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Apple’s Lightning-only charging case for the third-gen AirPods doesn’t make sense

Apple’s Lightning-only charging case for the third-gen AirPods doesn’t make sense


Apple quietly introduced a new charging case option

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Image showing the product page for Apple’s third-gen AirPods, with options for a Lightning or MagSafe charging case.
Worth noting: the MagSafe charging case also has a Lightning port.

Apple has quietly introduced a new option for its third-generation non-Pro AirPods — a Lightning-only charging case (via MacRumors). On the surface, that’s reasonable: forgoing wireless charging on the second-gen AirPods saved you $40. But this time around, you’re only saving ten dollars: they cost $169, compared to $179 for the MagSafe version (which can also be charged with a Lightning cable).

For those looking to trade convenience for savings, foregoing wireless charging used to be a genuinely good option, saving you 20 percent. Now, you can just as easily save $10 on third-gen AirPods with two seconds of Googling — the MagSafe versions are on sale for $169 at both Amazon and Target. If you’re willing to wait, you could probably snag them for even less around the holiday season if last year’s deals are anything to go by.

Screenshot of a pop-up on Apple’s website explaining the difference between the case options. It reads, in part, “The difference is how you charge each one. Either case can be charged using the Lightning connector. Only the MagSafe Charging Case is also compatible with the MagSafe Charger and other wireless chargers, making charging a snap.”
Even Apple’s “Which case is right for you?” explainer doesn’t sound enthused about the Lightning-only option.

To be clear, I’m not saying this is a completely useless product; if you never use wireless charging and don’t ever intend to in the future, then sure, it may be worth getting the version with the Lightning-only case. But if you do want to go that route, don’t settle for just $10 in savings.