There’s a pretty pervasive rumor floating around that when Apple releases their next edition of the iPhone, they’ll be doing away with some pretty interesting features. Features that have become, over the last 12 years, staples for anyone opening their matte white box on “new phone day.” So, what can you expect to do without in the next iteration? Earbuds and charging cables.
We hear you. You’re confused.
Apple has been prepping us for this shift for some time now with the introduction of AirPods and wireless charging stations. There have been rumors that the next iteration will also be completely lacking a port to plug-in to. This could all be a good move on Apple’s part, certainly for their bottom line but also for the environment in respect to how much electronic waste is generated, so hear us our.
First, not giving away free equipment means users will have to purchase it separately. It’s doubtful that Apple will be dropping the price of their new phones at all to accommodate for a lack of EarBuds and chargers, and we all know that a new, Apple certified charger is quite pricey. And if they’re planning to do away with the port all together that means everyone will now need to head out and purchase a wireless charging station and AirPods if they haven’t already. Ca-Ching indeed, Apple.
Second, and most notable to us, is that this change will dramatically decrease the e-waste caused by these products. Every year many tons of electronic waste wind up in landfills, and that includes EarBuds and the notoriously flimsy Apple chargers. (It also includes the cheap replacement chargers that you inevitably purchase to have lots of spares lying around until you realize they don’t work well, if at all, and have to toss anyway.) With 1.5 billion-with-a-b iPhones shipping last year that means there were 1.5 billion chargers and EarBuds sent into the world that generated an estimated 300,000 tons of waste.
Now, there’s also a push for Apple to adopt the USB-C charger, which nearly every other smartphone on the market – and many of other electronics – use. So far Apple has resisted this because, as discussed, they make money requiring people to use Apple chargers. But if they move to USB-C it once again dramatically reduces e-waste because, theoretically, every electronic in a home would be able to charge from the same cable that you could purchase anywhere. Yes, initially we might see an uptick in waste as people purge their now-useless iPhone accessories, but in future there would be a significantly decreased amount of waste coming directly from Apple iPhones.