Kuo: AirPods Pro to gain a USB-C charging case this fall, regular AirPods in 2024

The AirPods Pro should adopt USB-C charging this year but don’t expect the third-generation AirPods to pick up a USB-C version of its charging case before 2024.

AirPods Pro in their case, charging with a Lightning to USB cable, set against a blue textured background
All AirPods will adopt USB-C charging by the end of 2024 | Image: John Smit/Unsplash
  • What’s happening? A new version of the AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case could drop later this year, but there will be no USB-C AirPods 3 in 2023.
  • Why care? As Apple transitions from Lightning, you’ll need the right cables and power adapters to charge your devices via USB-C.
  • What to do? Check out our roundup of the featured USB-C chargers. As you’ll be dealing with USB-C and Lightning in the transitional period, be sure to also check out our selection of the featured 3-in-1 USB cables.

AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case arriving in 2023

Noted industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said on Twitter that Apple will only equip its noise-canceling AirPods Pro earbuds with a USB-C version of the case. As for the second and third-generation AirPods, those will retain the Lightning port on their charging case, as Kuo isn’t expecting any updates on that front this year.

According to Kuo’s tweet, Apple “currently appears to have no plans for USB-C versions of the AirPods 2 and 3.” That doesn’t mean Apple will continue selling Lightning-equipped AirPods into 2024 and beyond, especially not with the EU ruling mandating USB-C charging on all consumer gadgets by the end of 2024.

“I think this is likely the USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2, with mass shipments expected in the second and third quarter of 2023,” Kuo wrote.

“By the way, Apple currently appears to have no plans for USB-C versions of the AirPods 2 and 3.” His tweet is a reaction to the recent findings in the iOS 16.4 code revealing references to unreleased AirPods with the model number A3048 and a new AirPods case with the model number A2968.

Regular AirPods to get USB-C charging in 2024?

By the end of 2024, Apple will release a fourth-generation AirPods with a USB-C charging case in the box. As for the upcoming AirPods Pro update, we wouldn’t expect any new features beyond a USB-C charging case if we were you.

Kuo is generally reliable when predicting Apple’s future moves but less in terms of timeframes. In August 2022, for example, Kuo said that all AirPods models would gain USB-C charging in 2023. By contrast, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is adamant that all of the AirPods—the regular models and the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max—would adopt USB-C charging by the end of 2024.

In addition, Apple is also expected to ditch Lightning and adopt USB-C on its Magic accessories for the Mac and the MagSafe Battery Pack accessory for the iPhone next year. The new European legislation requires that all gadgets sold within the European Union provide charging via the ubiquitous USB-C standard.

Companies are expected to comply with the mandate by December 28, 2024.