Apple’s new Watch Series 6 will be its first to come without a power adaptor, raising the possibility that its iPhones may ditch them altogether.
At its Apple Watch launch event on Tuesday night, the iPhone maker said it would no longer include wall plugs that allow users to charge their smart watches in an effort to improve its environmental footprint.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s head of sustainability, said: “Sometimes it’s not what we make, but what we don’t make that counts.” Apple said removing the adaptors from its watches would be the equivalent of removing 50,000 cars from roads each year. The new watches will come with wire, but not the adaptor.
Technology companies have come under pressure over the proliferation of electronic waste, or e-waste, that gets sent to landfill and cannot easily be recycled. 50 million metric tonnes of electronic waste is thrown away globally each year.
Apple has committed to creating its products entirely from recycled materials, but such a reality is years away and some components used in its devices cannot be recycled or reused.
Analysts have said they expect the iPhone 12, which is expected to launch in the coming weeks, to also be the first to come without a charging adaptor. TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in June Apple’s new iPhones would come without the charging accessory and a customary pair of headphones.
Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, said there was a trend towards smartphone makers cutting out charging blocks. He said: “A number of manufacturers already do this on budget phones. There are environment benefits, but it also saves money on the cost of shipping and manufacturing.”
However, he added, some challenges can appear when new charging capabilities, such as fast-charging, are added to phones that are not supported by the power adaptor a consumer owns.
Some consumers on social media were unhappy that Apple had removed the charger adaptor and were charging consumers £29 for a new 18 watt adaptor on their online store.
On Tuesday Apple revealed the Apple Watch Series 6, which costs £379. For the first time, it comes with a blood oxygen sensor to monitor health and fitness, but Apple said it would be investigating whether the sensor could be used to look for early signs of coronavirus.
It also announced the Apple Watch SE, a cheaper version of its watch costing £269.