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Hardware hacker brings USB-C to AirPods Max before Apple

USB-C on AirPods Max DIY hack

The European Union forced Apple to adopt USB-C as the common charging connector and AirPods Max is one of the few Apple products that don’t feature it. Apple replaced the Lightning connector on the iPhone 15 series, Apple Watch Magnetic Fast Charger, AirPods Pro 2, and more, but the recently launched Vision Pro headset has a different story to tell.

The over-ear wireless headphones were released almost three years ago and are due for an upgrade. Any upcoming AirPods Max upgrade is likely to feature a USB-C connector out-of-the-box. But it turns out that a YouTuber and hardware hacker named Ken Pillonel beat Apple in the race and added a USB-C connector to AirPods Max before the company.

Pillonel uploaded a video explaining how they were able to achieve this feat by accessing the internal components, designing a custom USB-C conversion circuit, and 3D printing the required parts. As per the video, getting a cutout for the USB-C connector is not a difficult task and it retains the headphones in their original shape.

"I swear they make it too easy for me. There's a metal lip that you can just push out, and boom you have the perfect size hole for the USB-C connector. No drilling!"

The YouTuber spent hours "looking for the right connector" and was able to charge their modded AirPods Max on the first try. However, passing audio through the USB-C connector is a long road as it's not economical.

Pillonel explained that it's technically possible to add audio support but that would require them to "steal the chip from an original adapter for each board, too expensive." If you want to give it a try, a custom kit and the steps to install the connector are available on Pillonel's website.

This is not the first time the hardware hacker has tinkered with Apple products. Their previous adventures include adding wires and a USB-C connector to the regular AirPods and creating a transparent charging case for AirPods Pro.

Image via Ken Pillonel

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