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.
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.August 9, 2022
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.