Apple controversially removing chargers, headphones from iPhone 12 box, drawing divided response

Apple unveiled its iPhone 12 range in a digital event this week that generated a lot of chat online - not all of it positive.

Perhaps the most controversial announcement made by the US tech giant about its new phones is that it'll stop providing a wall charger and headphones in new iPhone boxes.

The only accessory in the box will be a USB-C to Lightning cable, which users can plug into a computer or a wall charger they already own to recharge  - or they can buy another device from providers including Apple.

"Many customers have moved to a wireless experience with AirPods, Beats or other wireless headphones," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of environment, policy and social initiatives.

"There are also over 2 billion Apple power adapters out there in the world, and that's not counting the billions of third-party adapters. So we are removing these items from the iPhone box, which reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of precious materials."

Apple is pushing users to use its upgraded new wireless charging technology MagSafe, away from traditional cord charging.

But only providing customers a USB-C cord with a new iPhone is being criticised.

Gareth Beavis at TechRadar said most people won't have a USB-C charging block, so the move is "less than ideal".

Other media commentators were more positive.

"Apple says it's good for the environment, because there are already over 700 million corded white EarPods in the world, and 2 billion Apple power adapters," said Geoffrey A Fowler of the Washington Post.

"It's true: I could raise a family of hamsters in my big tangle of old headphones. By dropping them from the package, Apple could also make its boxes smaller, part of a wider commitment to have a net-zero climate impact across its entire business by 2030."

On social media, people were excited about the new MagSafe charging accessories, but jokes and memes abounded over chargers being removed from the box.

A tweet from US-based Vincent Julian Ong reads: "Apple: 'We're not including charging bricks in the iphone 12 box to save the environment'.

"Also Apple: 'Lighting to USB-C cables in the box. Oh you don't have USB C charging bricks? Well here's a link to buy that from our store'."

Tech fan @meera_3001 joked that if this year Apple is removing the charger and headphones from iPhone boxes, in 2030 the phones themselves will be removed and sold as 'iPhone Air'.

The iPhone 12 range will start being released in New Zealand on October 23 with pre-orders opening this Saturday.