Why AirPods With USB-C Make Sense, and Why They Don’t

Key Features

  • Apple will update its AirPods with a USB-C charging port.

  • This will match the port on the new iPhone 15, so you'll still only need one charging cable.

  • Eventually, everything will be USB-C.

<p>John Smit / Unsplash</p>

John Smit / Unsplash

AirPods are getting a new USB-C charging case to match the upcoming USB-C iPhone 15, and that's exactly as it should be.

The rumors point to new AirPods arriving at Apple's iPhone 15 event on September 12th, and while they may turn out to be a new version, it's most likely that only the charging case will change, specifically, replacing the Lightning charging port with USB-C. Why? So you don't have to carry two charging cables.

"While opinions vary on Lightning vs. USB-C convenience, I see the rumored move as a positive for simplicity and consistency down the road. There will be some transition pain, but standards evolve, and users adapt. As an audio pro, better connectivity excites me," Adarsh Benz Lal, editor at audio website OddPlug, told Lifewire via email.

Case Closed

<p>Akhil Yerabati / Unsplash</p>

Akhil Yerabati / Unsplash

Thanks to the EU, Apple has to fall in line and put the industry-standard USB-C connector on the iPhone. The legislation kicks in next year, but it looks like Apple is getting in early.

Lightning is a fine connector, but for years now it has become increasingly annoying to take a special cable along just for your iPhone when all your other gadgets charge with the exact same cable.

Hold on a second. Not all your gadgets. Lightning is still used on a few other devices, as we shall see in a moment, one of those being AirPods. One of the advantages of the AirPods sharing a connector design with the iPhone is that you always have a way to charge both (or neither, I guess if you leave your Lightning cable at home). Because the AirPods are essentially an iPhone accessory, this is exactly the right way to do it.

Which is why we are expecting a USB-C update for the AirPods, both regular and pro versions. Probably, that will be the only change—a simple swap of the charging port.

Apple has done this mid-cycle case-swap before, also to accommodate an iPhone charging change. When the iPhone added MagSafe charging in 2019, Apple updated the AirPods to match, and also made a new case available for existing AirPods owners.

It's likely that it will do exactly the same this time around, right down to making swap-in USB-C cases for the AirPods and AirPods Pro.

Quick Switch

Dan Clear / Unsplash
Dan Clear / Unsplash

For smart folks who read technology news sites like this one, this is all good news. We already have plenty of USB-C chargers, so the fact that the AirPods are switching to USB-C makes things simpler.

"Having used AirPods for about a year now, I made the switch from Android to Apple products while the rest of my family remains loyal to Android devices. Let me tell you, it can be quite a hassle to remember to keep lightning charging cables in the car and while traveling. It used to be so convenient to borrow a USB-C cable whenever I was in a tight spot. That's why I wholeheartedly support Apple's decision to embrace USB-C and adopt a universal standard for charging and data transfer. It simplifies things and ensures compatibility across the board," Shibu Basheer, CTO at software development company Cabot Technology Solutions told Lifewire via email.

But for others, even this synchronized update could be unwelcome. I'd guess that few of us buy a new iPhone and new AirPods at the same time, given that neither of them is cheap. You might get the new USB-C iPhone 15 and use it with your existing Lightning AirPods, or vice versa. Even for the dedicated, USB-C-loving tech nerd, it doesn't change the cable-carrying situation one bit. In some ways, it's worse, as you will need two cables, even if you are only carrying an iPhone and AirPods.

"We already have plenty of USB-C chargers, so the fact that the AirPods are switching to USB-C makes things simpler."

It's a pain, to be sure, but only in terms of convenience. There's really no reason to update to USB-C AirPods except for convenience (unless there actually is a new AirPods model announced). AirPods do no USB data transfer, and their charging speed is already limited to manage heat. So it's all down to how many cables you are prepared to carry.

Our advice? Don't think about it. Eventually, you'll own both USB-C AirPods and a USB-C iPhone. Until then, worry about something else.

Read the original article on Lifewire.