The iPhone 12 is expected to introduce a number of changes to Apple's handsets, like 5G and faster display refresh rates for some models. But one decision concerning next-gen iPhones is likely to frustrate buyers.
Apple will reportedly nix its long practice of including wired headphones in the box with its next devices, according to analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities via 9to5Mac (opens in new tab).
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"Our checks that likely no wired EarPods will come in the iPhone 12 box/packaging," Ives is quoted as saying in the article. Those who have been following iPhone rumors for a while now will note that this isn't the first we've heard on this subject; almost exactly a month ago, Ming-Chi Kuo, another analyst who often makes predictions on Apple's products, said the same.
The inclusion of wired buds with every iPhone is a tradition that dates back well before Apple entered the mobile game, way back to the company's iPods in the early part of the millennium. These days, it's actually quite rare to see phone makers ship headphones with their devices; Samsung is the only notable one besides Apple that continues to, particularly with its premium Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 10 lines. Google packed a pair of USB-C buds with the Pixel 3, but opted against doing the same for the Pixel 4.
The lack of wired EarPods in box will no doubt push owners toward Apple's AirPods wireless headphones — a range that's rumored to grow in the near future. Beyond the existing AirPods and noise-cancelling AirPods Pro, Apple is expected to introduce its first over-the-ear cans, called AirPods Studio, very soon.
There's an argument to be made that it's somewhat wasteful to include a pair of headphones with every device that buyers aren't certain to even use in the first place. That said, it's handy to have a pair of trusty wired earbuds as a backup, in case your wireless set are dead. The wired EarPods never had the sound quality to rival Apple's pricier wireless offerings, but they got the job done.
At least the iPhone 12 could very well be cheaper partly because Apple is ditching EarPods — well, some models of the iPhone 12, at least. The entry-level, 5.4-inch variant could start as low as $649, and for the first time, all new iPhone models are rumored to pack 128GB of onboard storage as standard.