AirPods could be getting a game-changing feature in 2023

best Apple headphones and earbuds 2022
(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s AirPods could be getting a USB-C charging port — replacing the current Lightning connector in 2023.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo took to Twitter to make the prediction that all of Apple’s portable audio products will make the switch to this connector. It may be a little annoying for those who already have Lightning cables, but will make them so much more convenient in the long term.

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Plus, with a USB-C iPhone coming in 2023 too (following the EU ruling), alongside pretty much all the iPads having already made the jump to this universal connector, this would be a logical move.

Kuo also states that this may mean the rumored AirPods Pro 2, which are expected to launch in the second half of 2022, may still get Lightning support. However, this doesn't rule out that it may get an upgraded case with USB-C support in 2023. 

Not so proprietary anymore

There are two key benefits beyond the fact this will bring AirPods in line with a connection standard used by pretty much every single consumer tech device out there.

First, data transfer. You can get up to 40Gbps with USB 4.0 support with USB-C. When compared to the reported transfer speeds up to 480MBps of lightning, the choice could not be clearer.

Second, and most important to the AirPods, a faster charging speed of up to 100W. Lightning is capable of charging at just 12W, and while in something small like AirPods, the charging speed will be quick regardless of what you use, the speed increase is undeniable.

(Image credit: Future)


If this becomes a reality, it will be one of two final nails in the coffin of the lightning connector — launching in the same year as the reported USB-C iPhone, to unify the entire Apple ecosystem around this shared port standard.

It seems that EU ruling has made its impact, which will reduce our need to buy additional cables and, by extension, reduce the environmental impact needing different wires. Plus, let’s not forget the increased speed of data transfer and charging speed afforded to this input.

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.