Free power adapters are going away, and that’s OK

During Apple’s Time Flies event on September 15, it made a somewhat controversial announcement. The Apple Watch will no longer come with a USB power adapter in the box. There are rumors that this year’s iPhone 12 release will follow suit.

Apple announced the change to Apple Watch during a segment on the company’s environmental advancements, pitching it as a great way to reduce environmental waste. If that’s the company’s position, it would be wrong not to remove the USB power adapter from the iPhone 12 box.

And you know what? Apple’s right. It’s time to stop including power adapters in every box. Sure, it stings—these products cost how much and you don’t even give us the plug?—but once you get beyond the seemingly money-grubbing optics of it, it really does make sense.

You don’t need another USB power adapter

When word started to spread that Apple was going to ship this year’s iPhones without the USB power adapter in the box, the most common refrain went something like this:

Apple already charges too much for its phones and now it wants to cut costs even more while making us all buy an overpriced power adapter separately!

You’ll get no argument from me about Apple’s too-steep margins and seemingly arbitrary pricing (especially for certain Mac configurations!), but every single person that complains about not getting a USB power adapter in the box has a drawer full of them. Apple’s pricing choices are a whole other argument.

You’ve gotten them with a bunch of other Apple products over the years, with any other mobile device you’ve ever bought, with digital cameras, wireless headphones, third-party game controllers, the list goes on and on. You have the ability to plug a thing with a USB port on it into an outlet, and then plug the included USB-to-Lightning cable into that. You know you do.

It’s just bad for the environment

Apple’s pitch to get us excited about not getting USB power adapters any longer (if you can call it that) was straightforward.