During Apple’s Time Flies event on September 15, there was a somewhat controversial announcement. The Apple Watch no longer comes with a USB power adapter in the box. There are rumors that this year’s iPhone 12 release will follow.
Apple announced the change to the Apple Watch during a segment on the company’s environmental development, and pointed it out as a great way to reduce environmental waste. If that is the company’s position, it would be wrong not to remove the USB power adapter from the iPhone 1
And you know what? Apple’s dish. It’s time to stop including power adapters in each box. Sure, it stings – these products cost money how much and you do not even give us the plug? – but when you go beyond the seemingly money-melting optics, it really makes sense.
You do not need another USB power adapter
When word began to spread that Apple would ship this year’s iPhones without the USB power adapter in the box, the most common chorus went something like this:
Apple is already charging too much for its phones, and now they even want to cut costs more at the same time as we get to buy an overpriced power adapter separately!
You get no arguments from me about Apple’s steep margins and seemingly arbitrary pricing (especially for certain Mac configurations!), But every single person who complains about not getting a USB power adapter in the box has a drawer full of them. Apple’s price choice is a completely different argument.
You’ve got them with a bunch of other Apple products over the years, with every other mobile device you’ve ever bought, with digital cameras, wireless headphones, third-party game controllers, the list goes on and on. You have the option of connecting an item with a USB port on it to an electrical outlet, and then plugging the supplied USB-to-lightning cable into it. You know you do.
It’s just bad for the environment
Apple’s pitch to get us excited about not getting USB power adapters anymore (if you can call it that) was decent.
“Sometimes it’s not what we make, but what we do not make that counts,” began Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, Politics and Social Initiatives. “We know that customers have accumulated USB power adapters, and that producing millions of unnecessary adapters uses resources and increases our carbon footprint. So this year we are removing the USB power adapter from the Apple Watch. ”
Sure, she practically omits that reduced costs and more compact packaging will save Apple tens of millions of dollars this year, or hundreds of millions if the iPhone 12 follows suit. There are small potatoes for a company that earns almost $ 300 billion in revenue each year, but she is not mistaken.
Production and shipping of these things is not a small problem with e-waste. When you consider all the other consumer electronics brands that send power adapters that should sit in a drawer, it is actually quite significant.
Apple does the right thing for the environment. Full stop.
Apple must cut the price of the USB power adapter
Going forward, Apple should make three changes to its products to find the right balance between serving its customers and protecting the environment.
First, the company should stop including USB power adapters everyone products with smaller batteries that charge more slowly. It already does this with AirPods (you get a USB-to-lightning cable, but no power adapter). iPads are delayed for a while, but within a few years, Apple should assume that customers have at least one charger that can deliver more than 5 watts and stop including adapters as well. Macs should always come with a power adapter, because they need much higher power to charge well. We do not have drawers full of portable adapters.
Second, the company should finally gather around USB-C. If not on the end of the device (where lightning will continue to exist for a while, and the Apple Watch uses a proprietary plug charging puck), then at least on the power adapter end. This means new Apple Watch charging cables with USB-C at the ends, and USB-C for light cables in AirPods boxes (AirPods Pro already includes one!). Phones are currently a mixed bag, with iPhone SE and iPhone 11 including USB-A cables and adapters, but iPhone 11 Pro including USB-C cables and adapters.
Since Apple releases power adapters from the box, it should only contain USB-C for zippers, so that one adapter works with all of our Apple equipment.
Third, the company needs to make USB-C power adapters more affordable. The current 18W USB-C power adapter is $ 29. You can get a comparable third-party power adapter from a reputable brand for less than half of it. Apple’s 18 or 20W USB-C power adapter should cost $ 15, and it should still offer the USB-A power adapter as needed, but phase it out as the company embraces USB-C. Power adapters should not really be a money maker for Apple, and perhaps more importantly, they should not see you later to be one.
We may not like to be “nickel and faded” by companies like Apple, which makes expensive premium products, no longer including USB power adapters with them. But it’s time to grow out of our selfish desire to always get more for less, even if we do not need it, and it will sit in a drawer, even if it is objectively bad for the planet.