Samsung may follow Apple's lead by removing the earbuds and charger from the box of its next flagship smartphone, presumably to be called the Galaxy S30. Reports going back to July indicated that the company may drop the charger, but a new story says the normally packaged earbuds may no longer be included either.
When Apple announced it would not be including any accessories with the iPhone 12 series, the company said it made the decision because most customers already have chargers and earbuds. Removing them from the box would have a positive environmental impact as Apple wouldn't have to produce more accessories that people don't need. The boxes are also smaller now, resulting in lower emissions from shipping.
With Apple leading the smartphone market in terms of revenue, it's no wonder Samsung is mimicking its moves. After all, why should Apple alone reap all of the cost-savings benefits (none of which has resulted in cheaper devices, we might add).
Benevolence or self-interest? — Backlash over the move was immediate, however. People said that Apple was being hypocritical by removing the accessories under environmental justifications because the iPhone 12 uses a proprietary Lightning charging port. If Apple was really interested in protecting the environment from waste, they say, it would adopt the USB-C standard like it has for the Apple iPad Pro. That way consumers could charge their iPhones with the same cables they use for other, non-Apple devices. Or, you know, the one's that ship with their MacBooks. At least Samsung, by comparison, uses USB-C and has done for years.
Instead, some believe Apple's move was a thinly-veiled way to save itself money — the iPhone 12 is priced on par with the previous generation — and push consumers to buy pricey AirPods. Plus the company saves more money on distribution thanks to the slimmer packaging.
Repairing beats recycling — Critics have long complained that Apple makes it too difficult to repair existing hardware, too. Which, if allowed, would increase a devices' usable lifespan and use fewer resources than recycling it does. The company has fought back against "right-to-repair" legislation that would compel it to more openly offer replacement parts and instruction manuals to independent repair shops or individuals. Apple argues that novices could hurt themselves trying to make a repair, or inadvertently break devices during the process. Of course, it says nothing about the fact that making it easier to repair devices would make consumers less prone to buying new ones as often.
At least when Nintendo stopped including a charger with the 3DS it was honest that it was doing so in the interest of its profit margins.