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iPhone 12 may not come with a pair of free headphones in the box

As Apple continues to push us toward a wireless future (whether we want one or not), it disappointingly may not bundle its EarPods headphones with the upcoming iPhone 12, according to a report from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Since removing the headphone jack on the iPhone in 2016, the Lightning-connector-equipped EarPods gave new owners the chance to still listen to music on the iPhone without swapping over to Bluetooth headphones, or using a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter.

The Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter is already no longer included in the iPhone’s box, and by dropping the EarPods in the same way, Apple is effectively pushing buyers into adopting Bluetooth headphones if they haven’t already, or buying a pair of the $30 EarPods or other Lightning-connected headphones separately. If the prediction is accurate, it will likely frustrate some potential iPhone 12 owners.

Kuo says Apple may soften the blow — somewhat, at least — by cutting the cost of the AirPods, or by offering a related promotion around the end of the year. The basic AirPods cost $160 at the moment, or up to $250 if you want the AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation. What could Apple do? Several other manufacturers, including rival Samsung, often bundle wireless headphones as part of a new device pre-order package to encourage early sales, although this would not be in keeping with Apple’s style.

It may discount certain AirPods around the time of the iPhone 12 launch, though.

Should the iPhone 12 not come with EarPods, it will be the first time Apple has not included a free set of headphones with a new iPhone. However, it would not be the first manufacturer to do this. Some Android phones also do not come with cheap headphones in the box, but many still do. If you buy a Samsung Galaxy S20 phone for example, a set of wired AKG in-ear headphones are included, despite the availability of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus true wireless headphones.

Apple is keen to make the future wireless. Apart from the removal of the headphone jack, it introduced wireless charging with the iPhone 8 series, has minimized the amount of ports available on its MacBook laptops, and there are even rumors of an entirely port-free iPhone in the future. While not supplying wired headphones with the iPhone 12 would fit into this plan, it, along with other measures, may also be aimed at reducing the overall cost of the new iPhone package. Small alterations could mitigate increased costs elsewhere, so Apple isn’t forced to raise the retail price of the next phone, which is expected to come with a costly 5G connection.

The iPhone 12 is expected to launch later this year, and all the other rumors about it can be found here.

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Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
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