While the iPhones have changed significantly over the years, there at least three things that have remained constant. They have shipped in a white box, shipped with a white power adapter, and shipped with white EarPods. This year, however, only one of that will remain and Apple has been rumored to be removing all but the iPhone itself and Lightning cable from its packaging. It won’t be long before that’s publicly confirmed but iOS 14.2 might actually hold a small but important piece of evidence that’s as good as official.
The change is actually so small that it could have been easily glossed over. Just one word, or two if you count the article “the”. Text in iOS previously pointed to “the supplied headphones” when referring to steps to reduce RF exposure. As of iOS 14.2, it simply mentions “headphones”.
There have been rumors and leaks from analysts that Apple is significantly reducing what’s inside the iPhone 12 box. To be fair, no longer shipping a 5W charger is almost understandable since most probably have better power bricks anyway. And those that don’t will probably be able to buy something better than a 5W plug anyway, too.
Probably a bit more controversial will be the absence of EarPods confirmed by this MacRumors sighting. Not everyone has switched to Bluetooth headphones yet and if Apple doesn’t ship the Lightning to 3.5mm jack adaptor either, they might have to scramble for a new pair. Hopefully, Apple will still include at least that dongle.
This reduction in packaged accessories isn’t just for environmental reasons for reducing e-waste, though. The strategy will supposedly try to offset even by just a bit the expenses of making a pricier 5G iPhone 12. That, of course, won’t be enough to completely keep prices down, so buyers will still pay more than last year’s iPhones and get more inside the iPhone but fewer things inside the box.