As the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR were revealed to the public last month, Apple cut the price of the older iPhone models to move them down the portfolio and make them more attractive entry points into the iOS ecosystem. But there is a sting in the tail.
Apple has removed a key part of the package. You will not find the lightning port to 3.5mm cable adaptor bundled in the retail box. If you are looking for the adaptor to plug in your favourite headphones, you’re going to need to make an additional purchase.
No doubt Apple will be hoping that those looking to use headphones will be persuaded to move to wireless headphones, and I would expect every Apple Store employee to do their best to sell a customer a set of AirPods instead of the dongle, binding them ever closer to Apple’s ecosystem.
Even if the wired to wireless conversion fails, Apple will still win given the margin on peripherals such as the dongle. And while the price of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 handset families has dropped, I would expect the older components and a certain amount economy of scale to drop the bill of materials and preserve Apple’s margins, if not improve it. The removal of the headphone dongle on the retail packaging is a double win – it drops the bill of materials and it forces those who need it to buy the ogle at retail price, with its own makeup on the sticker price.
Neither is this the first time that Apple has reduced the unboxing experience to increase profits. There was a time when the earbuds in the box came in a plastic carrying case to protect both the buds and the cable while not in use. That was downgraded to a cheaper cardboard spindle that works in the box but not as a carry case.
For all the talk of putting the user first, for all the discussions around making Apple easy to use, Apple is still a company looking to extract as much money out of its customer base as possible. This latest step should act as a reminder that Apple has a higher calling than its customers. Its shareholders.
Now read more about how the iPhone XS is damaging Apple’s reputation…