iPhone 15 finally adds USB-C, but AirPods Pro 2 show why it's going to be a mess

iPhone 15 finally adds USB-C, but AirPods Pro 2 show why it’s going to be a mess

All signs point to Apple finally making the leap to USB-C with next year’s iPhone 15. Much of the change is due to new regulations in the European Union, but with the Lightning port celebrating its 10th anniversary, it was time for a change regardless.

But while the move from iPhone 15 to USB-C will be celebrated, it will be a messy transition…and Apple doesn’t seem to care.

iPhone USB-C! Yay!

The iPhone probably should have switched to USB-C years ago, we all agree on that. Apple took a deep dive with USB-C when it overhauled the MacBook Pro with just four USB-C ports for charging and connectivity. iPad began the transition to USB-C in 2018 with the iPad Pro, and that process wasn’t completed until last month with the new iPad 10.

This means that there are currently only two flagships sold by Apple with Lightning: the entire iPhone line (ranging from the iPhone SE to the latest iPhone 14) and the iPad 9.

But where things get really tricky is with Apple’s accessories. Reports say Apple will switch its accessories to USB-C alongside the iPhone 15 next year, but it’s something Apple should have started this year (if not even sooner).

iPhone 15 Features

The AirPods Pro 2 problem

The most confusing aspect of Apple’s roadmap is AirPods Pro 2 and the new Siri Remote which comes bundled with the latest Apple TV 4K and is also available separately. Although released a few weeks apart, the AirPods Pro 2 charging case uses Lightning, while the new Siri Remote uses USB-C.

Interestingly, EU law in its current form would require AirPods Pro to switch to USB-C for charging, but not the Siri Remote. So why didn’t Apple switch the AirPods Pro to USB-C with this year’s revision? After all, the AirPods Pro 2 have an all-new charging case with Find My integration and a speaker. It seems like it would have been a perfect opportunity to swap out that Lightning port as well.

Almost all of Apple’s accessories for Mac still use Lightning for charging. There’s also the MagSafe Battery Pack with Lightning, the less and less useful MagSafe Duo, and the AirPods 2 and AirPods 3.

But even with the iPhone 15 switching to USB-C, you won’t be able to throw away all your Lightning cables. At least not without shelling out for updated versions of Apple’s accessories with USB-C. Chances are the company will sell a new version of AirPods charging cases with USB-C.

Sync AirPods pro 2

Just bought AirPods Pro 2 for $249? Sorry, you’ll have to drop another $79 on an updated charging case with USB-C. This, of course, is a strategy we’re used to for Apple. The first version of AirPods Pro did not offer MagSafe charging, but Apple updated the case a year later with the wireless magnetic charging feature. It’s a great way to squeeze in a few extra bucks from AirPods users around the world.

One good thing about the AirPods Pro 2 in particular is that they can be charged through the Apple Watch’s puck charger. If you’re traveling, that means you won’t have to bring a Lightning cable just for AirPods Pro, unless you want to add them quickly without balancing the magnetic connection.

Make no mistake: the iPhone 15’s switch to USB-C is a major step in the right direction, even if it’s several years behind schedule. I would have preferred Apple to make the change on its own, rather than in response to government legislation. I also wish the company had started moving everything of its accessories to USB-C now.

There’s still time for Apple to move its iPhone-adjacent products to USB-C before the iPhone 15 is released, but time is running out. The release of AirPods Pro 2 doesn’t bode well for the company’s plans to make this transition as seamless as possible.

What do you think? Would you have preferred the AirPods Pro 2 to have USB-C for charging? What about other Apple accessories? Let us know in the comments. ‌

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