All AirPods models should gain USB-C charging in 2023 via a new charging case

All of the existing models of Apple’s AirPods earbuds could benefit from USB-C charging if Apple launches a new USB-C charging case in 2023, as predicted.

Apple AirPods resting on their charging case, set against a yellow solid background
A USB-C AirPods charging coming in 2023? | Image: Khoa Nguyen / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will launch USB-C charging cases for all AirPods models in 2023 though he said the charging case shipping with the next AirPods Pro would retain Lightning.
  • Why care? Apple is about to ditch its proprietary Lighting port in favor of USB-C on the iPhone as soon as 2023, followed by accessories like the AirPods. The next AirPods Pro is expected to launch later in 2022, but with Lightning charging. In other words, fans of USB-C charging might need to buy a new charging case for their AirPods come 2023.
  • What to do? Prepare to buy a USB-C case for your existing AirPods and don’t worry about the upcharge because it should be negligible compared to the benefits. Oh, and consider getting a versatile power adapter with multiple USB-C ports that can charge multiple devices simultaneously, such as the Ugreen Nexode series of GaN chargers. If not, you might want to consider doing so and be ready when the iPhone 15 switches to USB-C in 2023 and Apple releases a USB-C charging case for all AirPods models.

AirPods USB-C charging could arrive in 2023

“I predict Apple will launch USB-C-capable charging cases for all AirPods models in 2023,” according to Kuo’s Twitter. “However, the charging case of the new AirPods Pro 2 launched in the second half of 2022 may still support Lightning.”

Which other Apple products will gain USB-C charging?

The AirPods charging case isn’t the only product expected to make a jump to USB-C. Kuo and other analysts and people in the know have already said that the iPhone will swap the Lightning port for a USB-C one with the iPhone 15 models arriving in 2023. Apple’s accessories like the Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse and MagSafe Battery Pack still use the proprietary Lightning connector.

Those products are just as good candidates to gain the USB-C charging capability as that upocming AirPods charging case. We expect Apple to eventually phase out the Lightning port completely but that process is going to take several years to complete due to the sheer number of Lightning products in use today.

EU is forcing Apple to ditch Lightning

The benefits of using an industry standard like USB-C over Lightning start with accessory vendors who will no longer need to pay Apple a fee just to include a Lighting port on their products. This could translate into lower prices for us, especially since folks will be able to use standard USB-C cables and chargers to juice up their Apple gear.

Regulators in the European Union have standardized chargers for consumer electronics around USB-C. Starting in 2023, manufacturers such as Apple will be required to sell products like the iPhone with USB-C in Europe.

How about good ol’ USA?

It may not be long before US lawmakers attempt to standardize chargers sold in the US. Lightning was unveiled in 2012 to replace the 30-pin dock connector. Therefore, it would only feel fair to finally put Lightning to rest, don’t you think so?