With the iPhone 15 expected to make the move to USB-C, it's only a matter of time before Apple's other products do as well. AirPods and AirPods Pro will need to follow suit and someone already beat Apple to the punch.
YouTuber Ken Pillonel, via his Exploring the Simulation channel, had already taken an old AirPods Charging Case and given it a USB-C transplant. Now, he's done it to Apple's best Bluetooth earbuds as well.
What's more, you can do it too.
USB-C all the things
While Apple is being forced to go all USB-C all the time, that isn't why Pillonel set about doing it himself. Instead, that's all about replacing parts that aren't supposed to be replaced — saving e-waste in the process.
Famously, iFixit gave both the AirPods and AirPods Pro a 0/10 repairability rating.
"The goal of this project is to maximize the number of successful repairs to minimize the quantity of electronic waste," Pillonel told iMore. "A replacement battery can be purchased online, but it is the only replacement part available. If a charging port is broken, there is no way to replace it except by getting a replacement part from another device."
So he set about fixing that.
The result is a 3D-printed case that can be used should the original get broken when being taken apart and a USB-C connector that can be built at home or purchased online.
Making the USB-C connector available for purchase is a key part here. Pillonel made it possible for people to build their own, but he "realized that 2 million people watched the last video where a similar project is done for the original AirPods, and only a few attempted to repair it as shown." He says that proved that the process was too difficult and that "the only way to have a real impact is to lower the difficulty of repair by making the ready-to-install replacement part available to purchase."
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.