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airpods and iphone 15 expected to have usb-c charging in 2023

(Photo: Marcus Urbenz/Unsplash)Remember earlier this week, when I mentioned that Apple has historically refused to make all of its devices USB-C compatible? Well, I couldn’t be happier to find myself eating crow. A well-respected Apple analyst is predicting that two major Apple devices will adopt USB-C charging next year.

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst in Taiwan, frequently shares market and tech evolution predictions as they relate to mobile devices. Most of Kuo’s (impressively accurate) forecasts involve Apple—whether the company will move away from Chinese manufacturing, how geopolitics affect Apple’s supply chain, and how customers can expect device prices to fluctuate as new editions drop. On Tuesday Kuo tweeted that he predicts all AirPods models will be USB-C compatible in 2023, even if the new AirPods Pro 2 are released with Lightning charging later this year.

Kuo’s theory aligns with the very high likelihood that Apple will make the iPhone 15 USB-C compatible when it’s released the same year. In May, someone with knowledge of Apple’s planned device evolution told Bloomberg that the company was looking at swapping in USB-C compatibility for its future smartphones. That same month, Kuo vaguely referenced a “survey” (most likely of component suppliers) that indicated late 2023 would see the abandonment of the Lightning port in favor of USB-C.

airpods and iphone 15 expected to have usb-c charging in 2023

Apple’s AirPods currently charge wirelessly or via Lightning cable. (Photo: Insung Yoon/Unsplash)

It’s in Apple’s best interest to adopt universal USB-C compatibility as soon as possible. Earlier this summer, the European Union elected to require that mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, wireless headphones, and other handheld devices have USB-C charging by late 2024. The decision is said to have been based on economic and environmental concerns; having to purchase a different type of charger for each mobile device is not only costly long-term, but often ends up adding e-waste to landfills when an outdated device is recycled and its charger rendered obsolete. Parliament had been bugging the European Commission for months to pick and enforce a universal charger. With that decision finally made, Apple has no choice but to adopt full USB-C compatibility—that is, if it wants to remain relevant in its European market.

Those who are committed to upgrading their Apple devices in the coming months might be disappointed by Apple’s inability to switch to USB-C before next year. There’s nothing to be done about the iPhone 14’s charging port, which is practically certain to require the typical Lightning cable. But there is a chance that early AirPods Pro 2 adopters will be able to purchase a USB-C charging case for their earbuds next year. It’ll just cost a pretty penny.

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