There have been an increasing number of reports lately that Apple could be removing the EarPods and USB charger from the iPhone 12 packaging this year, to the point where it’s starting to sound like a real possibility, especially since Apple has been asking customers about it as well, but if you’re hoping that this may result in a drop in price on the iPhone 12 you might be disappointed if another recent report is to be believed.
In a research note obtained by MacRumors, analyst Jeff Pu is predicting that the iPhone 12 will actually be starting at a price of $749 for the new 5.4-inch version, which would actually be an increase of $50 over the base model iPhone 11, which sells right now for $699.
If true, this would in fact be an even bigger jump, considering that the iPhone 11 is currently in a larger 6.1-inch format — a size that’s also expected to be available for the iPhone 12 this year. Meaning that with the $100 price spread that Apple typically keeps between its smaller and larger iPhones, the iPhone 12 could actually see a price increase of as much as $150.
Of course, this is somewhat uncharted territory, as this will be the first year that Apple has released two sizes of the non-Pro iPhone model, so it’s certainly possible that it could opt for a smaller price difference between the two.
As for the reasons, Pu suggests that the additional costs of adding 5G wireless technology and an OLED display to the entry-level iPhone 12 models will drive the price up, despite the rumoured elimination of EarPods and the USB charger from the packaging.
What’s Going on Here
If Apple takes this route, the move is certain to generate no small amount of controversy, especially among tech pundits and enthusiasts, however, Pu believes that the price increase will be “accepted by consumers” and won’t have any impact on demand for the new iPhones, and to be fair, he’s probably right. Consumers may grumble, but those who want an iPhone 12 probably won’t be fazed by a relatively small price increase, especially when many purchase their devices on subsidized or financed carrier plans where that price difference won’t be felt nearly as much.
That said, Pu’s prediction contradicts a report from leaker Jon Prosser back in April, who actually predicted that the entry-level 5.4-inch iPhone 12 would come in at $649, which would actually be $50 less than the current 6.1-inch iPhone 11. However, Prosser also pegged the 6.1-inch iPhone 12, which would be the direct upgrade from the only iPhone 11 model currently available, at $749, so it’s entirely possible that Pu is partially correct, and merely confusing the two different iPhone 12 models.
Pu has also said nothing about pricing for the iPhone 12 Pro models, but based on his suggestion that the switch to OLED screens could make up part of the price increase, it’s entirely possible that the iPhone 12 Pro pricing may remain unchanged from the current iPhone 11 Pro lineup.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Apple often bumps the storage specs each year at the same prices, not to mention all of the new technology that the iPhone 12 is expected to offer, so it’s not like buyers won’t be getting something more for their money. However, Apple has set an expectation over the past few years that new iPhone models generally come in at the same prices as prior versions, so increasing the prices while removing accessories won’t likely be well received, even if it actually does result in a price decrease from what Apple may have otherwise sold the iPhone 12 models for.
Samsung Following Suit?
To be clear, Apple isn’t along in it’s rumoured plans to stop including accessories with the iPhone this year. The Verge highlights a new report from Korean site ETNews that predicts that Samsung may also be excluding chargers from some of its smartphones beginning next year, for many of the same reasons that analysts believe Apple is doing so — to reduce costs and because many people already have chargers.
The reason Samsung’s move may not come until 2021 is simply because the company has already announced and shipped most of its 2020 smartphone lineup, since it traditionally releases its new models each spring, but it still effectively means that Samsung would be making this decision with its next major smartphone releases.
There are a lot of good reasons for both Apple and Samsung to eliminate accessories like earphones and chargers from their packaging, not the least of which are environmental concerns, not only with e-waste but with the consumption of fossil fuels that are required to actually move around the larger and heavier packaging. As we noted last week, with Apple shipping hundreds of millions of iPhones each year, simply removing these two accessories would add up to a 4,000-ton reduction in the products that have to be moved around on planes, ships, and trucks, not to mention the space required to store them in warehouses.