Report: Upcoming iPhone 12 might be sold without a charger and EarPods

When it comes to chargers, Apple is often criticised for bundling a slow 5W power adapter for the iPhone. Despite fast-charging being supported since the iPhone X and iPhone 8, the Cupertino had only started bundling 18W USB-PD fast chargers out of the box on the latest iPhone 11 Pro series. For the iPhone 12, it appears that Apple could be making a courageous step by not including a charger at all. It is also reported that even the EarPods won’t be included.

The report about the exclusion of the charger and EarPods came from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been known for providing reliable insights on Apple’s upcoming developments. Analysts from Barclays have also shared the same expectations for the new iPhone model.

The move can be easily seen as a cost-cutting measure not just in terms of the accessories but also when it comes to shipping. By removing the charger and headphones, the new iPhone packaging could be smaller which helps to reduce Apple’s freight costs. In addition, it could also help Apple’s sustainability initiatives to cut down unnecessary waste considering most people can still reuse existing chargers that can last for an extended period of time.

It isn’t clear if Apple would still bundle a charging cable but we reckon that a USB-C to lightning cable should still be provided for new iPhones. At the moment, Apple is selling its 18W USB-C charger for RM149 while the USB-C to lightning cable (1 metre) costs RM89. Of course, there are cheaper options in the market that are also MFI (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) certified.

Interestingly, it is speculated that Apple will also introduce a new 20W charger that pushes a higher power output than its current bundled 18W charger for the iPhone 11 Pro and iPad Pro 2020. From the image above, the charging brick still supports USB Power Delivery standard with an output of either 5V 3A or 9V 2.22A. This new charger could be indication that the iPhone 12 might support a slightly faster 20W charging.

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The move to exclude headphones could be seen as a drive to get consumers to go wireless. However, for those who still prefer wired headphones, they can reuse their existing Apple EarPods or buy a new one from an Apple retailer. The Apple wired EarPods with lightning connector is currently going for RM129.

For those who prefer to plug-in their own headphones with a 3.5mm head, do note that Apple has stopped bundling the 3.5mm adapter since the iPhone XS. If you need that, it is currently sold separately for RM49.

Overall, I think the move is a good one to reduce the amount of waste generated by every new product. With more devices shifting to USB-C as standard, the chargers should be getting more common in most households. Some would have better USB-C chargers that can charge multiple devices at the same time or opt for wireless charging. However, we don’t expect a drastic drop in pricing for Apple products with the exclusion of the accessories.

Xiaomi has considered ditching its chargers

It is worth pointing out that Xiaomi is one of the first smartphone makers that doesn’t include headphones for its new phones. Not only this is seen as an effort to reduce cost, but it allows consumers to choose from its wide variety of affordable headphones that are sold separately. About 5 years ago, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun had considered removing the charger in future smartphones to reduce its impact on the environment.

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However, Xiaomi has continued to offer include chargers until today and most recently, they have bundled power bricks that push higher output than its devices require. For example, the Redmi Note 9 Pro supports 30W fast charging but they included a 33w charger while the latest Xiaomi Mi 10 flagship which supports 50W fast charging is bundled with a higher 65W charger.


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Alexander Wong