Apple's 12-inch MacBook can use third-party USB Type-C cables

Owners of new MacBook will have other options in addition to Apple's cables

If you're buying a new 12-inch MacBook and scrambling to find cables that work with the laptop's new USB Type-C port, you have more options than Apple's pricey cables.

MacBook users can instead buy less expensive USB Type-C cables from third parties. The new MacBook also can work with third-party USB Type-C chargers, a big change from the company's proprietary MagSafe chargers, which are used for other MacBooks.

The MacBook has just one USB Type-C port, and MacBook owners may need to buy a range of cables for charging and connections to monitors or external peripherals.

"Your MacBook will charge from USB-C power adapters not manufactured by Apple if they adhere to the USB Power Delivery specification," Apple said on a support page updated this week.

It will also be possible to use third-party cables to connect the 12-inch MacBook to Ethernet via the USB Type-C port, Apple said on the support page.

The new MacBook was the first laptop introduced with the USB Type-C port. Apple has generally supported third-party USB cables with older Macs, and the Type-C port is based on industry standard specifications as defined by the USB Implementers Forum.

Many USB Type-C peripherals are on their way, including a storage drive from Lacie, and flash drives from Emtec and SanDisk.

Standard USB Type-C cables have the same connector on both ends, which wasn't the case older USB cables. Some cables now being sold allow the MacBook to hook up via the Type-C port to monitors with HDMI and DisplayPort monitors, and to older peripherals with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

A number of third-party Type-C cables are available from Monoprice and Belkin. Even cheaper ones are on sale through Amazon.

Apple is selling a US$19 USB Type-C to USB adapter, a $29 two-meter charging cable, a $49 Type-C power adapter, and a $79 USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter with HDMI, USB 3.0 and USB Type-C ports.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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