During its recent product launch event, Apple announced that its AirPods Pro and EarPods headphones are shifting to USB-C charging. The change brings two of Apple’s audio accessories in line with the broader transition to USB-C across its product lineup.
The new AirPods Pro now has a USB-C charging case instead of Lightning. However, Apple is not yet selling the USB-C case as a standalone item for existing AirPods Pro owners. Those wanting USB-C must buy a new set, priced at $249.
Meanwhile, the updated EarPods have moved to a USB-C connector plug, differing from past iPhone-compatible versions. But the revised EarPods only work with Apple’s latest devices, like the newly announced iPhone 15 series, that feature USB-C ports.
The switch to USB-C aligns with Apple’s previous shift to USB-C charging for MacBooks beginning in 2015. Most of the company’s mobile products, including the latest iPads and iPhones, have followed suit. The new AirPods Pro and EarPods bring audio accessories in line as well.
It means simplified charging across Apple devices using a common standard for customers. But there is some short-term inconvenience for those with Lightning-based iPhones who don’t plan to upgrade soon. Overall, moving to USB-C charging exemplifies Apple’s broader ecosystem transition.
It’s only a matter of time before Apple offers the USB-C AirPods Pro case separately for those not ready to purchase a brand-new set. Consumers should now weigh costs and compatibility needs before buying USB-C audio accessories.