Apple recently announced its iPhone 12 series. However, this year’s iPhones will not be shipping with neither a charging wall brick nor earphones.
According to the company, the shift comes with the objective of reducing its carbon footprint and promoting a more environmentally friendly approach. However, as we will soon see, there might also some other factors, masked behind the “eco-friendly” stance, that may have pushed Apple to make this unpopular decision.
No wall charger nor EarPods inside the new iPhone 12 box
Apple announced the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro during an online Apple event on October 13th, 2020. While a charging cable (USB-C to Lightning) is still included, Apple revealed that the new iPhone series will not include the usual wall charger (i.e. power adapter) inside the box. Additionally, the new iPhones will also ship without EarPods. Instead, Apple is promting users to use their own charger and earphones.
Apple’s official stance
According to the statement made my Apple, the lack of accessories in the iPhone box means less carbon emissions associated with mining and packaging of the products. Further, the iPhone box will also be smaller – hence, more pieces will be able to fit on a single palette, leading to fewer delivery rounds.
Apple claims that their effort to reduce e-waste will result in a global reduction of 2 million tons of carbon emissions.
E-waste in the world
According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020 report, there are almost 54 million tons of E-waste generated in the world in the year 2019 alone. That number is expected to continue to rise until 74 million tons in 2030.
However, acording to experts in the field, the resulting reduction in Apple’s portion after these changes is only really expected to be around 25,000 tons. This is far less than the figure of 2 million officially claimed by Apple.
Other potential reasons
However, to evaluate from a financial standpoint, the charger-less iPhones are more cost friendly for the company. The new iPhone 12 series will support 5G, which increases the manufacturing cost for the phones, since the components used are more expensive. Therefore, the lack of accessories might be a way to maintain the company’s profitability.
Finally, after pushing back on the EU proposal for a single common charger, which was mainly aimed at, precisely, reducing e-waste, Apple’s intentions with this move are highly questionable.
While it might be a win-win situation for the planet and the company, Apple seems to ignore the fact that anyone who did not own an iPhone 11, does not have a USB-C wall charger lying around. Therefore, the majority of the users will have to buy a power adaptor from another seller, diminishing the whole motive against charger-less shipping. Perhaps, the only difference this move makes is the shifting of carbon footprint from Apple to another company.