Apple could soon launch a USB-C version of its second-gen AirPods Pro. That’s according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes the company could start shipping the earbuds with a USB-C case during the second and third quarters of this year.
This apparently doesn’t apply to Apple’s standard AirPod models, though, as Kuo notes that the company “currently appears to have no plans for USB-C versions of the AirPods 2 & 3.” Kuo hinted at the change in response to a tweet from Twitter user @aaronp613, who spotted references to a new AirPods model number (A3048), along with a new AirPods case model number (A29680) in iOS 16.4.
Apple launched its second-gen AirPods Pros last September, which comes with a Lightning port and compatibility with MagSafe, Qi, and Apple Watch chargers. The company also introduced a couple of other new features with the case, including a speaker that emits a noise when locating them with the Find My app, as well as a built-in loop where you can attach a lanyard.
That said, it’s still not clear if the updated AirPods Pros will come with any additional changes, or whether Apple will also sell the rumored USB-C case separately. Apple has released updated versions of its AirPods charging cases in the past, such as the MagSafe case option it introduced for the AirPods Pro in 2021, and last year’s Lightning-only charging case for the third-gen AirPods. Apple doesn’t sell either of these cases separately, however.
With the European Union set to require USB-C charging ports on many types of new electronic devices next year, it’s no surprise that Apple’s starting to move away from Lightning. The company confirmed last year that it plans on changing the iPhone’s connector to USB-C, and rumors indicate that the iPhone 15 will come with the port.
As for its range of accessories, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted that Apple could bring USB-C to its AirPods and Mac accessories by 2024. Meanwhile, Kuo has previously reported that the fourth-gen AirPods could come with a USB-C charging case and said they could launch in the second half of 2024 or the first half of 2025.