Charging for Charge: The New Extra Cost for Apple Customers

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After months of rumours waiting for new Apple products, apple’s virtual event on thet 13th October introduced us to the latest iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and the HomePod mini. These devices become the first phones of the company to have 5G speed, which allows better performance. This is a huge leap for the company’s technology and certainly very good news for consumers who want the most from their iPhone. One of the situations that most attracted attention among consumers is that, despite the launch delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the four mobile phones were released without a charger. The mockery was immediate, companies like Xiaomi have responded to this Apple measure: “Don’t worry, we didn’t leave anything out of the box with the #Mi10TPro”. The post is accompanied by a video in which they open the box of their new device, which includes the charger. 

               Tim Cook, the chief executive officer of Apple, explained the reason why the box includes neither a phone charger nor EarPods. The company has been including a small section in its product presentations for several years to talk about its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to improving the planet, this was precisely the moment in which they explained the decision. Apple made it clear with its speech that people already usually have headphones and a charger for their mobile device, or have even switched to wireless headphones, so they do not use the ones that come in the box, so they have decided to “eliminate ” these elements. According to a study, this has allowed to store up to 70% more boxes on the same pallet, which reduces carbon emissions also in its logistics and distribution platform.

The measure seems plausible, but there is another way to analyse it. At the end of the day, it is nothing more than a new marketing strategy, Apple creates a problem and then sells you the solution for £40 or £50 more. There is a lot to criticise, the box contains the mobile and its paper documentation, which I would bet that nobody reads and whose inclusion is not very helpful for the environment either.

The decision has come with a significant disadvantage. The iPhone 12 will keep Lightning, an exclusive Apple cable. While most people have a USB-C cable at home, which is the one used by Android mobiles, the company will force users who want to go from an Android mobile to an iOS one to spend much more money.

Even though Apple’s idea is to commit to the environment, it has not taken into account many factors. There are many countries in which there are no official Apple stores, due to this, the prices increase since it is not a product that you can access easily without paying international shipping fees or the extra-price that the seller wants to charge. Not to mention the cost and waste of box packaging for both chargers and headphones, which will now be sold separately.

The decision will have important consequences for students who, today, practically work mostly with mobile phones, even more so if we take into account the pandemic, where almost all of our lives take place online. Not only will we have to pay for the charger and the headphones, which, between the price of the cable, the charger, and the headphones are close to £50, but also the price of the mobile phone has not dropped its price despite removing much of the accessories. The question now is, what will other manufacturers do? Will all Android phones end up using the same arguments and not including the charger in the box? You bet.

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Dani Sanz

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