According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is planning to implement USB-C charging across its AirPods and Mac accessories in the coming years. The alleged move away from Lightning comes as the European Union prepares to impose USB-C charging on new smartphones, tablets, and headphones launched in the area beginning in late 2024.
While the legislation has yet to be put into law, it was approved by the European Parliament last week.
To comply with the forthcoming requirements, Gurman predicts Apple will include USB-C in the next-generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods by 2024, while Mac accessories such as the Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad might do so as early as next year. Apple is expected to relaunch its Mac portfolio next year with a new iMac and Mac Pro, and because the arrival of new Macs often “coincides with accessory releases,” Gurman believes “it’s a reasonable bet that those accessories will switch to USB-C in their next version.” Similarly, Gurman expects Apple will replace its AirPods before the EU regulation takes effect.
Earlier this year, Gurman said that Apple has begun testing USB-C charging on its iPhones, but that we shouldn’t expect it to be on devices until 2023 “at the earliest.” Gurman reiterates this idea in the most current Power On newsletter, adding that he believes Apple will include a USB-C charging connector in the iPhone 15, as well as the entry-level iPad due out before the end of the year.
Apple would theoretically not have to comply with the EU’s forthcoming rule until the iPhone 17 is released in the fall of 2025, since there is a two-year grace period that enables firms (including Apple) adequate time to convert to USB-C. Regardless, Gurman believes Apple will “handily beat the deadline with its most conspicuous devices.”
Even if Apple does switch to USB-C, Gurman believes its stay on Apple products will be brief. Gurman believes Apple will ultimately add inductive charging to the iPhone and iPad “sometime in the next few years” to avoid the legislation, which does not apply to devices that do not enable cable charging.