As the iPhone 15 models switch from Apple's proprietary Lightning port to USB-C connectivity, the AirPodsPro 2 are also making the change.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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Additionally, Apple highlighted the availability of new wired EarPods with an integrated USB-C cable for those looking for a wired earbuds options. Apple said nothing about its other AirPods, like the AirPods 3rd Generation, getting USB-C connectivity -- for now it's only coming to the AirPods Pro 2.
There's little reason for current AirPods Pro 2 owners to buy the updated AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C (both models also feature wireless charging). But going forward, should you buy a new iPhone, it will be more convenient to be able to just use a USB-C cable for charging all your Apple devices, including your iPhone, MacBook, iPad and AirPods.
It's also worth noting that the updated AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C charging appear to offer some other upgrades. After the event, Apple posted a press release saying that the AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C charging feature additional dust resistance, as well as Lossless Audio with the Vision Pro, Apple's upcoming wearable headset that's set to be released in early 2024 and costs $3,499.
"The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with MagSafe Charging Case (USB‑C) will enable Lossless Audio with ultra-low latency to deliver the perfect true wireless solution with Apple Vision Pro," Apple said. "The H2 chip in the latest AirPods Pro and Apple Vision Pro, combined with a groundbreaking wireless audio protocol, unlocks powerful 20-bit, 48 kHz Lossless Audio with a massive reduction in audio latency."
Watch this: Everything Apple Announced at Its iPhone 15 Event
As soon as we find out more about what that groundbreaking wireless audio protocol is, we'll bring that to you. But it does raise the question why the technology is only available in the Apple Vision Pro and not the new iPhone 15 models.
Can I upgrade my current AirPods Pro 2 charging case to the new version with USB-C?
Apple is not selling the new USB-C AirPods Pro 2 charging case as a separate accessory. Should you lose your AirPods Pro 2 case, it does offer the new USB-C charging case as a replacement option for an estimated $99 on its AirPods replacement, repair and service website. While the earlier AirPods Pro 2 buds (the ones that shipped with the Lightning case) will charge in the new case, you currently are required to have purchased the USB-C AirPods Pro 2 to get a replacement case for them.
Editors' note (Sept. 12, 6:13 a.m. PT): This story was updated to provide more details on whether current AirPods Pro 2 owners can purchase the new USB-C separately.