1-minute news: AirPods Pro 2 and EarPods with USB-C connections are official at last

iPhone with USB-C
(Image credit: Apple)

What's the story?

Apple has unveiled an updated version of the AirPods Pro 2 with a USB-C charging port, plus wired Apple EarPods with a USB-C connection, at the Apple September Event 2023 on September 12, 2023 – check out our Apple event 2023 live blog for ongoing coverage.

No other updates were announced (aside from an improved IP54 rating to offer additional dust resistance) for the AirPods Pro 2 or EarPods themselves, which means they're exactly the same as the existing models, apart from the switch from Lightning to USB-C. Another update as part of the move to USB-C is that you can charge your AirPods from your iPhone via a cable.  

The price for the new AirPods is $249 / £229 / AU$399, which is the same price as before, except in the UK, where they're a little cheaper now. It will be available in stores from September 22, 2023, but you can pre-order today. We don't yet know if you'll be able to order the new USB-C enabled case separately for your current AirPods Pro 2. The new EarPods cost $19 / £19 / AU$29.

What do I need to know about it?

We weren't expecting there to be many other announcements about AirPods at the iPhone 15 launch event based on rumors, and it looks like those rumors were on the money. 

Aside from the updated USB-C port on the charging case, the AirPods Pro 2 and Apple EarPods will retain all of their existing features. That means if you order a new pair of AirPods Pro 2 or EarPods, the only real difference you'll find is the charging port. 

While the announcement was restricted to the AirPods Pro 2 and EarPods, rumors have suggested that more AirPods are set to get USB-C, but not until 2024.

Apple EarPods with USB-C

(Image credit: Apple)

What do we think of it?

It's great to see Apple's move from Lightning to USB-C for the iPhone roll out to more accessories so quickly – we're not big fans of carrying around multiple chargers, so this is a welcome update. 

But the staggered rollout of its transition to the universal charging standard means the rest of the best AirPods, which already looked relatively outdated, are in need of even bigger update, as they now don’t share the port that the latest iPhones have.

We're betting that we'll likely hear about AirPods Max 2 and a successor to the AirPods 3 next year, but that's still a long wait. But if you haven't bought AirPods Pro 2 or EarPods yet – and if you're planning to buy the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro, then having the more universal port across both devices is only a good thing.

Further reading

Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.