Apple AirPods of all flavors may see USB-C charging cases in 2023.
Notable analyst and generally trusted rumormonger Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted on Tuesday that he expects “Apple to release USB-C compatible charging cases for all AirPods models in 2023.”
If accurate, that’s a surprise, because most rumors point to no new AirPods with charging cases next year.
I predict that Apple will release USB-C compatible charging cases for all AirPods models in 2023. However, the charging case of the new AirPods Pro 2 released in 2H22 can still support Lightning.August 9, 2022
Unsurprisingly, Kuo adds that the AirPods Pro 2 we’ve been clamoring for since last year and which we hope before the end of this year will still use Apple’s proprietary lighting port technology.
There was a time when Apple’s deep reinvestment in lightning port architecture was such that we couldn’t imagine leaving it behind in any product line. Now, after Apple has slowly swapped Lightning for USB-C ports on iPads of almost all sizes, uses it on its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines, and introduced the port on some of its new charging pads, it’s safe to assume that Apple is open to adding it to other peripherals.
Whether or not Apple introduces USB-C in the AirPods Pro 2, which should offer more fitness tracking features and high-res music support, could come down to the lightning port status on Apple iPhones.
All iPhone models currently use the lightning port and there is no indication that Apple is ready to give up on it for the anticipated iPhone 14.
without stopping progress
Make no mistake, the lightning port’s days are numbered, not just because Apple may be ready to upgrade to the potentially faster USB-C port, but because Apple is under intense pressure to use industry-standard ports on its devices.
The European Union has set a deadline of autumn 2024 for the adoption of USB-C charging technology in all devices. Apple is not happyclaiming that such a move could stifle innovation, but will likely comply to avoid heavy fines.
AirPods gaining the USB-C port for all cases by 2023 are on schedule and, we’re betting, could be followed by a fall 2024 launch of an iPhone 16 with USB-C ports. Of course, the supposed iPhone 15 in 2023 is just as likely for this port switch. At the beginning of this year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said (opens in new tab) Apple was testing iPhones with USB-C charging ports for release in 2023.
Whatever happens, it looks like the next set of AirPods cases will be ready for the updated charging technology.
If you want to choose from some great Bluetooth headphones that already support USB-C, check out our wireless headphones buying guide.