Great news for those waiting for the tried-and-true USB
connector to follow the path of Apple's thinner, smaller lightning connector
... at least in terms of overall size. While mini-USB and micro-USB are certainly tiny by most definitions, they're still a little chunky when seen on some of the world's slimmest phones and tablets. In order to keep progress marching on, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced that a next-generation plug is in development. The USB Type-C connector will be compatible with USB 3.x and 2.x technologies, but the most important part is this: it'll be both smaller than the existing plug, plus it'll be reversible.
The reversible bit is probably Lightning's biggest improvement, as you no longer have to worry about which side is "up," therefore there's no risk of breaking anything due to an incorrect insertion. The release also notes that Intel is onboard with the new connector, so the rest of the industry should get onboard soon.
The new size is slated for "industry review" during Q1 2014, so don't be surprised to see a machine or two with the new plug (at least in prototype) at CES 2014 this January.