Video: Robotics Engineer Replaces AirPods’ Lightning Port with USB-C

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 10 May 2022

USB-C AirPods

Robotics engineer Ken Pillonel shot to fame in the Apple enthusiast community for equipping an iPhone with a USB-C port, a feat the billion-dollar company couldn’t do in several years. Now, Pillonel has focused his enthusiasm for USB-C in a different direction. He has replaced the Lightning connector in the AirPods case with the more versatile USB-C port.

If you aren’t familiar, Pillonel is an enthusiastic engineer whose first famous project in Apple circles was replacing the Lightning connector on an iPhone. At the time, he explained that the proprietary connector and its cable are just an additional hassle in a world where USB-C is widely prevalent and almost standardized. His work also inspired other DIY enthusiasts to replicate the work.

Pillonel recently shared a new video in which he switched an AirPods case to USB-C. In an interaction with Engadget, the hobbyist explained that the motivation to take on the latest project was straightforward:

“What Apple products do I use every day, and which ones are still stuck with a Lightning port?”

However, he continues that the execution wasn’t as simple. Pillonel wanted to ensure that the fit and finish of the modified AirPods case was comparable to Apple’s finish from the factory.

“It was harder because I set high standards for how the finished product needed to look.”

Staying true to the spirit of the modding community, one of Pillonely’s focus points was making the project easy to replicate. Despite the challenges associated, the engineer says the result is well worth the effort. Until Pillonely’s full, in-depth video about this project releases, enjoy this short one:

Like his past projects, the USB-C AirPods reiterates that if Apple wanted to, it could seamlessly transition from the Lightning connector and adopt the widespread standard. Until it makes the switch, though, we won’t stop appreciating the ingenuity of engineers like Pillonel.

[Via Engadget]