New Apple USB-C Products Could Land in Stores Next Week

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While next week’s iPhone 15 debut is expected to mark a significant step in Apple’s transition to USB-C, the company still has a few loose ends that it will need to tie up before we can say goodbye to Lightning for good.

After all, Apple has been committed to its Lightning port for over a decade. In fact, Apple was so eager to make the move to Lightning in 2012 that it discontinued its third-generation iPad after only six months on the market, releasing a fourth-generation Lightning-equipped model alongside the iPhone 5.

From that point on, Apple began using the Lightning port nearly everywhere, from the iPhone and iPad to Mac accessories like the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse. When the original AirPods came along in 2016, they naturally featured a Lightning port for charging, and that’s been the case ever since, even as Apple’s earbuds have shifted to MagSafe wireless charging. Even the premium AirPods Max use a Lightning port, not only for charging but also to get wired audio input.

While we have good reason to believe that AirPods will switch to USB-C next week, it’s less clear what Apple intends to do with all of its other accessories that sport Lightning ports for charging. While analysts have predicted Apple will be all-in on USB-C by next year, it’s never been clear whether it plans to release new accessories solely to make the switch or if it will just upgrade these more organically as new products are released.

Perhaps it will end up being a combination of both. For instance, while the standard AirPods are due for an update, reports suggest that the AirPods Pro will simply be repackaged with a USB-C charging case, similar to what Apple did with the MagSafe case in 2021.

Similarly, accessories like Mac keyboards, mice, and trackpads aren’t likely to need updates anytime in the near future, and the same could be said for Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack. Hence, Apple is likelier to give these a minor refresh just to switch the port to USB-C for consistency.

Apple’s MagSafe Duo Charger is a more significant question mark. Since that also uses a Lightning port for power, it needs to make the switch, but it also currently lacks fast charging for the Apple Watch Series 7 and later. Only Apple knows how well that particularly pricy accessory has sold, but it speaks volumes that it hasn’t been updated at all in the two years since Apple introduced fast charging to its wearables.

So, we think Apple could go either way on this one — use the opportunity to add fast Apple Watch charging with the switch to USB-C or quietly leave it to die on the table until it’s eventually discontinued.

When Are New Apple USB-C Accessories Coming?

We can pretty much count on the fact that Apple will announce the iPhone 15 lineup at its “Wonderlust” event next Tuesday, September 12. If the company follows tradition, the new iPhone models will go up for pre-order on Friday, September 15, and have them landing in stores the following Friday, September 22.

However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently shared some inside info that staff at most Apple retail stores will be pulling all-nighters on September 12 to get ready to open up the day after the event. While Gurman notes that they could just be “quickly putting up new marketing materials,” he also suggests that some new products may see “near-immediate availability” after Apple’s announcements.

Still, we wouldn’t recommend getting your hopes up that the iPhone 15 will be in stores next Wednesday. While Apple isn’t required to stick to its past release cycles, it’s worth noting that it’s only deviated from it once in 13 years of fall iPhone releases. That was in 2015 when the iPhone 6s arrived two weeks after preorders opened instead of one. This was also the only year that preorders opened on a Saturday, likely to avoid having the new iPhones go on sale on September 11.

Every other year — even in 2011 and 2020, when Apple delayed its event until October — the first iPhone models have always been up for preorder the Friday after Apple’s iPhone event and in stores (and arriving in customers’ hands) the Friday after that.

However, while it’s unlikely any new iPhone or Apple Watch models will show up in Apple Stores that quickly, there’s a good chance Apple could have a new USB-C accessory lineup ready to go immediately, as there’d be less reason to delay these products — especially if they’re merely a change to the port.

That would likely include the USB-C AirPods Pro and perhaps even a new set of fourth-generation AirPods. However, Apple could make a wholesale switch to USB-C overnight, removing the last vestiges of Lightning accessories from its stores in favor of USB-C Magic Keyboards, trackpads, mice, and more. Even the Lightning cables could end up going on a back shelf, although Apple will still need to keep selling these for a while to accommodate years of Lightning-equipped iPhones and iPads.

There’s also the question of two mysterious iPhone models that appeared in beta code last month. While it’s not at all clear, these might represent USB-C versions of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. While Apple will likely discontinue the iPhone 14 Pro models after the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max arrive, the standard iPhone 14 is expected to move down into the spot currently occupied by the iPhone 13. It will also likely continue to be sold well into 2025, so Apple may want to get ahead of the game to ensure it’s in full compliance with new European regulations and to position USB-C as the new reality.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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