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 mandate USB-C charging on new smartphones, tablets, and headphones released in the region beginning in late 2024.
While the legislation has yet to be signed into law, it was approved by the European Parliament last week.
To comply with the upcoming rules, Gurman believes 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 could do so as early as next year.
Apple is expected to refresh its Mac lineup next year with a new iMac and Mac Pro, and because the release of new Macs typically “coincides with accessory updates,” Gurman believes “it’s a safe bet that those accessories will move to USB-C in their next incarnation.”
Similarly, Gurman believes Apple will replace its AirPods before the EU legislation takes effect.
Earlier this year, Gurman reported that Apple had begun testing USB-C charging on its iPhones, but that we shouldn’t expect it to arrive on devices until 2023 “at the earliest.”
Gurman reiterates this belief in the most recent Power On newsletter, adding that he believes Apple will include a USB-C charging port in the iPhone 15, as well as the entry-level iPad due out by the end of the year.
Apple won’t have to comply with the EU’s upcoming law until the iPhone 17 is released in the fall of 2025, because there’s a two-year grace period that gives companies (including Apple) enough time to transition to USB-C.
Regardless, Gurman believes Apple will “handily beat the deadline with its most visible products.” Even if Apple does switch to USB-C, Gurman believes its presence on Apple devices will be brief.
Gurman believes Apple will eventually 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 support wired charging.