iPhone 12.Apple announces its iPhone with 5G and a new smart speaker
Gadgets.Apple launches new iPads and a new version of the Apple Watch
Starting next week, iPhones will be sold without a power adapter or headphones in the box.
It is not just about the new iPhone 12, which can now be reserved (except for the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max models, which will be marketed in mid-November);
Apple will not include them in the rest of the iPhone from previous years that are still on sale, such as the iPhone SE or the iPhone 11. It does not come as a surprise.
Rumors about this change began circulating in June, although few expected it to affect the old models as well.
The only exception appears to be France, where the law requires phones to include headsets to protect those under 14 from possible overexposure to radiation.
IPhones will come with a charging cable for the Lightning port your devices use, with a USB-C connection on the other end.
To save the planet
Apple justifies the new policy by the environmental impact of including a charger and headphones when many of us already have several at home from previous models, or even from third-party devices.
The vast majority of users who buy a new iPhone will be able to charge it using any charger that includes a USB-C port for the new cable (or a computer with a USB-C connection), a wireless charger or simply a charger and Lightning cable. of an older model that you already have at home.
Just counting those that Apple has included in the iPhone boxes since 2007, there are more than
2 billion of these chargers in homes around the world
Some will be lost or broken over time, but the vast majority still work, even if they are notoriously slow.
More than half of these chargers should be accompanied by a USB-A to Lightning cable, which Apple included with all phones since the iPhone 5 and with many accessories and products from its catalog.
Cables tend to break and get lost more easily, but we're still talking about hundreds of millions, if not billions, of cables.
In the case of headphones, and since the company no longer includes a standard headphone port on its phones, only those that Apple has included in the boxes since the iPhone 7 should be counted. Given the iPhone sales figures in the In recent years, there are about 700 million Lightning-connected headphones scattered around homes.
By removing these accessories from the iPhone case from now on, Apple estimates that it will save the emission of
2 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere
, the equivalent of taking 450,000 cars off the road.
The numbers seem huge but they are understood when you consider the scale at which the company operates.
Last year it sold more than 185 million iPhones.
And the environmental benefits are not produced solely by not making these chargers or headphones.
By not including them, Apple can use a smaller box and transport 70% more phones on a traditional pallet.
Fewer shipments by plane and ship also contribute to lower CO2 emissions.
As expected, the measure has not sat well with many consumers, who suspect that behind the decision there is
a purely economic motive
and that what Apple is doing is simply
, that is, disguising a decision as environmental policy that, although benefit the environment, actually take self-interested to save money.
An estimate can be made of what Apple saves on each phone by not including a charger and headphones.
According to the consultancy IHS Markit, Apple paid about
for the additional content of the box and packaging of its phones.
That includes the instruction manuals, charging cable, charger, and headphones, plus the box itself.
If we consider that the charger and the headphones are some of the most expensive products in this set, it is possible that with the new measure the company will save about 7 dollars per phone sold.
by 185 million
and the amount is not negligible.
Since you can now ship more phones in each shipment, you also save significant money on distribution and warehousing.
But that's only part of the equation.
The new phones include 5G support and therefore more antennas, more base memory in some models, a more complex camera lens and better sensors, OLED screens instead of LCD in cheaper models, a new magnetic coupling system and several others. features that are likely to eat away at that apparent benefit.
When Apple presents its quarterly accounts and the margin of the iPhone division is known, it will be easier to get an idea of whether the measure really represents a significant savings, but it is most likely that the margins of the iPhone will remain very stable compared to the from previous years.
Apple is the manufacturer
with the highest profit margin in the world of telephony
Virtually no other brand makes significant amounts of money selling phones (hopefully they don't lose) but the big jumps in these margins often come from the introduction of new, more expensive models or policies that incentivize jumping to a model with more memory or features.
The problem with this new policy, in reality, is not so much that the iPhone has a charger or not.
For the vast majority of users it will not be a problem and those who have to buy a new one will find many third-party alternatives on the market for less than 10 euros, which they will also take advantage of in all kinds of products in the future.
The problem is that Apple doesn't seem to have
a coherent idea of its own strategy around accessories
Each family of devices seems to follow arbitrary rules.
IPhones no longer include a charger, but iPads do.
The phones now come with a charging cable with a USB-C termination, but the Apple Watch introduced a few weeks ago still includes a charger with a USB-A termination.
Some accessories, like the AirPods or the company's keyboards and trackpads, include a Lightning cable, but also with a USB-A termination, even though Macs have already abandoned that connection.
The company has integrated a new MagSafe wireless charging system into the new phones, and sells a new wireless charger compatible with this system.
But the charger, like phones, does not include the power adapter, which is confusing as a "MagSafe Charger" (in this Apple is alone, third-party wireless chargers do not always include the power adapter).
The new HomePod Mini?
It also has a built-in cable with USB-C termination, just like the MagSafe charger, but it does include a USB-C connected power adapter in the box.
Those responsible for the different divisions of the company may have an answer to these apparent contradictions.
The HomePod is a standalone product that must be functional right out of the box, for example, or iPads have to come with a charger because they cannot be charged with the 5-watt adapters that iPhones used and of those there are fewer in the homes.
But for consumers it's all
, especially coming from a company that boasts attention to detail.
And it does not help that you decide to eliminate things that until now were offered for free, considering that it is the largest company in the world by market capitalization.
It is true that we have too many chargers at home and perhaps all manufacturers should stop including them with phones.
And it is true that Apple usually makes drastic decisions regarding port and connection transitions, thinking about what the needs will be in the future and not the current ones.
It is good, for example, that the new iPhones come with a charging cable with a USB-C termination, although it is less common to see power adapters with this connection.
In a year or two it will be much more useful than having included another USB-A.
But this transition from a world of cables to a wireless one, from USB-A to USB-C with the Lightning connection in between, is proving too confusing and frustrating.
And sometimes something as simple as packing a charger into a box, even when unused, helps alleviate some of that frustration.
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