Apple, you may have heard, is moving from Lightning to USB-C connectivity for its next iPhones. It means that the iPhone, iPad and Mac will all be charged by the same cable. But there are still plenty of Apple products charged by Lightning, such as the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse and AirPods.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, AirPods Pro will be updated to USB-C for the charging case and announced on Tuesday, September 12, at the next Apple special event.
I would expect them to go on sale at the same time as the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9, that is, on Friday, September 22.
Gurman had already indicated new AirPods were coming a few days ago, but had not specified which model would be updated. After all, with the AirPods second generation, AirPods third generation, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, there’s a lot of Lightning sockets to be updated.
Now, he’s clarified that it’s the AirPods Pro second generation—the newest update in the range, released last September—which will specifically get the new connector.
The convenience of USB-C is considerable, and it has already come to the Apple TV remote, for instance. Though as Gurman points out, there may well be some iPhone users who are not happy because they feel they have a forest of increasingly useless Lightning cables to deal with.
On the whole, though, it’s good news. There’s other news from Gurman, too, and it’s not quite so good.
That’s the expectation that Apple won’t be making any other noticeable hardware changes besides what you plug in to charge the case. That’s not surprising as the current model is only just a year old, but even so.
And the other AirPods will get USB-C in due course, but not now. As the other headphones in the range are older, I suspect there may be other upgrades alongside changing the charging. And, personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the second-gen AirPods are retired at that point, while the third-gen model gains USB-C. And, let us dream, the third-generation AirPods drop in price and fourth-generation AirPods are revealed. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
We know that new features are coming to AirPods Pro with the release of iOS 17 (here’s exactly when that is likely to be), with more to follow.
No mention is made about AirPods Max. My guess is the over-ear headphones will switch to USB-C either when the second-generation model is launched or, at the very least, when the color palette is updated.
For now, though, we can look forward to gently improved AirPods Pro in less than two weeks’ time.