Students in China sue Apple over not including a charger with the iPhone 12

Apple makes some curious decisions from time to time, things that feel a little crazy when they are happening. Eventually, though, the public typically gets over it, Apple thinks it’s an obviously good decision, and we all move on. (Even if Apple eventually backtracks.) But when it comes to including a charger in the box for iPhones, it certainly looks like that’s a choice Apple won’t be going back on anytime soon.

Unless it has to.

As reported today by Vice, Apple is currently being used by five students in China over the fact the company doesn’t include a charger in the box with the iPhone 12. As you all know by now, Apple opted to remove not only the charger from the smartphone box, but also wired EarPods in 2020. Now, that decision remains in place and probably won’t be changing.

The students argument in court, as part of the Xiaocheng Cup Public Welfare Litigation Competition, is based on the premise that Apple isn’t so much worried about the ecological impact of packaging and materials and accessories, but rather focusing only on profit. It’s not a secret that making a 5G iPhone is slightly more expensive, and in 2020 that’s when Apple introduced the first 5G-enabled iPhone. The argument here is that Apple’s simply trying to save a buck –and make a profit by forcing customers to buy new accessories.

As noted by the Shanghai Law Journal, one of the students taking part in the lawsuit, Xiaofang, grew frustrated when she discovered there wasn’t a charger in the box of the new iPhone 12 Pro Max. The report goes on to note that Xiaofang’s frustration only grew when she realize the USB-C to Lightning cable Apple included the box wasn’t compatible with the previous wall chargers Apple had released in older iPhone models (presumably from the model she was upgrading from).

The lawsuit also goes on to say that Apple is trying to promote its MagSafe wireless charging feature — another bullet point in the new features column introduced in 2020. Xiaofang and the lawsuit claim Apple is simply working under the guise of saving the environment, but is simply motivated by nothing more than more profit.

Vice reports Xiaofang and the other students took Apple to court by way of the Beijing Internet Court, demanding Apple pay litigation fees and 100 yuan (~$16 USD) or breach of contract, and provide a wall charger. Meanwhile, Shanghai Law Journal says Apple’s response to that move was to note that it’s “common” for smartphones to be sold without chargers, and that the iPhone 12’s packaging makes it very clear there is not a charger included in the box.

The case has picked up steam, even going viral in China, but it’s still an ongoing one at the time of this publication.