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AirPods just tipped to lose the Lightning port after AirPods Pro 2

AirPods Pro charging
(Image credit: Future)

Update: AirPods Pro 2 tipped to arrive with the iPhone 14 this week at the Apple event.

It appears that the days of the Apple AirPods’ Lightning port could finally be coming to an end and, according to new rumors, could possibly be replaced with a USB-C charging port sometime in the next two years.

That prediction is from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says that Apple is looking to make the transition with the next AirPods model after the Apple AirPods Pro 2.

As for when the aforementioned AirPods Pro 2 could launch, all things are pointing to a late 2022 debut – and Kuo still believes that model will be using a Lightning port.

The prediction Kuo made in a tweet (opens in new tab), while still unconfirmed by Apple, would line up with Kuo and Apple watcher Mark Gurman’s previous information that pointed to Apple transitioning away from Lightning to be compliant with European lawmakers’ mandate that mobile devices use a standard connector.

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Analysis: Why did Apple use the Lightning connector in the first place? 

You might be wondering why Apple put itself in this position in the first place. The idea, at least as it was explained to journalists, was that the Lightning connector could be inserted face up or face down, and it would still connect. It was on par with USB 2.0 ports in terms of speed and could reach USB 3.0 speeds in certain conditions. 

The audio industry, however, wasn’t always in love with the connector as it meant usually paying for Apple certification on Lightning devices that added unnecessary expense. Lightning devices were closely controlled by Apple which made it hard for some hardware makers to get on-board with the products.

Moving to USB-C – while a bit painful after years of collecting Lightning-capable accessories – will eventually be a huge boon for consumers. It will reduce the amount of USB-C charging cables that need to be included with devices moving forward and will allow audio manufacturers to spend less time worrying about Lightning certification and more time tuning their products for the best user experience. 

Looking for great headphones that don’t need a wire at all? Check out our guide to the best wireless earbuds right now.

Read next: AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro: Biggest upgrades to expect.

Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.