When Apple updated its AirPods Pro 2 to USB-C charging back in September, many existing Lightning owners wondered whether they too would be able to upgrade. And now they have an answer: yes, if you have $99 / £89 / AU$159.
The main reason you might want to buy this case is if you have an iPhone 15, because you can then use your phone to charge your case via a USB-C cable. It also delivers IP54 dust and water resistance, which the previous case didn't.
Upgrading the case won't upgrade your actual AirPods
Replacing your existing Lightning charging case is only an option for AirPods Pro 2 users: the case won't work with older or different AirPods models. And while it swaps out USB-C for the previous Lightning connector, it doesn't upgrade the processor or speaker: they're identical to the ones in the Lightning case.
The case also can't upgrade your AirPods Pro 2. While the two versions of AirPods Pro 2, Lightning and USB-C, are almost identical there are still a couple of key differences – so the USB-C Pros have the same water and dust resistance as their case, they have improved support for Apple's Vision Pro headset and, according to Apple, they have a new "acoustic enclosure" that may or may not deliver improved audio. I've seen lots of USB-C AirPods Pro 2 reviews and if there is a difference in audio quality, it isn't a significant one.
If you're keen to upgrade anyway you'll need to move fast if you want delivery in time for Christmas to a US postal address: the Apple Store is currently listing the new case with a lead time of 7 to 10 days and it's not showing as available for pickup in the various stores I've tried. In the UK it seems you're already out of luck: the Apple Store is giving me an estimated delivery of early January. Apple does tend to under-promise and over-deliver so the real delivery date may be sooner, but I wouldn't rely on that if you're buying as a gift.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.