The iPhone 15 isn’t the only Apple product making the move to USB-C today, with AirPods Pro 2 now slated to get a USB-C charging case.
Apple announced the new case for its second-generation AirPods Pro alongside its latest slate of iPhones during its big September event on Tuesday. The AirPods Pro with the USB-C charging case will begin shipping September 22.
The new charging case will allow not only charging via a USB-C cable and a power adapter, but also from a USB-C-equipped iPhone–which, for now, means the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro.
Naturally, the new AirPods Pro 2 charging case will still support wireless Qi and MagSafe charging as well as the USB-C port.
Apple also said AirPods Pro 2 that ship with the USB-C charging case will have an IP54 rating for better dust resistance, improving on the IPX4 rating announced at launch for the AirPods Pro 2 with the original Lightning case. The new IP rating applies to both the earbuds and the charging case.
In another interesting announcement, Apple noted that AirPods Pro 2 with the USB-C charging case would support lossless audio–but only with the upcoming Apple Vision Pro headset. Specifically, the new AirPods Pro 2 will support lossless 20-bit/48 kHz audio with the Vision Pro, along with a “massive reduction” in audio latency.
For now, it doesn’t appear the USB-C charging case for the AirPods Pro 2 will be available separately.
There’s still no word on when Apple’s other AirPods, including the AirPods Max headphones and AirPods 3, will get USB-C, but it seems pretty clear that Apple’s Lightning ports are on their way out.
The arrival of the USB-C charging port for the AirPods Pro 2 had been widely expected and thoroughly leaked in the runup to today’s announcement.
Apple’s overall move away from Lightning and toward USB-C follows last year’s legislation in the European Union mandating a universal charging standard for consumer electronics. USB-C is the standard that the EU settled upon, and electronics manufacturers must comply with the law starting in 2024.
Of course, not all of Apple’s portable electronics have switched to USB-C. While the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, MacBooks, the AirPods Pro 2, and several iPads now use USB-C charging, Apple’s other AirPods still use Lightning ports, not to mention older iPhone models. That means many Apple users will still be juggling multiple chargers for the time being.
Another change is coming to the AirPods Pro 2 soon: a quartet of software improvements designed to make your AirPods smarter about muting distractions.
The new Conversational Awareness feature is designed to detect when you’re speaking to someone, and then lower the volume of your music or podcasts, dial down ambient noise, and focus on the sound of voices in front of you.
Adaptive Audio will blend active noise cancelling with Transparency mode and then tailor their levels depending on ambient noise conditions, while Personalize Volume uses machine learning to “fine-tune” your media experience.
A fourth feature is also coming to the AirPods 3 and AirPods Max: the ability to mute or unmute the sound by pressing the stem of your AirPods or the Digital Crown on the Max.
The new software features will arrive with the rollout of iOS 17, which will land on September 18.