The last time you bought an iPhone, what did you do with the accessories that came with it? You know, the earbuds, the cable, and the charger...
Did you immediately put them to good use, or did you throw them into a drawer and never look at them again?
Supply chain rumors are circulating -- indeed, have been circulating for some time now -- that Apple could be getting ready to change -- or streamline -- the iPhone's packaging. And by change or streamline, what is actually meant is that Apple could be planning to stop including certain boxed accessories, specifically the wired earbuds, and charger.
I've looked at Apple dropping the bundled accessories more as a when and not an if. After all, the vast majority of iPhones sold go to people buying a replacement iPhone, with the number of first-time buyers being less than one in five.
However, the true number may be much lower than that.
Above Avalon analyst Neil Cybart estimates that some 18% are first-time buyers, but that many of those may have previously owned an iPhone obtained in the gray market, so the true number of first-time buyers could be as low as 10%.
If Apple does indeed carry out this streamlining, the company is likely to push this as a good thing for the planet. And that would indeed be true. It's a real shame for unwanted chargers and wired earbuds to go into the trash.
But while you as the consumer get a warm-fuzzy green feeling, Apple gets a number of benefits.
First is a direct savings. It's estimated that the iPhone box and accessories cost something in the region of $10. Shaving even a dollar off this would translate into many millions of dollars saved for Apple.
Another benefit for Apple will be reduced packaging volume. When you're storing, transporting, and selling millions of anything, making it smaller and lighter offers savings.
Another benefit for Apple is that it would get to sell more accessories. Apple loves selling dongles and accessories, and I do not doubt that the company would rejoice in selling you something that it previously gave away.
Will this mean a cheaper iPhone for consumers?
Nope. The saving per iPhone is a few bucks at most.
In fact, if you're a first-time buyer, you're going to have to buy your own accessories.
What do you do with the accessories that come with a new smartphone? Do you use them? Will you miss their absence?