Apple is undisputedly the biggest trendsetter in the smartphone industry. Despite ridicule from Android fans and brands, these controversial trends by Apple end up materializing and being adopted by these very brands. The latest in the series is the removal of a charger from the box of the iPhone 12 and future phones. Whether you believe that Apple is helping the environment or just exploring newer ways to collect more money from users, you will have to spend additional money to pay for chargers. While Apple’s major competitors like Samsung and Xiaomi dissed the idea initially, they are now following in its footsteps and have already announced their plans to sell charger-less Galaxy S21 and the Mi 11 series smartphones, respectively. So, should you have to pay extra for a charger that has been included in the box, and would you? Let’s discuss!
Apple was the first brand to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone as early as 2016. When this happened, the entire world chimed in to criticize the company. As the world’s largest smartphone maker, Samsung took personal responsibility and went on for the next three years with a series of commercials mocking the lack of headphone jack on iPhones. This continued until the launch of the Galaxy Note 10 series, which is when Samsung decided to take the plunge too — and secretly remove all of its ads from all official handles. You can still find some of them re-uploaded by users.
Similarly, when Apple announced its plan to remove the charger from the package, Samsung could not hold back from mocking Apple again — only to delete these jabs later. Xiaomi wasn’t also far behind taking digs at Apple. But, Xiaomi has an innovative — and less upsetting — solution to removing chargers from the box. Only for the first sale, the Chinese company is allowing users to choose between two packages — one with a charger and another without it — for the same price.
Naturally, other smartphone manufacturers are expected to follow suit and eventually sell smartphones without chargers in the box. Even as the step is being marketed as being in favor of reducing e-waste, The Verge quoted senior CFRA Research analyst, Angelo Zino, saying, “the bottom line has a lot to do with [this being a financial move].” Mr. Zino says Apple is trying to offset some of the increased expenditure due to 5G modems by removing components such as the charger and the wired EarPods from the box. With 5G being one of the primary reasons that make smartphones with the Snapdragon 865 much more expensive than their predecessors, other Android OEMs will most likely be joining in.
Irrespective of this banter between brands and their efforts to maximize profits, the cost of a new phone increases for the buyer as the cost of a separate charger adds on top of it. And then, some brands have superfast charging capabilities for their smartphones, achievable only through proprietary chargers, and you can expect to be charged a good premium for this fast charging over a standard charger, thereby hurting buyers even more. Although the popularity of Bluetooth made it easy to relinquish our dependence on 3.5mm headphone connectors, the same does not apply to wireless charging, so this move is going to hurt a lot more.
However nasty, the only way to ensure that you utilize the best charging speeds on your new smartphone is by paying extra for a new charger with your smartphone. But, should you have to do it? Will you do it? Specifications being equal, would you prefer a phone with an included charger over one without? Should companies charge differently for the two packages, or let the pricing be equal? Do you think removing the charger from the box is actually healthy for the environment or is all of it just marketing? Let us know in the comments below!