Apple is finally ready to let go of the Lightning cable. It may have taken EU regulation to push the iPhone company to this point, but I think most people would agree that using a single cable to charge their personal electronics is a good thing. To that end, Apple is releasing a new model of its incredibly popular AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) wireless earbuds. This one has a case with a USB-C charging port instead of the Lightning port found on all previous models. The price remains the same at $249 (see it on Amazon), and it will be released on September 22.
Preorder AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) with USB-C
Aside from the charging port on the case, these AirPods Pro are almost identical to the previous model. A couple of improvements have been made. One is that, in addition to sweat and water resistance, they’ve also added dust resistance. Cool, I guess. The other addition is that these new AirPods Pro support lossless audio when you use them with Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headset.
But if you’re not planning to buy a $3,500 headset, the main benefit is that you can charge them using the same USB-C cable you use to charge your game controllers, phone, tablet, Switch, Steam Deck, etc. Fewer cables is always better, IMO.
AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) with Lightning
That said, if you can live for the foreseeable future with a Lightning cable, you can save some cash on new wireless earbuds from Apple. You don’t even need to use the port to charge these bad boys at all, in fact. You can still juice it up using a Qi wireless charger thanks to the MagSafe charging case. You can even pick up a wireless charging pad for $12 at Amazon right now. Just set it on the pad and forget it until it’s charged to capacity.
The Lightning port model has virtually all of the same features and functionality as the newer model, but Amazon has it listed for $30 less. It still offers excellent active noise cancellation, customizable fit with multiple silicon tips, spatial audio, and more. I have a pair myself and can attest that these are terrific earbuds. So whichever model you go with, I think you’ll be happy.
For more, check out everything announced at Apple’s Wonderlust event.
Chris Reed is a commerce editor and deals expert for IGN. He also runs IGN’s board game and LEGO coverage. You can follow him on (long inhale) Threads, Bluesky, Mastodon, and the social network formerly known as Twitter.