Apple may soon stop shipping iPhones with free earbuds

Apple’s next iPhone may no longer come with a pair of the company’s iconic, white-wired earphones, according to a top tech analyst.

The Cupertino, California, tech giant will not include a complimentary pair of earbuds in the iPhone 12’s packaging in order to increase demand for its already mega-popular AirPods wireless headphones, according to TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Apple has included a free pair of headphones in each box since it rolled out the very first iPhone in 2007, and has updated its design and style through the years.

Without free headphones, customers will either need to buy an adapter to connect their old 3.5 mm headphones into the iPhone — which abandoned the headphone jack several years ago — or will need to shell out for Bluetooth headphones.

Apple previously included a Lightning to 3.5 mm jack adapter in the box when it got rid of the headphone jack, but stopped giving it away for free when it released the iPhone XS line in 2018. The adapter sells for $9 on Apple’s website.

Kuo also predicts that Apple will offer some sort of AirPod promotion in the second half of the year, and upped his forecasted annual shipments to 93.8 million pairs from his original estimate of 80 to 90 million.

Apple reportedly plans to release four new iPhone models later this year, which will serve as the successors to the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro family of devices.

The next iPhones are rumored to have 5G hardware, which will allow the phones to access a network that promises faster internet and quicker response times than LTE.

Last month, reports emerged that Apple was delaying the production ramp-up for the new phones as the coronavirus pandemic weakened global consumer demand and threw a wrench into its manufacturing operations across Asia.

Apple traditionally needs to send engineers back and forth from its offices to its factories in China to finalize designs in the lead-up to the product’s release. But the coronavirus has led Apple to restrict employee travel to hotbeds of the disease, including China.