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iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, Power Adapter Sold Separately (macrumors.com)
50 points by Corrado 4 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 75 comments

Makes sense! Many consumers likely already have a USB-C charger, so splitting it up gives people flexibility.

I will be interested to see how they communicate this to prevent first time iPhone users being left without a charging cable/power brick.

>Makes sense! Many consumers likely already have a USB-C charger

I am willing to bet money the overwhelming majority consumer dont have USB-C chargers, only USB-A.

Yes, I think so too. And i think there are even different standarts for charging.

But maybe Apple consumers will? I have a number of USB-C cables. Anyway, I agree that reducing waste is good, but this move isn’t about waste. If Apple cared about waste, they’d come up with some way of keeping old devices out of landfills.

>But maybe Apple consumers will?

I dont think that is likely. Outside of tech circle, most have never even touched a USB-C Cable. Especially those only uses iPhone, and not iPad or Mac. There are 1 Billion iPhone users, and only 100M Mac users ( And not every Mac users has a USB-C Mac ).

Not saying it is a bad thing. Most would already have a USB-A to Lightning Cable along with Charger so this doesn't matter. USB4 will be USB-C only anyway, but the move is certainly unApple as they tend to plan this in the very long run. Like including a USB-C 5W Charger for a few years before completely dropping it.

They have. Trade in programs, recycling drop offs at their store, refurbishment programs, robots that take the phones apart for reuse (https://www.cnet.com/news/how-apples-daisy-iphone-recycling-...). Imperfect, but approached from many sides.

>Many consumers likely already have a USB-C charger, so splitting it up gives people flexibility.

Only if the charger price is deduced from the phone’s price or you can opt in to get one for free if you need it. Otherwise it’s very obviously screwing up consumers to optimize earnings once again.

Not just flexibility, but a reasonable reduction in e-waste.

I would have agreed if you had said Micro-USB. I own tens of those with no USB-C charger in sight.

Hopefully you don't have micro-USB chargers, but USB chargers and micro-usb cables.

I don't use Apple products, but reducing waste like this is great. Most people should have buckets of chargers by now, and even if they lack the cable, it's better to buy when needed.

Probably, but that doesn't work so well for USB-C - you really need it end to end in order to get the best charging performance, and the rumour is that Apple will only include a USB-C to Lightning cable with no standard USB equivalent. Also, Apple's official cables cost about as much as a charger on their own last time I checked, and they've done quite a lot of work to lock out unofficial ones.

> you really need it end to end in order to get the best charging performance,

For reference, most USB-C phones currently ship with USB-A chargers, just like Apple didn't ship the iPad with the big USB-C charger when it was released.

But, the point is that you don't need that many wallwarts, and they're wasteful. When your laptop, game console and whatever all use the same power supply, you end up only needing one or two.

> and they've done quite a lot of work to lock out unofficial ones.

Apple is fully complaint and interoperable in their current offerings (I recall HP locked out foreign chargers, but I hope they stopped that).

My wife's MacBook Pro is fully compatible with my Nintendo Switch[1], Dell, CalDigit and other USB-PD chargers and type-C cables, just like my Android phone, Dell XPS 13, Nintendo Switch[1], and more can charge from her chargers and cables.

Compare that to a few years ago where all these products had proprietary chargers...[2]


1: No, the Nintendo Switch and PSU is not dangerous, and work fine with all USB-PD devices. The problem is when the dock is in play, where everything goes whack, and third-party docks can cause issues there.

2. The "oh no, cables and ports are all different" isn't a problem, despite what HN/reddit wants you to believe. Super cheap, super thin USB-C cables aren't rated for TB3/100W charge, but that's a surprise to no one. Plug anything into a decently rated power supply and cable, and it'll just work.

[With regards to waste;] 3rd party chargers have been ridiculously unreliable with the lightning connector. No idea what is so hard to get right, but I've never had a ~$10 cable last more than a year, sometimes just a couple months or a week.

I'm not particularly rough with them, just plug them in a couple times a day at my desk or bed.

Sometimes my girlfriend's iPhone uses my charger as well, which can seem to expedite their failure. We have one which chargers hers fine, but only mine when plugged in a specific side up.

A lot of the time when people have trouble with charging cables, it's caused by pocket lint in the phone's charging port, so maybe try that? I use a bent paperclip, but I'm sure there are more gentle ways.

Couldn't a paperclip potentially short the "pins"?

Maybe, but there’s nothing to short without a cable plugged in afaik? I don’t think the voltage lines are powered in the idle state. I’ve never had a problem at least.

My wife has gone through so god damn many of those cables. They all end up corroding.

Finally got her a Qi charger, as her iPhone 10 supports it. Solves part of the issue.

> Hopefully you don't have micro-USB chargers, but USB chargers and micro-usb cables.

Yes, I should have clarified that. I don't have any USB-C cables either, for that matter. My chargers only put out 18 W at the most, so things like PD (Power Delivery) wouldn't work anyway.

True, but at least we finally have a single spec for charging instead of the madness of proprietary things we had before...

It's really nice to just have one PD charger in my bag for everything.

And many consumers already have headphones, cases, old screens lying around, why not charge full price for an empty box and allow you build your own iPhone from parts ordered separately. Fans will be more than thrilled.

Most Apple customers have USB-A chargers, and the phone side is Lightning, not USB, so lack of USB-C is irrelevant.

> Many consumers likely already have a USB-C charger, so splitting it up gives people flexibility.

Sure, but if they do have a USB C charger, is it the right voltage?

Voltage is standardized

I know with regular USB C (not USB C to lightning), it's definitely not standardized - some chargers output 5V, some 20V, some 45V.

Are you saying lightning changes this?

USB PD involves negotiation -- the charger doesn't just "push" 20V to a device that isn't asking for it.

Exactly. So: non-tech aware customer has a 5v USB 3 charger, buys an iPhone 12, and wonder why it charges 10x slower than their friend's new phone.

I suppose that if you’re upgrading to iPhone and already have one it is a waste to give you yet another charger. I wonder how much energy is used creating these cables that often go straight in a drawer because the previous cable is already conveniently plugged into the wall.

I personally find uses for these extra chargers, I would never give one away; and USB-C chargers are especially rare in my house.

Allow me to personally offer to take any off the hands of anyone who feels they have too many.

Yeah in theory it's a defensible move, because we're moving towards standardized charging ports. However, Apple is the only one that's being weird about it, introducing the Lightning connector instead of e.g. switching to micro-USB. USB-C was still a while out when Lightning was introduced.

But honestly they have no excuse to not adopt Micro-USB or USB-C.

As an iPhone owner, I don’t want USB-C. Not yet, anyway. The reason is that I don’t know how to be confident that a particular cable and power source will charge my phone well and won’t fry it.

I expect Apple knows its customers would like to have confidence about this and that’s why they are holding off.

With Lightning, I have been happy enough to plug into various non-Apple-brand chargers with USB-A sockets. Maybe charging might not be as fast as with an official charger. But it will likely work and I don’t expect the possibility of damage.

I don't think the explanation "Apple fears USB C/USB PD will fry devices" fits the facts.

For one thing, this article claims Apple will ship a Lightning to USB-C cable - so the phone will need to accept whatever voltages that come out of USB C chargers anyway.

Second, Apple have adopted USB C on the Macbook - which would make no sense if they were scared of USB C frying devices. And they didn't go in cautiously on the macbook: They were one of the earliest adopters, and they dropped magsafe and USB A as they did it.

So I'm with Cthulhu_ - I don't see any good reason for Apple to stick with Lightning, except licensing fees.

Not sure why you are downvoted. We have covered enough problems with USB-C and people are still crying for it.

Millions of non-Apple phone users have been doing fine for the past few years. Also by your logic, Apple would care about the potential damage to the iPhones and iPads but not about the iPad Pro and the entire laptop lineup?

Lighting is way better than micro-USB, and somewhat better than even USB-C, which, as you correctly mentioned, was released years after its debut.

So that’s their “excuse”, and I’m glad for it every time I have to interact with a micro-USB cable.

And what would these benefits of lightning vs USB C be, aside from being endorsed and embedded in the Apple ecosystem?

At this point not that much. It’s slightly smaller, and most iPhone users already have a pile of lightning cables. It’s also nice to be able to charge your low-end iPad / Airpods / Apple mice and keyboards from the same cable. Historically there were a load of speaker docks that had a fixed lightning plug, but that’s mostly a dead market segment at this point.

I note how you didn’t ask about micro-USB, because you know it to be inferior.

Well, first of all, lighting predates usb-c by a few years, so it’s an advantage that we thankfully haven’t had to endure micro-USB in that time.

Then, lightning is a male connector which makes it more robust, compared to the female connector in USB-C. I’ve had multiple USB-C cables break when inserted a bit too aggressively, which has not ever happened in my years of using lightning.

There just isn’t a “wrong way to hold” the lightning connector, which isn’t quite the case with USB-C, in my experience.

Well... I have an iPhone7 with an unreliable worn-out Lightning port sitting next to me, so I can kind of see the value in having the cable wear out rather than the socket in the phone...

Try cleaning it. I’ve had dust accumulate in a lightning port making it unreliable. I thought the port had failed for the longest time but it was just dust.

And I don’t think lightning cables wearing out has anything to do with the standard and everything to do with Apples poor lightning cables.

I also can’t see how people think USBC is more robust. There is a tiny little wafer in the port... I get nervous just looking at it. At least with a lightning port it’s large enough to get something in there and clean it out. USBC just looks so delicate.

You’ve put it into words way better than I have.

God forbid people acknowledge Apple’s proprietary design is better...

Astute observation. Yes, I'm asking you to explain why the 2012 connector is better than the 2014 one, because that's the one I have doubts about, as opposed to the obsolete 2007 one.

Would you rather break a $10 cable or a $800 phone? I'd much rather the cable, though you seem to have different priorities to me.

The last point is referring to the cable tip? That's more to do with individual cable design than anything else.

So, it's not really better in any way, except for being on Apple devices, gotcha.

I have the opposite problem. None of my USB-C cables ever seem to break, whereas a whole bunch of lightning cables of ours have broke, either fully or partially (partially being when one side works because of pressure or something).

My lightning cables break at least twice a year, and my iPhone 6S has a worn-out port - worst of both worlds. :(

USB-C has the spring contacts inside the easily replaced cable, whereas lightning has the spring contacts inside the not-so-easily fixed phone.

So all else equal, USB-C is objectively the better design.

> But honestly they have no excuse to not adopt Micro-USB or USB-C.

The only reason for usb-c on my phone is the convenience factor. Otherwise I find lightening superior in every other way. And micro-usb, you have to be kidding.

Lightning is symmetric, Micro USB is not.

Lightning is smaller than USB-C.

Also from experience Lightning is a hell of a lot more robust than both.

I've witnessed at least 4 original Apple Lightining cables working with a device and not working with another one.

My biggest issue with Lightning is that it doesn't support HDMI. iPhones (and iPads) transmit an encoded stream to the Lighting to HDMI adapters which then get decoded and converted to HDMI by a chip in the adapter. It adds encoding artifacts and latency.

Most people sell or trade-in their old phones, however, and include the OEM charger to maximise their value.

I recently had to buy three expensive aftermarket chargers because we just didn't have enough OEM ones in the house.

That's good as long as they'll reduce price for a power adapter cost. Also I'd happily buy iPhone without headphones with reduced price.

How would you know if they reduce the price? If it's priced at $994 and they say they took $5 off for the charger, that's OK, but what if it's priced at $899 and they don't break down the price?

>Also I'd happily buy iPhone without headphones with reduced price.

With 5G, Qualcomm Modem, 5nm SoC, these are all but confirmed. Even if we are ignoring the possibility of mmWave Antenna, ProMotion OLED, FaceID 2.0. I would be happily surprised if they dont raise entry level iPhone Pro price by a $100.

The problem is that it probably costs apple $3 to include one but it will cost you $50 to buy one separately. So people will start using cheap garbage adapters from AliExpress and burn down their house.

IIRC, HTC had a similar idea 5-6 years ago, but they would give you a charger for free if you asked them.

Charging via USB-C - does that mean you will be able to use generic non-Apple chargers with the iPhone 12? (sorry, complete phone-noob here)

The article says a Lightning to USB-C cable will still be included. So you can use any USB-C charger which can delivery the necessary power (as with the iPhone 11).

You can charge existing iPhones with generic chargers; you only need the lightning cable (which comes with the phone).

Hm. I switched from iPhone to Android almost 3 years ago and I'm thinking about going back to iPhone in the fall. I don't have any of my old chargers but this might not be a bad idea. If they deduct the cost of the charger that's money I can put toward a longer cable. I would always buy longer charging cables anyway.

These petty BOM reduction exercises from Tim Cook's Apple to claw back single dollars on products that are $1000 are starting to get egregious.

They also reduce e-waste.

Few people need yet another lightning / micro-usb / usb-c cable and charger.

> They also reduce e-waste.

They do. But please note that Apple does this after years of pressure from EU and are one of the last companies to do so.

So please don't make them into some kind of champions for the environment.

> But please note that Apple does this after years of pressure from EU and are one of the last companies to do so.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. When exactly did the EU ask Apple not to include the charger in the box?

I’m very doubtful of this claim.

If you Google "EU charger" this The Verge article will be the top result:

"Since 2009, the European Commission has been trying to convince tech companies to adopt a single charging method for our gadgets, primarily smartphones, in a quest to reduce the waste that comes when every new gadget you buy includes yet another AC adapter in the box. Now, Apple’s Lightning connector may be at risk."


Yes that means that you can charge your Android an Iphone with the SAME charger, NOT that you don't include one with your phone.

And yet Apple could avoid implementing micro/usb-c (or the standard EU-Smart-device charger hm-hmm) etc since 11 Years and nothing happened...thanks EU for your strong fist and small mouth.

Aren't you misunderstanding the directive?

The EU explicitly stated the goal was to reduce e-waste, and the only way to do that is by not shipping a new charger with every phone.

Apple avoided all this by providing USB-lightning converters. This follows the letter of law but produces even more waste. Eventually EU decided they had enough and threatened to fine Apple.

>reduce e-waste

Yes so you dont have two incompatible chargers when apple decides to change the plug again...that's when it started, that was 2009.

E-waste could be reduced by offering charger for free, if customer wanted. The thing I always liked about iPhone was to open up the box and you have everything you need to use the device,

It would be nice if they offered a “free” charger with the purchase of a new device, if requested.

Am I being cynical if I believe that essentially everybody would take it, even if they didn’t really have a need for one?

Please don't try and pretend the company that invented AirPods cares a single bit about e-waste.

Just how many pairs of AirPods is the average Apple fan going to go through in their lives. These things are going to be rotting away in landfills and washing up on beaches for multiple generations after their wearers are dead.

At this point it’s a rumor and we don’t know the prices for the next batch of phones yet. Hopefully we see some reduced prices regardless, but it is hard to get worked up over rumors like this when I’m not lacking in charging equipment or headphones. The inclusions made sense, until they didn’t, now it’s just extra crap to fill a spares drawer and pass off to others.

"50 cents is a lot of money! You save 50 cents here, and then maybe you go somewhere else and save another 50 cents. Then you have 1 dollar. Then you take your dollar. You go to the dollar store, and you buy something else."

It's predicted that next year's iPhone will be wireless only, so not including a wired charger is the first step to getting consumers ready.


Isn’t it about time we moved away from the one-charger-per-device model? For the last few devices I’ve bought, I’ve only charged them from a multi-port Anker USB hub and the dedicated chargers have remained unused in the packaging. Which is great for resale value but bad for e-waste!

Finally. Including all that was a waste.

I was outraged for two seconds, then remembered I switched to wireless charging anyway.

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