Kuo: AirPods Pro With USB-C Charging Case to Launch Later This Year

Apple plans to release second-generation AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case later this year, with mass shipments expected to begin in the second to third quarter, according to information shared today by Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

airpods pro 2
The second-generation AirPods Pro launched in September 2022 with a Lightning charging case. The updated version of the second-generation AirPods Pro would have a USB-C charging case instead, but it's unclear if any other hardware changes are planned. Kuo believes references to new AirPods discovered in the iOS 16.4 Release Candidate earlier this week are related to the USB-C version of the AirPods Pro.

Around two years after the original AirPods Pro launched, Apple started selling the headphones with a MagSafe-compatible charging case, so there is precedent for a mid-cycle charging case update. Unfortunately, the MagSafe case was not sold on a standalone basis, and it's unclear if the USB-C case will be sold separately.

The current version of the AirPods Pro charging case features a built-in speaker that can play a sound when the case is misplaced, an opening to attach a lanyard, a U1 chip for Find My support, and newly added compatibility with the Apple Watch charger.

All four iPhone 15 models coming later this year are expected to be equipped with a USB-C port, so it makes sense for the AirPods Pro charging case to switch to USB-C as well. Apple already switched the Apple TV's Siri Remote from Lightning to USB-C last year and other accessories like the MagSafe Battery Pack are rumored to follow eventually.

Kuo added that Apple currently has no plans to release USB-C charging cases for the second-generation or third-generation AirPods. This suggests the standard AirPods may not have a USB-C charging case until a fourth-generation pair are released. Apple released the third-generation AirPods in October 2021.

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Top Rated Comments

letsGoOn2 Avatar
10 weeks ago

People feel their Magical and Amazing Apple products are less "special" if they use the same charging/data port that everyone else gets to use. Lightning is technically inferior in every possible way, but it's unique, and that's absolutely an emotional draw to a certain subset of the population. But we can't blame people—Apple has shaped it that way.

We don't get a standard connector, we get Apple's proprietary connector that Apple then abandons at some point in the future in order to churn adoption of some other "magical" advancement—Apple had to think fast due to the EU forcing their hand, so the rumors say we're getting spurious MFI USB-C cables. Those new to the ecosystem, or only iOS owners, won't realize that Apple has been pulling this nonsense since the 680x0 Mac days—never missing an opportunity to squeeze profit from users through proprietary connectors or, even worse, non-standard signaling across otherwise standards-compliant connectivity, then marketing that difference as a benefit. It is a marketing conceit wrapped in technological hand-waving designed to increase high-margin ancillary purchases and it's utterly shameless.

The side effect of the cognitive dissonance of people having to abandon this shaping suddenly, as in the case of Lightning versus USB-C, is strenuously telling us how they "...only use wireless charging anyway." Super looking forward to that for the next year.
I personally think the lightning connector was necessary when it was introduced some 11 years ago now. It replaced the apple 30-pin connector, which was big and hard to fit on smaller devices.

The USB connector at the time lighting was introduced was USB-A, which was also fairly large and somewhat fussy in that it had to be inserted in the correct orientation. USB went on to add "mini" and "micro" connectors, but they were still single-orientation connectors that were prone to wear and damage, and the sheer number of similar, incompatible connectors was confusing. If USB-C existed back then it would have made sense for Apple to adopt it, but I think Apple did well to avoid USB in that era.

The lighting connector is easy to plug in even when you aren't looking at it, and other than occasional debris accumulation in the port the connector has been fairly reliable for a decade or so. USB-C has reached parity with lighting in terms of size, ease of use, and durability, and so I think the time is right for Apple to finally adopt the universal standard.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bLackjackj Avatar
10 weeks ago
How about black Apple??? ...just give me black and I'll buy! I cannot believe its 2023 and only available in 1 colour.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iamgalt Avatar
10 weeks ago

How about black Apple??? ...just give me black and I'll buy! I cannot believe its 2023 and only available in 1 colour.
Apple offers AirPods in your favorite color. As long as your favorite color is white.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tuckerjj Avatar
10 weeks ago
And this is why I didn’t buy the new AirPods Pro yet - it was clear that these were coming sooner rather than later.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
msackey Avatar
10 weeks ago

It's sad that Apple gave in on this without a fight. Makes you wonder what other government demands they will kowtow to.
Interesting thought. But what is there to fight? Is USB C worse than Lightning? I can't think of any significant disadvantages going from Lightning to USB C. More and more devices use USB C which means it's easier to find a cable and also power adapter that allows for USB C cables.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rychiar Avatar
10 weeks ago
meh, i wireless charge thelse always anyways
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)