Rumors abound last June about Apple ditching the charger (and even EarPods) starting with the upcoming iPhone 12. Not long after, Samsung was also reported to be following suit by 2021. Why are smartphone manufacturers suddenly considering the exclusion of chargers from phones out of the box? Here are 6 possible reasons why.
Help the environment
Many people have still-functioning old chargers when they upgrade to a newer phone. Although the charging cable wears down and gets loose relatively faster, the charging bricks are sturdy enough that they can continue working and providing juice to devices for many years before they go kaput. Some of these bricks just gather dust in homes, but some end up in landfills and contribute to the ever-increasing global e-waste.
To remedy this rising waste problem, many tech companies are considering achieving zero waste by 2030 or earlier as part of their renewed focus on sustainability and environmental initiative. Shipping phones without a charger in the box is a good starting point.
Make the packaging smaller to cut costs
Without a charger, there’s only the product manual, other paperwork, and the phone itself to place inside the packaging. That should significantly reduce the size of the packaging, which means a manufacturer can ship more phones and subsequently save on cost per unit per freight. This also lowers freight emissions, another step towards helping the environment.
Reduce prices and earn more profit
With reduced costs from shipment, packaging and material, a manufacturer can pass on the savings to the customer by reducing the retail prices. A lower price is more attractive to prospective customers, leading to increased sales. It’s naturally a win for the phone maker.
Or maybe it’s not reducing the price so much as setting the price higher to milk loyal customers further and get more profit. Phone makers already pack their flagships with the latest yet arguably unnecessary hardware and bloated software just so they can justify the high-end prices. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they’ll have an excuse to price the charger separately instead of bundling it for free.
Let the customers decide
A phone without a bundled charger encourages the user to look at add-ons and accessories and then choose what’s best for him. Some users are maybe tired of having to plug a wire into their phone every time it has run out of battery, so a wireless charging dock seems like the more convenient choice.
Other users prefer buying a cheaper third-party charger. Despite what some people believe, third-party chargers are perfectly fine for smartphones (assuming it is a high-quality product). Choosing third-party even provides more choice. You can, for instance, get a charger with more wattage or one that has a detachable adapter so it can be used on different ports like USB-A, USB-C and Apple’s numerous proprietary ports.
Follow the leader
There’s no doubt Apple holds significant influence in the smartphone industry. If the company ultimately decides to remove the bundled charge for its future iPhones, Samsung and other phone makers will most likely make a similar decision. It’s already happened before with the removal of the speaker jack that began with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Simply put, if Apple starts a trend of shipping flagship phones without a charger, the competitors may follow suit.
Embrace newer technology
It’s quite possible we might see the first-ever port-less consumer phone in this decade—nothing to plug into, only wireless transmissions for both data and power. It’s only a matter of time when we finally have a commercially available wireless charging technology that’s just as fast as wired charging and costs just the same.
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