Apple announced its latest iPhone models earlier this week during a glitzy prerecorded event broadcast to millions on YouTube. As well as a new design, 5G support, and upgraded cameras, Apple revealed that it was dropping the bundled charging plug and wired headphones to shrink the size of the packaging needed to ship its new smartphone range, which comes in four flavours – iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
According to Apple, it made the decision to drop these peripherals from the box to reduce electronic waste – as most customers already have wired headphones or have switched to wireless options – like the £159 AirPods. Not only that, but iPhone owners upgrading to a new model will also likely have a plug and charging cable too… unless they’re selling their previous phone to cover the cost of the new one, or passing it onto a family member, of course. Apple says that ditching the plug and headphones enables it to shrink the physical size of the packaging to squeeze more boxes into every shipping container which will equate to removing 450,000 cars from the road each year. That’s a heft reduction in pollutants.
However, what the Californian company didn’t mention on-stage was that its decision to remove the bundled headphones and chargers would also apply to its previous iPhone models – the ones that have been on-sale for the last year or more with a charger and EarPods headphones in the box. Yes, while those who purchased an iPhone 11 from the Apple Store last week would find a mains plug, charging cable and headphones in the box with their shiny new smartphone… anyone who hits the “Buy” button today will only get the handset and a Lighting to USB-C cable.
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That could also present iPhone owners with a problem. Until now, iPhone 11, iPhone SE, iPhone Xr have always shipped with a Lighting to USB-A cable and the appropriate charging plug. So, while most people likely will have an old charging plug lying around at home – these probably wouldn’t be the ones needed to connect to the charging cable included with your new iPhone.
That’s because Apple has now switched to Lighting to USB-C cables with all of its smartphones.
This is the cable needed to enable fast wired charging, not to mention connecting an iPhone to a recent MacBook model (which only include USB-C ports), although iMac owners will need to go around in the back of a drawer to find an older Lighting to USB-A cable… or buy a dongle adapter to connect their Apple products together.
Of course, if you already have an iPad Pro charging plug, or any recent Android smartphone plug, you’ll be able to connect the cable to that. If you don’t have any of those wall plugs in your home, you’ll need to cough-up £19 for the charging plug from the Apple Store. Apple reduced the cost of that plug from £29 down to £19 following the iPhone 12 announcement earlier this week. The cost of its wired headphones also dropped by the same amount.
While that’s a nice gesture, it could also be seen as an acknowledgement that more people are going to be buying these – and more frequently – than before and that it can drop the price of each individual item without shareholders becoming worried about falling revenues.