It seems that the iOS 16.4 release candidate for developers has a reference to new AirPods with the model number A3048 and a new AirPods case with the model number A2968. According to a tweet from TF International’s world-renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
, those model numbers refer to a new version of the AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C charging replacing the Lightning port. Kuo says that the new version of the AirPods Pro 2 is expected to start shipping in the second or third quarter of this year.
Kuo did mention that Apple has no plans to offer USB-C versions of the AirPods 2 and AirPods 3. He also didn’t mention any other changes expected with the new USB-C variant of Apple’s premium true wireless stereo earbuds other than the charging port on the charging case.
Just last week Kuo said that the iPhone 15 line will ship with a USB-C port requiring a cable sporting a USB-C plug instead of the proprietary Lightning plug. But there is a caveat as Apple will use the faster USB 3.2 ports for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra and the slower USB 2.0 ports for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. We could see a repeat of what Apple did with the USB-C ports on the entry-level iPad and the iPad Pro. The top data transfer speed on the basic tablet is 480Mbps and a much faster 40Gbps on the premium tablet.
Kuo says to expect a version of the AirPod Pro 2 with USB-C charging in Q2 or Q3 of this year
In addition, Apple will reportedly include a Lightning-like authenticator chip inside the USB-C port and the cables in order to limit the accessories that can be used on the phones. In other words, only USB-C cables and accessories that have been certified by Apple for its MFi (Made For iPhone) program will get the fastest charging and data transfer speeds available. This way Apple still collects some revenue from iPhone buyers who want to purchase new USB-C cables and accessories for their iPhone 15 series handsets.
Apple has been forced to make the change from its proprietary Lightning system to USB-C because of a common charger directive that was passed in the EU. The goal is to reduce electronic waste as the rule makes a USB-C charging port mandatory for a large number of electronic devices. Rather than make iPhone models with USB-C ports for one region and units with the Lightning port in other markets, it appears-at least according to Kuo-that Apple is making the change starting this year.
Source: Phone Arena