There has been a major overhaul of iPhones this year. Not just in terms of new design, improved functionality and the introduction of 5G.
As you may have heard, the iPhone 12 no longer has the earbuds or a charging plug in the box. Well, we know it applies to all four iPhone 12 models, but what about the other phones still on sale?
Removing earphones and chargers makes packaging significantly smaller and allows Apple to ship up to 70 percent more product on a shipping pallet, the company says. It is part of Apple’s determination to reduce electronic waste. It must be a good thing. After all, we all have USB chargers lying around our homes, don’t we?
The box still includes a charging cable, in fact it is a USB-C to Lightning cable, which is an upgrade from the USB-A to Lightning cable included with every iPhone, from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 11 included.
But there was one detail that Apple neglected to mention in its keynote last week: This change isn’t limited to just new iPhones. If you bought an iPhone 11, iPhone Xr, or iPhone SE last week, you would have had a charging plug, cable, and earphones in the box.
If that’s what you’re buying now, you’ll only get the USB-C to Lightning cable found with newer phones.
Is this the right thing to do, Apple?
After all, of all the iPhones ever sold, only two, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have ever had a USB-C charging socket provided. So even if you’ve bought a phone every year but last year it was the iPhone 11, you might not have the right plug for the cable that’s now in the box.
In a way, it definitely makes sense. If Apple says its focus on reducing e-waste relies on the fact that we all have these chargers, why should it make a difference if the new iPhone we buy today is the 11 or the 12?
And any iPhone charging plug and Lightning cable will work with iPhones on sale today. Apple has also lowered the price of its USB-C charging plug, so that’s already something.
Instead, I’d suggest thinking of it as an additional cable in the box, and by the way, it’s useful, not least because you can use it to charge your iPhone directly from a Mac laptop, let’s say.
And then there are the earphones. I can’t tell you how happy I am not to have them. I hardly ever take them out of the box, for any smartphone, not just Apple. They can be useful in case of need, if I have lost my wireless headphones, but I rarely use them. I suspect that’s the case with more people besides me: white EarPods cables that were so ubiquitous aren’t as often seen, it seems to me, but AirPods are far more common.
In the end, I believe Apple did the right thing by removing the plug and EarPods from the box.
And one thing is for sure, as much as many other brands claim this omission is an outrage, you can bet many of them will follow suit in the months to come.
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