Considering it sells products all over the globe, Apple has to contend with local regulations and laws in order to do that successfully. Or at all. Which means, while it may institute some new rules for its business practice in one region, that might not be possible in another. Like bundling wired headphones with new iPhones.
While Apple has moved away from bundling wired EarPods with a new iPhone for a while now, it has to do the complete opposite in France. Why? Because of radio-frequency energy. Namely, the potential danger of absorbing it while using a smartphone.
Apple opted to stop bundling EarPods with the iPhone 12 lineup last year, but local regulators in France legislated that it’s the potential danger of absorbing radio-frequency energy that means companies like Apple, who sell smartphones, need to bundle wired headphones so owners don’t have to put the phone against their head while on a call.
Apple, for its part, utilizes the proximity sensor in the iPhone to sense when the iPhone is held up against the owner’s head. This then reduces the overall RF output while the phone is there.
In France, it’s considered potentially harmful for the brain to absorb radio-frequency energy and phones emit more of this when they are being used for phone calls. There is considerable debate about the impact of this, but most countries err on the side of caution by setting a legal limit on the radio-frequency power output.
So this is why the iPhone 13 lineup, sold in France, is still bundled with wired EarPods, as noted today by MacRumors. Not that that’s a surprise by any means, considering it would require France changing its regulations before Apple could stop doing as much.