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Apple Reportedly Testing USB-C iPhones, Which May Signal The End Of The Lightnin...

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Apple Reportedly Testing USB-C iPhones, Which May Signal The End Of The Lightning Port

USB-C and Lightning cables placed next to the Apple logo
charnsitr/Shutterstock
By Rahul Srinivas/May 13, 2022 2:24 pm EDT

Close on the heels of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's claim that Apple is seriously considering ditching the Lightning connector; we now have Bloomberg analyst Mark Gurman reporting the same. An article by Gurman asserts that Apple has already started testing iPhone models with the USB-C connector, citing an unnamed source. In addition to new USB-C-ready phones, it's reported that Apple is also reportedly working on designing adapters that will enable older Lightning port-compatible accessories to work with USB-C iPhone devices of the future.

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Like Ming-Chi Kuo, Gurman estimates that the first USB-C port iPhone devices won't arrive until the second half of 2023. Effectively, this also means that the upcoming iPhone 14 models — expected to launch in September 2022 — would continue to use the Lightning port as the sole wired connectivity standard. It's likely the first iPhone models to potentially sport USB-C ports will be the iPhone 15 series, expected in 2023. This will also mark the end of the road for the Lightning port, a standard that Apple introduced with the iPhone 5 back in 2012.

USB-C iPhones: Why now?

A red colored USB-C cable.
megaflopp/Shutterstock

Until recently, Apple did not seem keen on ditching the decade-old Lightning port. And why would they? The company was making millions of dollars selling accessories that needed to be Lightning port compatible for them to work with iPhones. Apple has required accessory makers to pay them for the privilege of giving them access to its ecosystem as long as there's been an iPhone. Apple continued to milk this privilege even after the rest of its product lineup — including iPads and MacBooks — already supported the now prevalent USB-C standard for various purposes.

Instead, the sudden change of heart seems to have been the result of unrelenting pressure from the European Union. The EU, for the past few years, has been pressing for a common standard for wired connectivity options on smartphones and smart devices, a move that Apple has resisted until now. With the EU on the brink of passing new legislation mandating all device manufacturers to adhere to a common wired connectivity standard, Apple is seemingly left with no option but to begrudgingly fall in line and give in to the EU's demands.

Will this move benefit iPhone users?

A bunch of Apple accessories
GaudiLab/Shutterstock

In the long run, the move to USB-C is likely to be a win-win situation for iPhone users. Apart from the obvious advantage of not having to look around for an iPhone-specific charger, the move will also come with inherent benefits. The most significant of these would be the ability to offer quicker charging and data transfer speeds. The move to USB-C will also open the doors for the ability to a wider set of 3rd-party accessories on future iPhones. This would also mean Apple would have less control over the accessories marketplace, possibly leading to lower prices.

The initial phase of the switch to USB-C, however, could confuse long-time iPhone users with some of the company's older accessories — including AirPods, the Apple TV remote, the MagSafe battery pack, and the MagSafe Duo charger — continuing to use the Lightning port. To avoid these issues, we expect Apple to introduce a USB-C to Lightning adapter along with the first iPhones with USB-C ports.

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10 AirPods Pro Competitors That Are Worth Checking Out

AirPods Pro on table
Mohd Syis Zulkipli/Shutterstock
By Kelly Hodgkins/Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 12:20 pm EDT

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Wireless earbuds have exploded in popularity over the past few years, with Apple's AirPods leading the way. Yes, both the AirPods and AirPods Pro are bestsellers, but they are not the only wireless Bluetooth earbuds on the market. Ditching the AirPods doesn't mean you have to compromise. There are plenty of competing earbuds that offer everything you want for cord-free sound on the go. Choose wisely and you can get outstanding audio, stellar battery life, and a comfortable fit. Simplify your shopping with our compilation of the best wireless earbuds that rival Apple's flagship AirPods Pro. 

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

Anker

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro not only looks like a pair of AirPods Pro, but it also shares a comfortable fit and many of the same cutting-edge audio features. You'll find active noise cancellation, audio pass through and voice amplification. You'll be able to listen to music when you want to rock out or tone down the sound when someone is talking to you. From the companion mobile app, you can change the noise cancellation parameters, allowing you to dial in the perfect sound for your environment.  

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is no slouch when it comes to audio. The sound quality is robust with a tight bass and vibrant treble. Yes, the mid-range is a bit flat, but you can compensate for that deficiency with the custom equalizer. Speaking of the EQ, you will learn to love those customizations, especially if you listen to a wide variety of music types. With a price tag just over $100, you're not going to find a better combination of sound quality, comfort and features.

Beats Fit Pro

Want the groundbreaking audio of the AirPods without their sterile white design? Then you should grab the Beats Fit Pro. Crafted by the Apple-owned Beats, the Beats Fit Pro true wireless earbuds offer the same basic audio features as the AirPods. The spatial audio is equally immersive, and the active noise cancellation is on par with the AirPods Pro. Designed for audiophiles, the sound quality in the Beats Fit Pro is jaw-dropping, especially when listening to high-fidelity tunes streamed from Apple Music. Beats bundles all this audio goodness and more into a colorful and compact package that is comfortable to wear.

Not surprisingly, the Beats Fit Pro integrates tightly with the iPhone, allowing you to access Apple's voice assistant with the simple "Hey Siri" command. You can send text messages using Siri's voice prompts and configure Siri to read your incoming alerts. And if that isn't enough integration for you, you even can adjust the volume of your music using your Apple Watch. Priced at the $200 mark, the Beats Fit Pro is as close to the AirPods in price and quality as you're going to get in a competing earbud.

Amazon Echo Buds

SlashGear

Apple AirPods are incredible for iPhone owners, but they are not so great for Android owners. Android owners lose out on the stunning spatial audio  of the AirPods and other features like automatic ear detection and device switching. Android owners shouldn't despair as Amazon has got them covered. With support for Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, Amazon's Echo Buds offer a diversity not found in Apple's AirPods. The Echo buds are easy to set up thanks to the Amazon Alexa app, which handles pairing and configuration. Best of all, the Alexa app is available on both iOS and Android. 

The Echo Buds have a non-descript appearance that blends in well with both office and gym attire. They are equipped with multiple ear tips and a handy test function in the Alexa app that'll help you get the best fit for your ear. Amazon also added active noise cancellation into the Echo Buds, which helps to dampen outside noise. Granted, the ANC in the Echo Buds isn't as effective as Apple's market-leading ANC, but it is impressive for earbuds at this lower price point .

Bose Quiet Comfort

Bose

Bose's exceptional noise cancellation and outstanding audio quality make these Quiet Comfort earbuds a worthy competitor to Apple's AirPods. Don't be shocked by the price. Bose is a premium brand, and these earbuds command a premium price. Are they worth it? It depends on whether you value looks or performance.

The sound quality on the Bose is well-balanced with robust bass and clear, crisp treble. Where the Quiet Comfort shines is the active noise cancellation. The noise cancellation is adjustable, allowing you to choose from either preset modes or use a slider to dial in the level from 0 to 10 of the noise cancellations you need. The ANC automatically adjusts to outdoor sounds, minimizing traffic and other ambient noise on the sound quality.

Sound quality is outstanding, but the design of the Quiet Comforts falls short. They are slightly oversized, and it is noticeable when you wear them. The issue isn't comfort. They fit securely and are comfortable, but they are not very subtle. It's not so easy to hide that you are wearing earbuds.

JLab Epic Air Sport

JLab

At a fraction of the cost of the AirPods, the JLab Epic Air Sport is perfect for people whose idea of fun involves working up a sweat. At the top of the sports earbud market, the JLab Epic Air Sport features an ear hook that secures the earbud to your ear and holds it in place even during high-impact exercise like running. It also has sweat resistance so you won't ruin your earbuds when your sweat level reaches maximum. 

You typically don't equate noise cancellation with playing sports, but JLab realizes that ANC is as useful in the gym as it is in a crowded subway car. We are happy to see active noise cancellation in the Epic Air Sport, but battery life is where these sport earbuds shine. The earbuds boast 11 hours of battery life with ANC and a whopping 15 hours with ANC off. The controls are a bit clunky and not as intuitive as the Apple AirPods, but the sometimes-confusing controls are the only gripe we have with the JLab Epic Air Sport.

Soundpeats T3

Soundpeats

Want the look of the AirPods without the high price tag? Then check out the Soundpeats T3. They are not as full and rich as the AirPods, but their sound is still decent. Unless you are an audiophile, you won't care that the bass is heavy and the treble is a bit harsh. The touch controls are fumbly, and you'll likely have to carry around the included cheat sheet until you learn the controls you use the most. Once you memorize the different gestures, the touch interface is responsive.

The Soundpeats offer an impressive set of features for a budget pair of earbuds. They have active noise cancellation, which is surprisingly good in most circumstances. They're perfect for travelers who frequent noisy airports but don't expect them to keep things quiet when you are cutting the lawn. There's also an ambient mode that lets you hear your surroundings. This feature works as expected and is convenient but is not as good as the competition.

Master and Dynamic MW07 Plus

Master and Dynamic

Master and Dynamic MW07 Plus have a unique look that sets them apart from the Apple-esque styling of the AirPods Pro. The classy look is accompanied by fins that hold the earbuds securely in your ear. The fit is so tight that it blocks out ambient sound. This noise-reducing seal makes up for the fact that the earbuds lack any noise-canceling features. Also missing is a mobile app and the features like customizable EQ that go along with it.

Audio quality is exceptional, with a vibrant, bright sound that rivals most headphones. Bass also is robust, making the Master and Dynamic MW07 Plus ideal for those who appreciate the sound of the music and not just the lyrics. Call quality is equally good, thanks to the built-in microphone. Best of all is the battery life which powers the earbuds up to 10 hours on a single charge.

Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony's WF-1000XM3 earbuds have a hefty price tag, but, in this case, you get what you pay for. The WF-1000XM3s are great-sounding earbuds that check all the boxes and then some. Sony didn't skimp on the small details. Unlike many earbuds with substandard microphones, Sony's microphone is top-notch and provides rock-solid voice calling.

There are no surprises on the audio front. The WF-1000XM3 earbuds deliver the same warm, rich sound that we've come to expect from Sony's earbuds. Battery life is also great with an impressive six hours of continuous listening, and that's with noise cancellation turned on. This playback time jumps up to eight hours if you turn off noise cancellation and 15 hours when idle.

Unlike many earbuds that ship with silicone ear tips, Sony uses foam with the WF-1000XM3 earbuds. Not only does it make them super comfortable, but it also dampens the noise from the outside world. The foam squishes to create an excellent seal with your ear canal. Couple this physical sound deadening with outstanding active noise cancellation, and you have one of the best noise cancellation systems around.

Earfun Air Pro 2

Earfun

The budget Earfun Air Pro 2 offers surprisingly smooth sound for the budget price point. They are a great entry-level option for someone who wants high-end features such as active noise cancellation without the premium price tag. The Earn Air Pro 2 resemble the AirPods pro, which is a look some people may prefer

The Earn Air Pro 2 has the big three: active noise cancellation, transparency mode, and ambient sound. All three work together to improve the audio experience in various circumstances. An added benefit, the earbuds have an ear detection sensor that turns off your music when you remove the earbuds from your ears.

You won't believe how good these are for the price. Sound quality is above average across the board with just enough bass, not too much treble, and an acceptable range. They are surprisingly lightweight and comfortable with various tips to fit a wide range of people. Battery life also is decent. You'll get six hours of usage with noise cancellation and seven hours without it on.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2

Sennheiser

If you are buying wireless earbuds for all-around audio quality, you cannot go wrong with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. These are premium earbuds that come with a premium sound. They have a balanced, clear sound and outstanding instrument separation. If you don't like your levels, you can adjust them using the custom equalizer settings in the companion app. You also can use the app to control the active noise cancellation settings and dial in the perfect amount of noise dampening.

The touch controls are among the best we've encountered on a pair of wireless earbuds. A large touch area makes it easy to tap while wearing the earbuds. The controls also are customizable, giving you the ability to assign gestures to the actions you use the most. It's easy to answer phone calls using the earbuds. Calls are extremely clear thanks to the built-in microphone, which is among the best we've seen on wireless earbuds. The Momentum 2 earbuds are stylish and have a discreet, comfortable fit.


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