Apple's iPhone 12 nixes the EarPods and power adapter

Apple says it's doing this to be more environmentally friendly.

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
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Queenie Wong
2 min read

Apple introduced a 5G-enabled iPhone on Tuesday.

Apple; screenshot by Queenie Wong/CNET

Apple said Tuesday that the iPhone 12 will no longer include wired earbuds or a power adapter, a move that helps the company offset the costs of creating its first 5G-enabled smartphone.

Instead, iPhone users will have to buy EarPods and the USB power adapter separately. Lisa Jackson, who oversees Apple's environmental, social and policy initiatives, said removing the products from the box will be better for the environment because it cuts down on waste. Apple has said it wants to be 100% carbon neutral in its supply chain and products by 2030. The box for the iPhone 12 will also be smaller and lighter, meaning that Apple can fit 70% more items on a shipping pallet, Jackson said.

"We hope others will follow, making this impact even bigger for our planet," Jackson said of the changes Apple made to reduce carbon emissions.

Also, many customers already have the EarPods and power adapter. There are more than 700 million EarPods with lightning connectors and 2 billion Apple power adapters out in the world, according to the company. A USB-C to lightning cable will be included with the newest iPhone. 

A pair of EarPods and an Apple power adapter each cost $19. There are also other power adapters people can buy to charge their iPhones. 

Watch this: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, Pro and Pro Max explained

Cutting down on wired earbuds and a power adapter also helps Apple keep down the price of the iPhone. Apple's iPhone 12 will cost $799. That's still more than the iPhone 11, which now goes for $599. The company also unveiled the iPhone 12 Mini, for $699. The move could also entice more people to purchase Apple's wireless headphones. A pair of AirPods costs $159. 

Apple executives unveiled the latest iPhone during a virtual event on Tuesday. The revamped design and faster data speeds could entice people to purchase a new smartphone during the coronavirus pandemic. A "staggering" 53% of respondents plan to buy this year's iPhone, according to a survey by electronics reseller Decluttr

CNET's Ian Sherr contributed to this report.