Apple Customers in France Still Get EarPods in the Box With Every New iPhone
According to Apple's regional French online store, every iPhone including the iPhone 12 comes with both a USB-C to Lightning cable and EarPods with a Lightning connector.
The inclusion of earphones is likely due to legislation in France that requires all smartphones to include a "handsfree kit" to protect children under 14 from the potential risk of electromagnetic radio waves. The obligation is based on the precautionary principle, because the risks of exposing developing brains to electromagnetic waves are not clearly known, according to French law:
At the request of the purchaser of a mobile phone, the operator must provide an accessory such as a hands-free kit or headset suitable for children under 14 years of age.
Promoting the use of a mobile phone without a handsfree accessory in France is punishable by a criminal fine of 75,000 euros.
As was rumored before Apple officially unveiled the iPhone 12, all four models ship without EarPods or a power adapter in the box in other countries around the world. In addition, the iPhone 11, iPhone XR, and iPhone SE no longer include these accessories either.
Apple's website encourages customers to use their existing Apple power adapter and headphones or buy these accessories separately, and to help offset the cost, Apple has now lowered the price of its EarPods with a Lightning connector from $29 to $19. Apple's new 20W power adapter for iPhones also retails for $19, down from $29 for its now-discontinued 18W power adapter that was included with the iPhone 11 lineup until now.
Apple touted the environmental benefits of no longer including EarPods or a power adapter with iPhones, noting that the move reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of rare-earth elements. iPhone 12 models also ship in a thinner box as a result, with Apple claiming that it can fit 70 percent more iPhone boxes on a single pallet during shipping.
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