All Three AirPods Models to Switch to USB-C
The European Parliament recently approved a major new directive to force manufacturers to offer USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of devices in Europe by the end of 2024. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said that Apple has been preparing to make changes to its devices to meet these stringent new legal requirements.
Under the new directive, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port. As such, all of Apple's AirPods and Beats products come under the EU's new directive.
Gurman believes that Apple will beat the legislation's date of application in late 2024 with most of its products. The iPhone 15, he claims, will beat the EU's mandate by a year, featuring a USB-C port in the fall of 2023. The entry level iPad, the only iPad to still feature a Lightning connector should switch to USB-C by the end of this year.
All three of Apple's AirPods models feature a Lightning connector, and while there has never been a model with a USB-C port, Apple has added new ways to charge some of the devices over time, such as Qi wireless chargers, MagSafe, and the Apple Watch charger. Gurman expects new versions of all three AirPods models to feature the port sooner rather later:
I don't think Apple will take that long to bring USB-C to all of its devices, though. I'd bet the next versions of the regular AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max all move to USB-C, and that transition should be done by 2024.
He added that "at some point in the next few years," Apple will probably begin transitioning entirely to inductive charging on the iPhone and the iPad, a move that largely exempts the devices from EU law mandating a the inclusion of a USB-C port. Similarly, it seems plausible that entirely portless AirPods could be on the way, especially since wired data transfer is not a priority for the device.