Evidence mounts that the iPhone 12 will be launched in September without the inclusion of wired EarPods or a USB power charging unit in the box.
Since the very first iPhone we have become used to receiving a set of EarPods and a power charger in the box, but this is expected to change with the iPhone 12, as the accessories are ditched to help recoup the cost of adding 5G components.
The report originated with Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities in Taiwan, who is often referred to as the 'most accurate Apple analyst in the world'.
In recent days the rumour has gained momentum with a leaked packaging design, and also due to a "wall charger survey" being carried out by Apple itself.
Packaging leak seems to confirm rumour
Kuo's tip-off seems to have been substantiated by another leak this week - of an image purporting to be the packaging for the iPhone 12.
The source of the leak is not as credible as Kuo, coming from Concepts iPhone, who say the image is from a “really reliable source.”
The packaging appears to show the iPhone 12 will include a Lightning to USB-C cable wrapped up in the box, with a smaller cutout for the iPhone booklet and Apple stickers. The iPhone itself would presumably rest on top just like it has in the past.
Apple surveying consumers about wall chargers
Further bolstering the credibility of the rumour is Apple deciding to coincidentally undertake a global survey of how iPhone owners are using their old power charging units.
Targeting users who have recently purchased an upgraded iPhone, Apple is asking what they did with the USB charger from their past iPhone. Apple is at pains in the survey to explain it is only referring to the USB power adapter and not to the Lightning cable.The survey includes a multi-choice list for what consumers might have done with their iPhone chargers, including:
- I sold or traded it with my iPhone
- I lost it
- I gave it to a family member or friend
- I still use it at home
- I still use it outside (at work, school, or other places)
- I still have it, but I don’t use it
Offsets the cost of 5G
It is believed that Apple wants to release the iPhone 12 at a similar price point to the iPhone 11, and the removal of the accessories are a means of stripping out costs, to allow them to do so.
Kuo said the removal of the free earbuds and the power charger will help to offset the additional costs of moving to 5G compatibility, including a new built-in mmWave antenna.
Ticks e-waste reduction box
In a benefit sure to be highlighted by Apple, the removal of both accessories - but particularly the power charger - will also be a bonus for the environment in terms of reducing e-waste.
The loss of the accessories will also lighten and reduce in size the iPhone packaging which will reduce shipping costs.
Wireless AirPods promotion expected
Finally, from a commercial perspective, Apple will be hoping the removal of the free EarPods, will result in an uptick in purchase for the extremely popular wireless AirPods.
Analysts have said a major promotion of the popular wireless AirPods is expected in the second half of 2020 and the AirPods may even be discounted when bundled with the iPhone 12 in a single purchase.
Cost of missing accessories is A$58
The loss of the wired EarPods and the USB charger will cost an Australian iPhone user $58 should they choose to replace these items by purchasing them from the Apple store.
First ever iPhone without earphones
If the rumours are true, the iPhone 12 will be the first ever iPhone to ship without earphones. The first iPhone in 2007 included earphones with a 35mm jack connector, and this continued through to the iPhone 6 series of devices.
Initially it made sense for Apple to include earphones because in large part the iPhone was pitched as a natural extension of the iPod – a music player that also made phone calls.
When the iPhone 7 launched in 2016, Apple removed the headphone jack to improve water resistance and make space for other components. Ever since, Apple has included earpods with lightning jacks and also included a dongle to connect headphones with the standard 3.5mm jack.
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