Every iPhone I've ever purchased, which has been more than a handful, has shipped with at least four things in the box: the iPhone, a pair of earbuds, a charging cord, and a wall charger. Over time, all four of those things have changed, and what I pulled out of the box of my iPhone 11 Pro looks very different from what came with my original iPhone.
Now, according to a report from the fairly reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple may be planning to remove half of those items from iPhone boxes later this year with the introduction of the iPhone 12. Kuo says those iPhones won't include earbuds or the wall charger.
Apple apparently plans to make the move to offset the additional cost associated with adding 5G. OK, but honestly, there are other perfectly good reasons not to ship 100 million more wall chargers, which is the number of 5G iPhones Apple is easily expected to sell over the next year. I mean, if anyone is lacking one, I have at least a dozen scattered around the house.
Which, by the way, brings up an interesting take over at The Verge by Dieter Bohn, who argues that it's a positive move for the amount of waste it will eliminate. It's a reasonable point when you think about the number of chargers that ship every year across all of the smartphones and other devices.
But it's probably the right move for other reasons. If I had to choose between another pair of lighting connector earbuds and 5G, I'll take the faster wireless antenna every time. I keep a pair of those earbuds somewhere in my backpack as an ultimate "just in case" backup, but honestly, I can't remember the last time I used them. They're probably still in the packaging from when I bought an iPhone eight years ago.
Sure, some customers will be irritated, and even angry, but at this point, earbuds and chargers are not necessary to use your phone. You can argue that it's just a play to get people to spend more on accessories. Fine, but there are plenty of third-party chargers that do just as good, if not better, than what Apple has been putting in little white boxes for the past 13 years.
The same is true for earbuds. Even if you're not interested in spending the money for a pair of AirPods, there are hundreds of reasonable Bluetooth options. And, if you insist on the wired version, the number of people who are buying an iPhone for the first time is pretty small at this point. Do you not remember where you put the pair you got last year?
It's already expected that Apple is trying hard to build an iPhone with no ports at all. I don't know if that's realistic or not, but I suspect it would go over much better if people have already made the transition to "bring your own accessories." After all, it worked with the Mac mini, which came with a power cord, and nothing else.
The idea was, you already had a keyboard, display, and mouse from the PC you were upgrading from. If you didn't, displays are pretty inexpensive--you can add a decent 27-inch monitor and still come in less than the price of an entry-level iMac.
In this case, I'd like to think that Apple's reasons are more than just maintaining profit margins, but if that's the case, I'm still OK with it. I don't need another wall charger or earbuds. It's definitely not worth getting angry over.
By the way, even if people do get angry, there's a lesson here. Sometimes you make changes that cause your customers to react negatively. That's OK. Your job is to meet their needs, and, ultimately, to solve their problems, even if they don't understand at first.
In this case, absolutely no one has an "I need more wall chargers" problem.