The inventor of the USB 1 standard has said he regrets the awkward design that makes it infuriatingly easy to plug sticks in the wrong way round.
Ajay Bhatt (pictured), who led the team at Intel that created USB in the 1990s, admitted that its biggest failing is its lack of “reversibility”.
Talking to National Public Radio’s website in the US, he said USB could have been reversible, but it would have required more wires and circuits, doubling the cost.
He said Intel released how much frustration the design would cause, but still opted for rectangular connector and a 50-50 chance of plugging it in correctly, rather than a round connector with less mom for error.
Bhatt told the website: “In hindsight, based on all the experiences that we all had, of course it was not as easy as it should be”.
He recalled that the success of USB depended on persuading major computing manufacturers to adopt the model – and that this relied on the technology being as cheap as possible.
“It took us some time to prove that this technology is indispensable,” Bhatt said. His design became the industry standard in 1998 when Apple launched the first iMac with USB ports. It took until 2014 for a reversible standard (USB-C) to be approved.
The 61-year-old was inspired to create USB because back in the Nineties existing standards were “complex and very user unfriendly”, requiring lots of different ports.
He still works at Intel, having also helped to invent PCI Express, a motherboard connector that has increased bandwidth and data-transfer speed.