USB cables are used to transfer any form of digital data between electronic devices such as cameras, laptops, computers, electronic instruments, and external storage devices. It is the most widely used and cost effective type of digital transfer cable. It's uses include transfer of digital files, MIDI data, stand-alone power and electronic audio as used in audio recording.
USB cables come in a range of versions, that offer different data transfer rates. The USB 2.0 standard released in the year 2000 is capable of data transfer rates of 480Mbps, enough for devices like mouses and keyboards. USB3.0 released in 2008 enables a large jump up in data transfer speed, allowing for 5Gbps. The latest version is USB3.1, capable of 10Gbps transfer speed and comes with new type of connector, the USB-C.
USB Plug Types
The standard USB plug type we all know is Type A. External computer devices that are powered by USB will usually have a Type-B socket, requiring a USB Type-A to Type-B cable to be used to connect the device to a computer. USB Mini is another smaller plug type found generally on multimedia devices such as digital cameras and MP3 players. While the Micro USB plug is now common to all android smartphones, and also widely used on bluetooth headphones.