The recently launched iPhone 12 lineup with a refreshed design, 5G, and a more durable screen. What it didn’t come with is a charger in the box. Apple has decided to separately sell the power adapter as an accessory for $19.
The company is under fire from fans, with memes lighting up the internet, but there’s another side to the story too. Here, we’ll talk in detail about the iPhone 12 charger sold separately, and what it means for Apple and for you.
The Charger E-Waste Menace
If you buy the new iPhone 12 series, the box will come with just the iPhone, a USB Type-C to Lightning cable, a sim tool, and minimal paperwork. The box itself is smaller in size, and Apple says the reduced size means it can ship 70% more devices on a single pellet.
Apple says that the move is to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and that it aims to become carbon neutral by 2030. Before we start on what a blunder it is on Apple’s account to exclude chargers, let’s look at some facts. According to a European Parliament report from 2014, smartphone chargers are responsible for 51,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. While that number might be different now, it gives us an idea of where we are heading
Another report suggests that 3,50,000 phones are discarded globally every day, which adds up to 152 million phones in a year. Do all those phones come with chargers? Probably Yes. Then are all those chargers waste now? Yes again. If I look around my house, I can find working chargers of phones as old as my first Nokia 6600. It’s common for people to discard the devices while the chargers are lying around.
Apple’s own estimates count 2 billion iPhone chargers on the planet, but there are several catches to that statement. There may be 2 billion iPhone chargers out there, but we have no idea how many of those support fast charging, a feature that’s complimentary to having a new iPhone. Apple also says nothing about the number of power adapters with a USB-C port. So the 2 billion chargers include older, slower ones too.
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iPhone 12 Charger Removal: Great Bad Timing!
It’s clear that we do have multiple chargers, or let me say it better, multiple useless chargers among us. Apple’s move of removing a charger from the box is good but ill-timed. The cable that comes with the iPhone 12 is a Type-C to lightning cable, but only iPhone 11 Pro users would have an Apple Type-C adapter.
There’s also no word on the wastage Apple is going to create by separately packaging the chargers. Unless Apple is going to ship chargers without packaging, there’s no chance they can save the extra materials that’ll go in the manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of all the new chargers.
Well, you can use any other Type-C adapters, but the majority of wall adapters that shipped with Android, as well as iOS devices, are USB Type-A. Encapsulating the whole deal, most of the users will have to buy a new charger for the iPhone 12. Period. Apple stepped up the game again here, giving the MagSafe alternative.
What might be bad timing for users is a marketing opportunity for Apple. The company knows that you’ll need a Type-C power adapter and it knows you’ll need the 20-watt one. It also knows that you’d go for a third-party adapter. So what Apple did is make that exact product and MagSafe to accompany it.
Apple Trends And The MagSafe
There’s one thing that we can undeniably say about Apple. It sets trends. Apple was the first to go with the idea of removing the headphone jack, adding a notch to the display, and now removing the charger. In terms of software too, Apple came up with facial recognition.
When you talk about these features that are now a trend in the industry, charger removal seems like a move that companies may follow in the near future. In fact, there are reports already that Samsung may ditch the charger in their next S-series flagship.
Coming to MagSafe, it is the latest trend that Apple has come up with. While the company introduced a MagSafe charger, cases, and a wallet that sticks to the back of the iPhone 12, third-party manufacturers may do far more than that. It’s the latest Apple gig, but there are certain things you need to be careful about.
First, you’ll have to have to buy a MagSafe leather wallet if you want to carry credit cards in the same pocket as your iPhone. It is so because your cards are shielded from the iPhone’s magnets when it’s in the wallet. Secondly, if we talk about environmental viability, wireless chargers waste a lot of energy. A recent report stated that wireless charging consumes as much as 47% more energy.
It’s amply clear that Apple can get you to buy MagSafe only if traditional chargers are out of the equation. So the company has done exactly that but given some choice to the users by including a charging cable in the box. So you can either for the traditional power adapter or choose MagSafe.
Right And Wrong
Before you think it’s unethical, it’s absolutely okay to do what Apple has done, but the company is treading on thin ice. Removal of a charger makes sense for a bigger picture, good. However, Apple is showing signs of introducing an entirely wireless iPhone lineup.
The company first introduced AirPods with a wireless case and then got rid of the Apple Watch charging port. Finally, the removal of the wall adapter from the iPhone 12 packaging sends out a clear message from Apple. Wireless charging is still far from perfect, and it might be some time before Apple switches to an entirely cable-free ecosystem, but the company is banking on a wireless future.