You Can Now Upgrade Your AirPods Pro to USB-C

Alongside Apple’s legendary switch to USB-C in this year’s iPhone 15 lineup, it also released a refreshed version of its second-generation AirPods Pro with a new USB-C charging case.

However, sadly, that didn’t help those folks who already owned a pair; it seemed their only option would be to shell out another $249 for new AirPods just to get the USB-C case since Apple wasn’t selling it separately — nor had it announced any plans to do so.

While it turns out there’s a bit more to the new USB-C AirPods Pro than just the case, the extra enhancements are far too minor to justify splurging on a new pair of AirPods Pro if you already happily own the second-generation Lightning version.

Other than the switch to USB-C, the new AirPods Pro are now dust-resistant with an improved IP54 rating (versus IPX4 on the Lightning AirPods Pro) and will also deliver Lossless Audio for the Apple Vision Pro. That latter one could make them worth the expense if you plan to buy a Vision Pro headset next year, but if you’re in the market for a $3,500 mixed-reality headset, you probably won’t have a hard time fitting an extra $250 into your budget.

For other folks who simply want to remove Lightning connectors from their lives, the new $99 MagSafe Charging Case (USB-C) offers a more cost-effective way to get there.

AirPods Pro USB C Charging Case

The new case won’t add Lossless Audio for the Apple Vision Pro since that comes from updated chips inside the earbuds that ship inside the USB-C case. However, it looks like you will get an upgrade to IP54 dust and water resistance. It seems the Lightning case was the weak link that left the previous AirPods Pro package rated at only IPX4.

In the fine print on its product page, Apple notes that the “AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and charging case were tested under controlled laboratory conditions, and have a rating of IP54 under IEC standard 60529.” This suggests that the earbuds were dust-resistant all along, but since the older Lightning case wasn’t, Apple chose to keep things simple by using an IPX4 rating for both.

“AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and charging case are dust, sweat, and water resistant for non-water sports and exercise. AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and charging case were tested under controlled laboratory conditions, and have a rating of IP54 under IEC standard 60529. Dust, sweat, and water resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge wet AirPods Pro (2nd generation).”

The USB-C case otherwise offers the same features as the Lightning version, just with a USB-C port instead. That means you still get a U1 chip for Precision Finding, a lanyard loop to keep your AirPods Pro handy, and MagSafe charging.

The bad news is that you may not be able to get a new case as a stocking stuffer, as the Apple Store is showing post-Christmas delivery dates in most areas, and they don’t appear to be available in-store yet. That could change over the next few days, so it’s worth keeping an eye out if you’re interested in picking up a pair before the holidays.

AirPods Pro in case beside box Credit: David Levêque

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