[Author’s note: The following article was written on December 22nd, 2020. Several changes have been made to better reflect new information pertinent to this topic. ~AK]
As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Apple has heralded the arrival of a new generation of iPhones and set tongues wagging from pundits and tech journalists alike as they all write articles about… literally the exact same thing as the year before. Be it hot takes about Apple’s inability to innovate or the far-reaching implications that Apple’s commitment to whatever new technology or initiative has on the tech industry writ large, it’s comforting to know that there’s some banal consistency in a world descending into authoritarianism as it stares down the barrel of a climate crisis that’s been building up for centuries.
This looming crisis is at the heart of Apple’s decision regarding the packaging of new iPhones in 2020 and beyond; that the included Lightning Earpods and USB charging brick will be removed from new iPhone SKUs produced this year in a bid to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills per year while (finally) moving to USB-C lightning cables from the default USB-A charging cables that have been included with iDevices since the mid-2000s. In theory, it sounds like a commendable action for a company as monolithic and influential as Apple to take and in practice the results clearly speak for themselves: