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Australia A waste-reduction move? A savvy cash-grab? Why Apple’s decision to sell the iPhone 12 without a charger is significant

11:15  28 october  2020
11:15  28 october  2020 Source:   smartcompany.com.au

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Apple has released its new smartphone, the iPhone 12 , without an accompanying charger or earbuds. Users have harshly criticised the company for this move and will have to purchase these accessories separately, if needed.

Apple has released its new smartphone, the iPhone 12 , without an accompanying charger or earbuds. Users have harshly criticised the company for this move and will have to purchase these accessories separately, if needed.While some A smart waste - reduction move , or clever cash grab ?

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a large pile of garbage: E-waste © Provided by Smart Company E-waste

While some see it as cost-cutting, or a way for Apple to profit further by forcing customers to buy the products separately, the technology giant said the goal was to reduce its carbon footprint.

This is the first time a major smartphone manufacturer has released a mobile without a charger.

Earlier this year, reports emerged that Samsung was considering a similar move, but it has yet to follow through.

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Apple ’ s decision comes in a bid to reduce the ewaste as well as cut down on the size of the box. Charger is the most required item in the box but as amount of e- waste per year is increasing due to mobile and So they thought of why to include charger and earphones in iphone 12 series lineup.

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But even if abandoning chargers is a way for Apple to save money, the action could have a significant, positive impact on the environment.

Australians, on average, buy a new mobile phone every 18–24 months.

In Australia, there are about 23 million phones sitting unused — and, therefore, likely a similar number of accompanying chargers.

Just as single-use shopping bags contribute to plastic waste, unused and discarded electronic appliances contribute to electronic waste (e-waste).

You can reuse a shopping bag, so why not your phone charger?

Just over a decade ago, Australia started to ban single-use plastic bags, starting with South Australia.

Today, every state and territory in Australia has enforced the ban except New South Wales — which intends to do so by the end of 2021.

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Apple has decided to sell its upcoming iPhone 12 models without a few accessories such as a power adapter and wired EarPods, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce, corroborating a widespread rumor. TrendForce notes that iPhone 12 models will be more expensive for Apple to

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Since South Australia implemented its ban in 2008, state government estimates suggest it has avoided 8,000kg of marine litter each year — and abated more than 4,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The benefits for the environment have been clear.

So, why are we so hesitant to do the same for e-waste?

E-waste is a real, but fixable, environmental issue

E-waste includes different forms of discarded electric and electronic appliances that are no longer of value to their owners. This can include mobile phones, televisions, computers, chargers, keyboards, printers and earphones.

Currently, there are about 4.78 billion mobile phone users globally (61.2% of the world’s population). And mobile phone chargers alone generate more than 51,000 tonnes of e-waste per year.

On this basis, the environment would greatly benefit if more users reused phone chargers and if tech companies encouraged a shift to standardised charging that works across different mobile phone brands.

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This would eventually lead to a reduction in the manufacturing of chargers and, potentially, less exploitation of natural resources.

Who needs a charger with an Apple logo anyway?

Citing an increase in e-waste and consumer frustration with multiple chargers, the European Parliament has been pushing for standardised chargers for mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers, smart cameras, wearable electronics and other small or medium-sized electronic devices.

This would negate the need for users to buy different chargers for various devices.

Of course, there’s no doubt phone companies want people to regularly buy new phones. Apple has been accused of building a feature into phones that slows them down as they get older. Apple responded by saying this was simply to keep devices running as their batteries became worn down.

But even if this is the case, Apple’s decision to ship phones without chargers would still reduce the use of precious materials. A smaller product box would let Apple fit up to 70% more products onto shipping pallets — reducing carbon emissions from shipping.

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Apple said the iPhone 12 will be available "a few weeks later" than the usual mid-September launch. Apple has since sent an invitation to its Oct. Ming-Chi Kuo expects that the iPhone 12 will ship without a power adapter as well, according to 9to5Mac.

However, it remains to be seen exactly how much this would assist in Apple’s environmental goals, especially if many consumers end up buying a charger separately anyway.

Apple equates its recent “climate-conscious” changes to the iPhone 12 with removing 450,000 cars from the road annually. The company has a target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

Are wireless chargers the answer?

It’s worth considering whether Apple’s main incentive is simply to cut costs, or perhaps push people towards its own wireless charging devices.

These concerns are not without merit.

Apple is one of the richest companies in the world, with most of its market capital made with hardware sales.

Without a shift to a standardised plug-in charger, a wireless charging boom could be an environmental disaster (even though it’s perhaps inevitable due to its convenience). Wireless charging consumes around 47% more power than a regular cable.

This may be a concern, as the sustainability advantages of not including a charger could come alongside increased energy consumption.

Currently, the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector is responsible for about 2% of the world’s energy consumption.

The case for a universal plug-in charger

Perhaps one solution to the dilemma is device trade-in services, which many companies already offer, including Apple and Samsung.

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Apple gives customers a discount on a new device if they trade in their older model, instead of throwing it out. Similar services are offered by third parties such as Optus, Telstra, MobileMonster and Boomerang Buy Back.

Ultimately, however, the best solution would be for tech giants to agree on a universal plug-in charger for all small or medium-sized electronic devices, including mobile phones.

And hopefully, just as we all now take reusable bags to the grocer with us, in a few years we’ll be able to use a common charger for all our devices — and we’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The post A waste-reduction move? A savvy cash-grab? Why Apple’s decision to sell the iPhone 12 without a charger is significant appeared first on SmartCompany.

Apple with record sales - Apple shares pre-market in red .
The i-group Apple announced its figures for the last quarter on Thursday after the market closed on the NASDAQ. © Provided by Finanz.net TORU YAMANAKA / AFP / Getty Images The delayed market launch of the iPhone 12 brought Apple a profit decline in the past quarter. The company earned just under $ 12.7 billion - 7.4 percent less than a year earlier. Revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter, which ended at the end of September, rose by one percent to $ 64.7 billion, as Apple announced on Thursday.

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