It’s just a matter of hours since Apple announced the date of its next special event, unexpectedly early. We’re expecting to see the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 9 and the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra. But there may be new AirPods, too.
According to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, updated AirPods will be announced.
The next iPhones will almost certainly switch Lightning connectors for USB-C. This rumor has been so prevalent that everyone believes it. Gurman says that AirPods will make the same switch, this September. Gurman says, “To match the new iPhones, Apple will introduce updated AirPods at the event that include a USB-C charging port.”
This move is no surprise, though the inclusion of AirPods in the September event has not been front-and-center until now. But Gurman has left his comments tantalizingly light on detail. Which AirPods does he mean? AirPods Pro, AirPods 3rd Generation, AirPods Max? Will Apple just switch the charging case connector or will the be other changes? Let’s see what we can divine.
Could It Be AirPods Max?
Back in March, a couple of unfamiliar model numbers appeared in beta versions of iOS software. One was a case number, one an AirPods number. Since left and right AirPods have separate numbers, a single code was a puzzle. But AirPods Max only need one number because they are not separate buds.
So, the rumor at the time was that Apple would switch AirPods Max to USB-C. I’m sure that’s right, though that doesn’t mean that’s what we’re going to see in September. If we do, we would likely expect new colors to go with the update, and there have been zero leaks of that, so, I believe AirPods Max is getting the update later.
The new charging case is straightforward enough, but which AirPods does it refer to: AirPods second generation, AirPods third generation or AirPods Pro? Obviously the Max headphones are out of the frame here because the over-ears don’t have a charging case.
AirPods Pro Most Likely To Be Updated
These are the most expensive in-ears so the upgrade could come to the Pro model first. On the other hand, all Pro cases have wireless charging built in, and the AirPods Pro were updated most recently.
Changing the connector would likely have ramifications for charging, for instance, so it’s not as simple as a swap. So, will Apple take the opportunity to change things up in other ways? Might there be an upgraded processor on board?
My gut feeling is that Apple will switch to USB-C as painlessly as possible. Since the AirPods Pro are newest, and therefore least in need of a bigger update from Apple’s point of view, I think that’s what we’ll see on September 12. It will be a straightforward connector switch, perhaps with new figures for call time or battery life as a result.
I believe the older AirPods will be updated after that, so I don’t think we’ll see these just yet. But when we do, they could see a fuller redesign, more than just the connector.
And I would expect the most affordable AirPods, the second-gen model, to be retired at that point.
There’s a lot of informed guesswork here. But we’ll know at least some of the answers in less than two weeks.