If you are thinking of buying a new device from Apple (Apple Watch, iPhone), you will be sad to hear that you will not be getting an included charging adapter or earpods along with your purchase. Apple says the reason behind the change is that they are taking an environmental stance and cutting down on “e-waste” as much as they can.
During their iPad and Apple Watch event in September, Apple decided to remove the 5W charger from the (relatively) lower priced Apple Watches, quoting an increase in e-waste (5W chargers are still included in the luxury “Hermes” models).
Following this, during the iPhone event in October, they announced that they will be removing adapters and earpods from the new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models as well, due to “environmental concerns.”
Apple has mentioned that their “plan is to have a net zero climate impact by 2030.”
This means “that every device sold from material collection, component manufacturing, assembly, transport, customer use, charging and all the way through material recovery will be 100% carbon neutral,” said Lisa Jackson (VP, Environmental Policy and Social Initiative) during the keynote.
In recent years Apple has transitioned to devices with environmental “features” such as Arsenic free display glass, no Mercury and Beryllium containing devices, and using renewable and recyclable materials.
Jackson mentioned that Apple customers “have over 700 million lightning earpods and over 2 billion power adapters, not including 3rd party [hardware].”
Due to the high number of these items in the world, Apple has decided to remove them from their boxes and is pushing customers to use their old adapters and earpods. The decision was met with mixed emotions, with customers being upset over the change and other companies taking the opportunities to take hits at the announcement.
Samsung decided to push out an advertisement for their Galaxy series that trolled Apple for not including a charger.
Now the problem with the 5W (cube) adapters is that they are not compatible with the USB-C to lightning cables included in the new boxes. With Apple removing the adapter, they are creating an even bigger issue because only starting in last year’s iPhone 11 pro models did Apple include a faster 20W charger with a USB-C port. Which, in simple terms, means that the cube power adapter will not work with this year’s charging cable. This will now force customers to buy a separate 20W charger (an extra $25 on top on the $1399 phone).
As mentioned by Jackson, the reason behind the removal is a reduction in carbon emissions and avoiding mining and use of precious materials. But this doesn’t consider the millions of separate fast chargers that will need to be sold with the new iPhones.
So, is this really the right idea of decreasing carbon emissions or is Apple just saving costs? Will the future of tech look different in trying to consider sustainability, or is this just another cash grab?