• February 3, 2023

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A new look to some Apple products, including AirPods and AirPods Pro, is predicted by a highly reliable analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo. And it’s just possible it could arrive with the AirPods Pro 2 expected in the coming months.

When Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted that the iPhone will soon change its charging system from Lightning to the much-more-common USB-C, it seemed impossible to believe. But then Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman corroborated the rumor.

Now, Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, has taken to Twitter again to add to the knowledge of what’s changing.

The expected update will happen in 2023, with the arrival of the iPhone 15, if Kuo and Gurman are correct.

Here’s Kuo’s tweet:

To taket these points in order:

1. Portless iPhone may cause more problems due to current limitations of wireless technologies & the immature MagSafe ecosystem.

This refers to the expectation that Apple would go straight from Lightning to a portless iPhone. But Kuo’s latest tweet indicates that it might be too soon just yet to offer a good enough experience without some kind of cabled option.

And then there’s part two:

2. Other Lightning port products (e.g., AirPods, Magic Keyboard/Trackpad/Mouse, MagSafe Battery) would also switch to USB-C in the foreseeable future.

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Let’s start with AirPods. Apple is known for subtly updating products like its in-ears while they’re on sale. For instance, the case for AirPods Pro now has MagSafe compatibility, which was added when the third-generation AirPods launched with this feature.

So, it’s entirely possible that the upcoming AirPods Pro 2 could be the next product to make the Lightning-to-USB-C switch. This would make for a subtly different design. As Apple repeatedly points out, a Lightning connector is thinner than USB-C, so it can make for slimmer devices. Even so, the current AirPods Pro case looks big enough to accept USB-C, however grudgingly.

Kuo is vague about the timeline here, saying just that it will happen in the forseeable future. The update to AirPods Pro is expected later this year, a full year before the iPhone 15 expected to deliver a USB-C socket.

Could Apple make the switch for AirPods Pro 2 in order to get people ready for a USB-C iPhone the following year? After all, there’s nothing holding Apple back. It already has most iPads and all Mac laptops using USB-C. If you already have several Apple products, you may well already be using USB-C on at least one of them. With AirPods Pro 2 expected soon, wouldn’t it be better, commercially, for Apple to put USB-C in from day one rather than redesigning part-way through the cycle? We’ll have to see.

But then there are the other products that will follow suit, like the Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad for the Mac. Not to forget the Wireless Battery Pack. I would add that I think all those products could switch to USB-C sooner rather than later—apart from the battery pack. It wouldn’t make sense for that to be connected to a cable other than the one you use for your iPhone, would it?

So, I predict that even if the others switch sooner, as they should, I’d say, the battery pack will be Lightning right up until the iPhone 15 is launched.

More details as we have them.

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