of calcium carbonate quarried from chalk cliffs. Chalk is used for making lime and Portland cement. Finely ground and purified chalk is used as a filler in a wide variety of materials, including ceramics, putty, cosmetics, crayons, plastics, rubber, paper, and paints.

Much of the early blackboard writing was done with pieces of natural chalk. But today blackboard chalk is made from gypsum or calcium sulphate manufactured from other sources of calcium carbonate. Gypsum chalk is the softest and writes smoothest; however, it produces more dust than natural chalk.

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What is a Compact Disc?

            Compact disc is a new kind of disc which is recorded and played by laser beam. Compact disc has silvery, mirror-like surfaces which reflect light in a rainbow spectrum. The music disc is about 12 cm dia. while video disc is about the size of an LP and hold both pictures and sound.

            In the recording process, sound signals are converted into number so that each part of the signal has a precise code. These numbers are recorded as the binary digits 0 and 1. Physically, sound is recorded on a CD as a series of minute pits and flats which relate to the two digits.

           The laser disc has a very reflective metallic surface, covered by a protective coating of clear plastic. A semiconductor or small He-Ne laser is used for scanning. The player spins the disc and scans with laser beam which moves straight across the disc from the centre to the edge. The shiny surface reflects the beam back into the player, where it is picked up by electronic device. This produces an electrical signal which the player decodes back into video pictures and sounds. The laser beam reads about 20,000 digits every second which are converted into sound signals.

           The biggest advantage of compact discs is that they never wear out because there is no physical contact between the disc and the player - only a beam of light. 

What is the principle of an autopilot?

Most large planes have an autopilot. This is a device operated by a computer. It will fly the plate without the pilot’s touching the controls. These autopilots can even control take offs and landings.








The principle of an automatic pilot is similar to the automatic steering of ships, but here three gyroscopic sensors and their associated equipment are used to control the three variables in aircraft position.

These three variables are yaw, pitch and roll. The complex autopilot system uses an airborne computer which activates servomotors for introducing necessary corrections. A radio or radar link to the computer allows control from the ground for automatic takeoffs and landings.


What is bar code?

A bar code is computerized information encoded in a pattern of black and white stripes. The black and white lines represent IS and OS and can be read by light. They carry encoded information - from the membership number of a sports club to the price and stock number of a packet of washing powder in a supermarket. In fact bar codes are used to store data of all kinds.

The code is scanned by a beam of light. When a beam of light is passed over the bar code only the white stripes reflect back the light. This is picked up by a photo - detector which produces a pulse of electricity when it receives light. So the black and white bar code is translated into on/off pulses of electricity. These pulses are fed into a computer for decoding. Nowadays laser beams are being used for reading the bar codes.

What is LPG?

         The term LPG stands for liquefied petroleum gas. LPG is commonly used for domestic cooking purposes. It is supplied in gas cylinders that need to be replaced when their fuel contents are consumed. The supply in gas cylinders contains a mixture of liquefied butane and iso-butane under pressure. The mixture remains a liquid under pressure but the highly volatile liquid fuel in the cylinder evaporates when pressure is released. The gaseous mixture starts going into the burner of attached stove or oven. Here it is ignited and the blue flame is used for different purposes.

         LPG is used as a cooking fuel. This is also used in water heaters, space heaters and furnaces. This gas is also used to heat incubators and brooders, to sterilize milking utensils and other equipments, dry fruits and vegetables and prevent frost damage.

         Moreover, LPG is highly combustible and forms an explosive mixture with air, therefore, any leakage followed by its mixing with air can cause a severe explosion just by the ignition of one match stick. In order to make gas leakage easily detectable some strong smelling substance is added to LPG. Before igniting the match stick we should be sure that there is no such smell near the gas cylinder or in the kitchen.


How does a steam iron work?

           A hot iron smooths out creases in cloth. Most irons are powered by electricity. Inside the iron is an electric heater. A steam iron provides heat and steam at the same time for ironing many different fabrics. Steam makes the cloth slightly damp which helps to remove creases, and wrinkles because moisture softens the fibres in the material and makes them flexible.

          A steam iron contains a water tank in which water is boiled by the heating element to make steam. A push-button on top of the iron opens a valve to let the steam through the holes on the cloth being ironed. With the button up, no steam gets through to the cloth and the iron works like an ordinary iron.


What is the remote control of a television set?

          The remote control is a small hand-held device used by a viewer to control the television without touching its controls. It is an opto-electronic device which makes use of optical and electronic techniques and hardware.

           The remote control device emits a beam of light which is detected by a, “light control” built into the television. In an optical remote controller, a multivator (1) produces pulses (2) from push button controls (3). The pulses are amplified (4) and modulate a beam of light in the form of saw tooth pulses (5) These pulses are received by a photo transistor (6) fitted in the television set, amplified (7) and used as a trigger to recreate the pulse shape (8) The resulting signals are used to change volume and channels.

          The volume, contrast and channel can be altered by remote control. If the television is connected to a video cassette recorder, programmes can be recorded and replayed by remote control. A remote control prevents the wear and tear of switch buttons. 

What is automatic door operation?

              Scientists have developed the devices by which a door can be opened or closed automatically. There are three common ways of operating automatic doors: (1) by actuating a pressure pad on the surface in front of the door, (2) by cutting a light beam located in a wall near the door and (3) by actuating a wall mounted manual pressure pad like a switch.

              Automatic doors are powered by various drive systems - some are totally electric, some are electromechanical and others are pneumatic. Various door opening actions are available such as automatic slide with or without manual swing out side panels for use when the automatic doors are locked or turned off; single or double swing doors and side and swing combinations. Automatic door opening and closing devices are becoming more and more popular day by day. 

What is an Alkaline Battery?

A battery is a device that produces electricity by chemical action. A battery contains one or more units called cells. Each cell can produce current.        

There are three main types of dry cell batteries: carbon-zinc, alkaline and mercury. Here we are describing an alkaline battery.

An alkaline dry cell battery is more powerful than carbon-zinc battery. It lasts five to eight times longer than a carbon-zinc battery. It has carbon and zinc as electrodes. Instead of a carbon rod extending from the top, a nail like collector (1) is inserted from the bottom. The granules of zinc which form the anode (2) are made uniform in size and shape. The electrolyte - a solution of potassium hydroxide - is in direct contact with the anode, ensuring that the anode is exhausted by the end of the battery’s life. The manganese dioxide cathode (3) is made by electrolysis. The additional oxygen increases the reactivity of the cell. Alkaline dry cells are used mainly for portable radios. 

How is synthetic rubber made?

                  Rubber, which is in common use, is of two types, namely, natural rubber and synthetic rubber. Natural rubber comes from the juice of a tree while synthetic rubber is made from chemicals.

                 Synthetic rubber was first developed before 1900 from the hydrocarbon isoprene which was synthesized from turpentine. Almost all types of synthetic rubber are obtained from petroleum industry. Important sources are styrene, acetylene and butadiene. Two of the most important types of synthetic rubber are butyl rubber and styrene-butadiene rubber. These two rubbers along with natural rubber made up about 90 percent of the worlds’ demand.

                Natural-synthetic rubber is also an important rubber for the industry. These are the synthetics that duplicate the molecular structure of natural rubber and can be used interchangeably with the natural product. Since World War II, a lot of products such as foam rubber have been directly made from natural rubber latex or from synthetic equipment.


Continue reading "How is synthetic rubber made? "

How are skyscrapers built?

          Skyscrapers are tall buildings that tower in the air. The foundations of a skyscraper are laid by drilling holes in the ground and filling them with concrete. If the ground is firm, the foundations are wide so that they will spread the weight of the building and they do not go very deep. If the ground is not very firm, deep shafts of concrete are driven into the ground to anchor the skyscraper firmly.

          Then a frame of steel griders or concrete beams is erected, often with a pillar like concrete core containing lift shafts and stairs. The frame and core take all the weight of the building so that the walls do not have to support the floors above.

          The tallest skyscraper of the world is the Sears Tower of Chicago state (Illinois) with 110 storeys rising 443 meters. The other famous skyscraper is National Westminster Tower of Great Britain.

What is a cellular phone?

           Cellular telephone or radio telephone is a type of mobile telephone which is integrated with existing telephone systems, allowing mobile users to contact any one with a standard telephone and vice-versa. Each mobile telephone has its own number which can be dialed from any other telephone. The cellular telephone can cover the entire country; even inter-continental telephone calls are possible with cellular telephone.

           A cellular telephone network is setup by dividing the country into a series of cells, each with its own radio transmitter controlled by a central switching computer. Each cell is about 5km across and it broadcasts and receives low power signals on its own set of frequencies. Since each cell is so small, the same set of frequencies can be reused in any other cell whose transmitter’s range does not overlap the first cell. As a cellular telephone is mobile and moves from one cell to another, the broadcast frequency needs to be changed.

            Cellular radio phone signals follow a route starting from the mobile, then of the radio transmitter. The signal is sent along the conventional telephone lines to an exchange. The analog signal is converted to digital signal, ready for switching to the correct destination. After switching, the signal is reconverted to analog and sent along telephone lines to the destination transmitter, where it is transmitted and consequently received by another mobile.

           There are at present three types of cellular telephones. These are - automobile based, pocket or briefcase portables and trans-portables which can be moved in a vehicle and used in the hand.

           Cellular phones are being used by many countries besides India such as Saudi Arabia, U.S.A., Sweden, Britain, Japan, Middle East countries etc.