May 23, 2022

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AirPods mod abandons the Lightning port for USB-C

Robotics engineering student Ken Bellonel continued his USB-C mode on iPhone with a server Modified pair of AirPods With USB-C charging port – to replace Apple’s own Lightning port. While the result is simple (the USB-C cable goes in, the power goes up), it was an engineering challenge that Pilonel says took up “almost every weekend for a few months.” It comes about a month after he completed a project that brought a file with him Lightning port to Android phone.

Pillonel plans to release a full video explaining the project in the coming weeks, but for now, he’s pulled out a short clip showing charging his AirPods modified with a USB-C cable like his previously modified MacBook and iPhone. Plans to open source project As he did with the USB-C iPhone for others to follow.

In an email, Billonel explained that he started creating a proof of concept regardless of appearance (the results he posted a few months ago), before gradually refining his work to fit Apple’s case. In the end, the student said he designed a custom flexible printed plate that contained the necessary chargers, which he was able to bend to fit the AirPods case. In the photos, the USB-C port looks just as integrated as the original Lightning port for the earphones.

Apple already uses USB-C ports to charge its laptops and a growing number of its tablets, but it continues to charge the Lightning ports on its smaller, portable devices like iPhones and AirPods as well as Mac accessories like it Mouse, trackpad and keyboard. This means that even someone who’s bought into the entire Apple ecosystem can’t get away with carrying just one charging cable. As a modification like this proves, there is little to prevent Apple from switching to a more convenient global charging standard, an option that probably has something to do with the Control the Apple-proprietary Lightning interface.

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USB-C AirPods with LED lighting for charging.
Photo: Ken Billonel

EU regulators are trying to change things with new legislation They hope to force companies like Apple to use the universal USB-C charging standard on phones, tablets and headphones, with the goal of reducing electronic waste. But until such legislation goes into effect, amendments like Pelonel are likely to be the best we’ll get.