Modders like Ken Pillonel put USB-C ports in AirPods cases, but Apple may not for the upcoming AirPods Pro 2 case. Photo: Ken Pillonel
Apple products are shifting from Lighting connectors to USB-C, but it may not be in the cards for the second generation of AirPods Pro, expected to ship before the end of the year.
Or so said a prominent analyst Tuesday, anyway.
Upcoming AirPods Pro 2 may keep Lighting port ahead of all AirPods switching to USB-C in 2023
So AirPods Pro 2 may see several upgrades, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted Tuesday that the new flagship earbuds will still use a Lighting charging case, reiterating the point after a previous claim that focused on production shifting from China to Vietnam.
The switch to USB-C across the AirPods lineup will happen in 2023, he said.
Generally speaking, Apple’s gradual switch to USB-C is likely driven by a new European Union regulation that will require the port become standard on iPhone and AirPods models starting in 2024. Aimed at reducing e-waste and boosting interoperability, that law was passed earlier this year.
New chip and several upgrades
Kuo still expects the next AirPods Pro to come out later this year. Rumors have predicted the new earbuds will feature an upgraded H1 chip that might be called H2.
The new chip will help power a slew of features: active noise cancellation, updated motion sensors for better fitness trackin, support for Apple Lossless audio, a new charging case that can make a sound if lost, a sensor for improved in-ear detection and others.
I predict Apple will launch USB-C-capable charging cases for all AirPods models in 2023. However, the charging case of the new AirPods Pro 2 launched in 2H22 may still support Lightning.
9:31 PM · Aug 9, 2022
The new buds may also feature a powerful new Bluetooth standard for stronger wireless connections and improved audio quality.
Other reports have said Cupertino tested a more compact AirPods Pro design with no stems, like Apple’s Beats Studio Buds. But recent rumors contradicted that and say no significant design changes are expected. The jury’s still out on certain new sensors, too.
Kuo predicted in May that other iPhone accessories, like the MagSafe Battery Pack, would also switch to USB-C in the future.