The first AirPods with a USB-C port are already a reality
Ken Pillonel He has done his thing again. The robotics student, who in 2021 became famous for creating the first iPhone with a USB-C port, has reappeared with a new project. This time he has fulfilled the wish of many, when disposing of the Lightning connector from the case of some AirPods.
Yes, you read correctly. The first AirPods with a USB-C port in its case they are already a reality And, believe it or not, you can also adapt your own at home. As long as you have the knowledge and the necessary equipment to achieve it, of course.
In this case, Pillonel's project started from a different premise than the one that gave him his original moment of fame. The young engineer set out to address what, according to him, is the main shortcoming of the AirPods: the inability to replace the battery included in the case.
As it is a sealed compartment, it is impossible to open it to change the battery in case it runs out. At least not without breaking it. Therefore, he decided to explain how to cut a section of the Apple earphone case to fit a new battery, and replace the damaged case with a 3D printed one.
However, Pillonel concluded that during the process there was a great chance that the lightning port will be damaged. And since Apple does not sell official replacement parts for it, the only alternative to continue down the "official" path is to remove it from another AirPods case. But the aforementioned decided to go a little further and replace it with a USB-C port, taking into account the European regulations that will make the use of a common charger mandatory from 2024.
Ken Pillonel is ahead of Apple and creates the first AirPods with USB-C
In the last few hours, the robotics student posted a video on YouTube showing the entire procedure. In addition, he has released the case designs for the AirPods case so that anyone can print them on his own; and he has also made available the design of the modifications to be made to change the Lightning port for a USB-C one.
Needless to say, everything that is new about this initiative, it also has it unfeasible. As with the USB-C iPhone project, Pillonel designed and commissioned a custom printed circuit board. This allowed him to rearrange the "guts" of the case of the AirPods to be compatible with the new connector.
I reiterate the previous concept. What this young engineer does is fascinating, and he sends a message to Apple regarding certain design (and business) practices or choices that many surely disagree with. However, being such a profound modification, it is not a "do it yourself" proposal that is available to everyone.
In any case, it makes it clear that today there is no technical obstacle that cannot be avoided based on ingenuity and knowledge. Let's not forget that, in addition to equipping the iPhone and AirPods with USB-C, the Swiss engineer has been able to adapt the Apple Lightning port on a Samsung Galaxy A51.