Fnac informs its customers that iPhones purchased from January 24 will no longer be accompanied by wired headphones. Other brands, such as Xiaomi, are already applying these changes.
Since 2010, with the Grenelle 2 law, France is the only country in the world that makes it compulsory to sell a phone with a wired hands-free kit. His goal is “to limit head exposure to radioelectric emissions during communicationswhich was very well received at the time. Later in the same decade, habits changed.
While wired headsets are still widely used, wireless headsets have grown in popularity, dooming thousands of hands-free kits to life. Many manufacturers then decided not to include them in the box of their devices anymore… except in France where the law makes them mandatory.
In November 2021, France finally decided to put an end to this strange exception. A new anti-waste law now forces manufacturers to market headphones compatible with their devices… but not to include them with every device sold. The first consequences of this change are coming: Apple and Xiaomi are the first two to say goodbye to mandatory headphones.
Good news for several reasons.
Deep down, everyone loves gifts. It’s completely understandable to feel like you’ve been cheated out of losing those “free” headphones. However, we believe that this change has several advantages. Here are some:
- To comply with the French exception, some brands such as Apple deliver an iPhone box, which is identical in all countries, in a larger, completely white box. Given the number of devices sold by the brand each year, cardboard waste is significant. The packages are also larger due to the large box.
- Ecologically, everyone wins. There will be fewer headsets in drawers, and manufacturers can deliver more products at once, thanks to smaller boxes (no big white bin). Apple had also indicated that such a small gesture could have an impact similar to taking 450,000 cars off the road.
- A large majority of consumers already have headphones at home or have purchased wireless headphones, such as AirPods.
- Wired headphones offered by manufacturers are usually of average quality. Some want to comply with the law but have little interest in sound.
- Some brands, such as Google or OnePlus, have been in the habit of not offering headphones in boxes for several years. Due to their smaller logistics capabilities than other brands, they often had to sacrifice the French market. For example, Google is launching a single color of its Pixels in France, while other European countries have multiple. This restriction stems from the fact that it only makes French cases for a single model. Thanks to this change, the French should soon have more options.
- Finally, it is also good news due to the shortage of stock. French models no longer have to be different from German models. Resellers will soon be doing a bit better despite component shortages.
Of course, we could also mention other more negative points:
- People who buy a smartphone for the first time will need to buy headphones to listen to music or make calls.
- The prices of the terminals do not go down despite the loss of an accessory.
Which manufacturers in question?
For now, only Xiaomi and Apple seem to be affected by these changes. The Chinese manufacturer confirmed to us that it applies this new rule to all its smartphones (until its old stock runs out) while Apple does not reveal any details on its calendar, but highlights its ecological struggles and its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
Logic would dictate that Samsung, which applies the same logic in other countries, ditch the headphones with its Galaxy S22 in February. We are awaiting a response from Fnac to find out more about the other brands that may be affected. As a reminder, chargers have also disappeared from certain brands in 2020.