After iOS 16.4 Release Candidate version code suggested Apple has new AirPods and AirPods cases to unveil, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said these will likely be the new USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2. Since Apple also sells only the case, this is why there are code references for both products.
Kuo expects mass shipments of the revised version of AirPods Pro 2 in 2Q23-3Q23. Interestingly enough, he says Apple isn’t planning to launch a revised USB-C version of the AirPods 2 or AirPods 3.
Apple is making this change to comply with a new European Union rule that says these electronic devices must use the same cable standard. While the company could have released AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C last year, it decided to ship the product with a Lightning port instead.
That said, Apple is also expected to announce the iPhone 15 series with a USB-C port as well. All Macs already use a USB-C port, and most iPad models do too. The same is worth for the Apple Watch with a USB-C to MagSafe cable.
With that, the only products that need to change for USB-C are the iPhone, some Mac accessories, and the AirPods.
It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time Apple has released a revised version of an AirPods model. For the first-gen AirPods Pro, Apple released a MagSafe case for this product, and it’s now doing something similar by ditching the Lightning port to a USB-C instead.
Kuo’s latest analysis means the rumored AirPods Lite isn’t the one being hinted at in iOS 16.4 codes, but the USB-C AirPods Pro instead. With no plans to bring USB-C to the entry AirPods models, Apple could be planning to add this port in the future with a new iteration of this product.
Rumors so far say Apple could launch AirPods 4 and AirPods Max 2 at the end of 2024, at the earliest.