Want EarPods With Your iPhone 12? Get Yours From France
Legal obligations mean that your new French iPhone will still come with EarPods
Apple decided to curb its environmental impact (and accessory costs) this year by selling its iPhone lineup without a charger or earbuds. As a result, the new thinner box lets Apple fit 70 percent more boxes on a single pallet during shipping, letting the company ship more of these at will. The initiative also reduces carbon emissions and the mining of rare-earth minerals. And this isn’t just for the new iPhone 12 devices. The iPhone 11, iPhone SE, and iPhone XR no longer come with a free pair of EarPods either.
While it sounds like an admirable win-win situation for Apple and the environment, not every country is in on the plan. French law dictates that smartphone manufacturers need to bundle a pair of earphones with their devices. This means that the Cupertino-based giant’s bold plan won’t work in France. And yes, Apple already has a counter-measure in place.
Instead of working on a new retail box entirely, Apple decided to bundle their EarPods along with the regular iPhone retail box in a box big enough to store both of these devices. It’s an absolute unit in comparison to the svelte new boxes the iPhones come in, but it’s a solution nonetheless to a rule Apple can do little about.
Here’s what France did
While it might seem like a strange rule, there’s a reason why France wants phones to be sold with earphones. French law ensures that manufacturers give customers an accessory that enables them to perform hands-free calls. This rule aims to mitigate the effect that the phones’ electromagnetic waves have on the brain. While the jury is out on whether they pose a health hazard, it’s a risk France doesn’t wish to take.
Apple sells its EarPods with a Lightning connector for $19 (a drop from its usual $29) online and in its stores, but France wants them to show up with every iPhone purchase. While the unwieldy boxes that Apple has to deal with are a temporary measure, the move towards a future without bundled peripherals is inevitable. It won’t take long for France to rethink the rules.
In a world where homes store miniature piles of unused chargers and earphones from prior smartphone purchases, it makes sense for Apple to sell phones without accessories, even essential ones. While other manufacturers poke fun at the barebones iPhone retail box, it’s only a matter of time before they follow suit. After all, it’s not just about saving the environment. There’s money to be made here.