The iPhone 12 has been officially announced and looks pretty neat. While we got to know all of the specs of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, there was also a quiet update on what you get in your new phone’s box. When you open your new iPhone, you will find some things are missing. While you have a charging cable, there is no “charging brick” (plug) for the wall. In addition, Apple no longer supplies headphones that are suitable for iPhones. So what’s the logic behind this decision and what’s the problem with it?
What’s in the iPhone 12 box?
When you open your new iPhone 12 phone, you will get these items:
- Your new iPhone 12 with iOS 14
- a charging cable for the USB-C to Lightning connector
What is more important here is what is no longer in the box. You no longer get the power plug needed to charge your phone or Lightning headphones if you don’t have wireless headphones.
What has really been scrutinized is the fact that all Apple products now ship this way. By that I mean, even if you buy an old iPhone 11 now, your new phone will only come with the USB-C to Lightning cable in the box and no wired EarPods.
What does Apple Charging Stones and Headphones Remove?
Apple claims that as part of their environmental commitments, they are no longer providing these items in the boxes of new phones. The Apple website states, “As part of our efforts to meet our environmental goals, the iPhone 11 no longer includes a power adapter or EarPods. Please use your existing Apple power adapter and headphones, or purchase these accessories separately. ”
It’s a really noble thing. I remember going to an anchor launch in New York a few years ago where they were promoting this concept, citing the enormous waste caused by shipping phones with chargers.
When I allow myself to step into a world of speculation for a moment. I can’t imagine a world where there wasn’t a conversation in Cupertino about this move, which also saved Apple an absolute fortune. Do I think that was the main motivator? I do not know that. Maybe Apple is really just out to help the environment, but I know this has two massive implications.
Reduced charger safety
If you do something almost every day, the potential danger can easily go unnoticed. That absolutely happens with phone chargers. We trust a piece of technology has been designed and tested to do a seemingly simple job safely. A few years ago, Samsung had to recall the Galaxy Note 7 due to the risk of fire. A popular Irish product called Firemole flew off the shelves because it addressed the reality of cheap chargers catching fire.
Charging phones can be deadly dangerous, but that risk skyrockets when you buy a fake charger. Apple’s decision to no longer provide a charging brick or plug to charge your phone greatly increases the likelihood that customers will buy the cheapest brick they can find.
Apple’s website says you can use your existing iPhone charger or buy a new one, but there’s a really important note here. The new USB-C to Lightning charger is very new. This is the first time Apple has shipped this out by default. They have effectively flooded the market with older USB chargers and switched to USB-C without ever making it available to customers.
All of this leads to a scenario where there is a high risk of fire because people bought an inferior charger.
How to buy a safe iPhone charger
Given the increase in fires caused by cheap phone chargers, the Dublin Fire Brigade made a plea asking people to only use chargers with the EC mark, which means the charger has gone through a rigorous testing process. They also recommend looking out for “red flags” such as misspellings on the charger and not using damaged accessories.
Apple has never provided USB-C chargers before
I’ve already addressed this above, but the other massive impact here is that Apple has never provided chargers for USB-C ports before. You packed the idea of USB-C as an environmental and performance benefit. Power in the form of 20 W fast charge. Older iPhone chargers that came with the phone were usually 5W chargers and you would need to buy faster chargers.
While Apple is playing this as an environmental and performance story, we really have to wonder whether or not it does. If you’ve never had an iPhone before, chances are there aren’t many Lightning chargers lying around around your home. This means you have to buy one. The only winner in this scenario is Apple, unless the price of that accessory is specifically removed from the retail price you paid. If you’ve had an iPhone in the past, your new USB-C cable will be of no use because the connector on the charging brick is different. This charger only allows you to quickly charge 5W, not 20W.
Apple ignores the USB-C standard
Finally, I would like to compliment Apple on its efforts to reduce the waste associated with selling smartphones. But I will also limit that with healthy skepticism. Technology makers have been asked to introduce a unified charging standard, with an EU vote being one of the driving forces behind Apple’s move to USB-C technology. That sorts the connector part, but the cable still has Apple’s own Lightning connector.
Apple has resisted this change for years, despite the fact that almost every other personal smart device on the planet, including Apple’s MacBook range, has switched to a USB-C standard.
Will this move benefit the planet? It’s really hard to know because people still have to buy chargers. Will this benefit Apple financially? Pretty sure.
Frequently asked questions about charging Apple
When you buy a new iPhone, Apple no longer includes wired headphones or charging cradles. This means that you get your new iPhone with iOS 14, a charging cable for USB-C to Lightning ports, and documentation. This applies to all iPhones including older models.
Old iPhone chargers use USB-A for Lightning and allow you to charge your iPhone at 5W. It’s pretty slow. New charging cables are USB-C to Lightning and with these you can charge your phone with 20 W fast charge.
All iPhones now require a USB-C charging brick, unless you have older charging accessories. You can buy these from a number of retailers including Apple. You don’t need to buy an official Apple charger, but it is very important that you buy a tested charger with the EC mark to indicate that it has been tested. Another popular brand that offers USB-C charging stones is Anker.
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