Will AirPods Max move to USB-C?

Ken Pillonel, a hardware prototyping consultant, has taken the initiative to transform the AirPods Max’s Lightning charging port into a USB-C one, in an effort to address both repairability and sustainability concerns in consumer electronics, such as user discontent with the persistence of the Lightning port on these premium headphones.

The demand for USB-C

The transition to USB-C on AirPods Max responds to growing user demand for greater compatibility and convenience in device charging, especially considering that most Apple products have already adopted this standard. Additionally, the project offers a viable solution for damaged Lightning ports, which can be expensive to replace.

The transition to USB-C on the new AirPods Max reflects Apple’s commitment to standardization and continuous improvement of the user experience on its devices.

The adaptation process

The conversion process involved designing and manufacturing a custom replacement part, including an open source USB-C conversion circuit and a printed circuit board that fits perfectly without drilling or damaging the original components. This meticulous attention to design not only makes it easier for technically proficient users to upgrade, but also improves the durability of the assembly thanks to a flexible section that mitigates stress on the connector.

Limitations and availability

Despite exploring the possibility of enabling audio pass-through through the USB-C port, Pillonel decided not to include this feature due to the prohibitive cost and complexity of integrating Apple’s proprietary technology. However, the conversion kit and detailed instructions are available for purchase in the Pillonel online store.

Apple’s new AirPods Max will introduce expected changes such as the USB-C port, offering an improved charging and audio experience to users.

Anticipating the next generation

Rumors suggest that the second generation of AirPods Max could launch in late 2024, with USB-C as the main update. Although no significant changes are expected beyond new color options, Pillonel’s project anticipates and validates the transition towards a more universal and user-friendly charging standard.

Ken Pillonel’s AirPods Max to USB-C conversion project not only meets an immediate demand from users, but also raises important questions about repairability and sustainability in device manufacturing. As we approach the next generation of AirPods Max, this project underscores the need for standardization and conscious innovation in consumer technology.

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