iPhone 12 will reportedly be sold without earbuds or power adapter

29 Jun 2020

A newly unboxed iPhone 11. Image: © eremin/Stock.adobe.com

Analysts have said that Apple may stop providing free earbuds and power adapters with its new smartphones.

According to Apple-focused news sites 9to5Mac and MacRumors, the upcoming iPhone 12 is set to come with fewer accessories than previous iterations of the smartphone.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said that Apple may drop its wired earbuds from being included with the iPhone 12, but has now also suggested that the company will begin selling its power adapter separately too.

Analysts at Barclays have also outlined their expectations after discussions with Apple suppliers and, in a note seen by MacRumors, said that the accessories will be left out of the iPhone 12 box.

The reasoning for this, Kuo said, is that Apple wants to offset the cost of 5G networking components to keep the upcoming model of the iPhone at a similar price to the iPhone 11, which was released in late 2019.

Another reason, according to 9to5Mac, is that it will reduce the size of the iPhone’s packaging “considerably” to help lower the company’s freight costs and reduce the environmental impact of shipping millions of iPhones.

Sold separately

Earlier this month, there were rumours that Apple’s iPhone 12 will come with a new 20W USB-C charging adapter.

The European Parliament previously said that it wants binding rules on common chargers to be tabled by July 2020, with the goal of reducing electronic waste and ensuring that consumers don’t need to buy a new charger for each new device. However, Apple argued that the introduction of a universal charging port would lead to “unprecedented” e-waste.

Alleged photos of a prototype of Apple’s 20W power adapter were shared on Twitter last week. Kuo claimed that these photos were legitimate but added that the adapter will not come with the iPhone 12. Instead, customers will be provided with the option to purchase it separately.

Apple blogger and iOS developer Benjamin Mayo tweeted that this could have a costly impact on consumers. To add an 18W USB-C power adapter and a set of earbuds to a shopping cart on the online Apple Store currently costs consumers an additional $63, which is nearly 10pc of the cost of a 64GB iPhone 11.

While this could be the first time that Apple is selling core accessories separately to the iPhone, the company previously released the Series 3 Apple Watch with a magnetic charging cable in the box but no power adapter.

9to5Mac also suggested that the removal of in-box earbuds could be a way for Apple to sell more AirPods, which retail for between €179 and €279 directly from Apple.

According to Kuo, the company plans to continue including a power adapter with upcoming iPad models, with a 10.8-inch iPad reportedly set for release later this year and an 8.5-inch iPad mini to follow in 2021.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic