A couple of days ago, Apple announced the final version of iOS 16.4 to developers and public beta users, which included references to new earbuds, such as the Beats Studio+ and AirPods. The latest update also hinted towards the USB-C version of AirPods Pro 2, according to predictions by Ming-Chi Kuo, a renowned analyst.
It is worth noting that Apple has assigned a new model number, A3048, to the AirPods, while the case has a different model number, A2968. This has led some to question why there are separate model numbers for the AirPods and their cases.
The second-generation AirPods Pro were introduced in September 2022 with a charging case that uses the Lightning connector. However, it seems that an updated version of the AirPods Pro 2 will feature a USB-C charging case instead. While it’s not yet clear if there are any other hardware changes planned for the updated version, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the references to new AirPods found in the iOS 16.4 Release Candidate could be related to the USB-C version of the AirPods Pro.
In fact, this is not the first time Kuo has predicted that AirPods would transition to USB-C charging. In fact, he previously suggested that all of Apple’s accessories, including the AirPods, would eventually switch to USB-C alongside the iPhone. This move is also in line with the new EU regulations mandating the adoption of USB-C charging standards.
As previously reported, Apple is planning to transition its iPhone 15 lineup to USB-C later this year. It is also likely that most of the company’s accessories, including the AirPods, Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse accessories for Mac, and the MagSafe Battery Pack for iPhone, will also transition to USB-C.
This move to USB-C is due to new regulations in the European Union, which mandate that companies comply with USB-C charging standards by December 28, 2024. As a result, the AirPods Pro will likely be the first version of AirPods to switch to USB-C, with AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 following suit at a later date. But, according to the tweet by Kuo, it seems that Apple has no immediate plans to introduce USB-C versions of the AirPods 2 and 3.
I think this is likely the USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2, with mass shipments expected in 2Q23-3Q23. By the way, Apple currently appears to have no plans for USB-C versions of the AirPods 2 & 3.— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) March 24, 2023
我覺得這應該是AirPods Pro… https://t.co/aWKJvGh1lW
This is an interesting decision, considering the recent news that a revised version of the second-generation AirPods Pro will include a USB-C port later this year. Kuo’s statement implies that Apple may be delaying the addition of USB-C ports until the fourth-generation AirPods.
In conclusion, Apple’s move towards USB-C charging for its accessories is primarily in response to new EU regulations. The new AirPods mentioned in the iOS 16.4 update are likely to be the USB-C version of AirPods Pro 2. This transition is not only expected to improve the charging experience for users but also aligns with Apple’s commitment to sustainability by creating a standardized charging solution that can be used across different devices.