Fnac informs its customers that iPhones purchased from January 24 will no longer be accompanied by wired headphones. Other brands, like Xiaomi, are already applying these changes.
Since 2010, with the Grenelle 2 law, France has been the only country in the world making it compulsory to sell a telephone with a wired hands-free kit. Its objective is “to limit the exposure of the head to radioelectric emissions during communicationswhich was quite well received at the time. Later in the same decade, habits changed.
While wired headphones are still widely used, wireless headphones have grown in popularity and have doomed thousands of hands-free kits to a shelf life. Many manufacturers then decided to no longer include them in the box of their devices… except in France where the law makes them compulsory.
In November 2021, France finally decided to put an end to this strange exception. A new law against waste now forces manufacturers to market headphones compatible with their devices… but not to include them with each device sold. The first consequences of this change are coming: Apple and Xiaomi are the first two to say goodbye to compulsory headphones.
Good news for several reasons
Deep down, everyone loves gifts. It’s totally understandable to feel like you’ve been fooled by losing those “free” headphones. However, we believe there are several advantages to this change. Here are a few :
- To comply with the French exception, some brands like Apple deliver the box of an iPhone, which is identical in all countries, in another bigger and all-white box. Given the number of devices sold by the brand each year, the waste of cardboard is significant. The packages are also bigger because of the big box.
- Ecologically, everyone wins. Fewer headphones will be lying around in drawers and manufacturers can deliver more products at once, thanks to smaller boxes (without a large white container). Apple had also indicated that a small gesture of this kind could have an impact similar to that of removing 450,000 cars from the roads.
- A large majority of consumers already have headphones at home or have acquired wireless headphones, such as AirPods.
- Wired headphones offered by manufacturers are often of average quality. Some want to comply with the law but have little interest in sound.
- Some brands, like Google or OnePlus, have had a habit of not offering headphones in boxes for several years. Because of their smaller logistics capacities 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 several. This constraint comes from the fact that it only manufactures French boxes for a single model. Thanks to this change, the French should soon have more choices.
- Finally, it is also good news in the face of stock shortages. French models no longer have to be different from German models. Resellers may soon fare a little better despite the shortage of components.
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.
- Terminal prices do not drop despite the loss of an accessory.
Which manufacturers concerned?
For now, only Xiaomi and Apple seem to be affected by these changes. The Chinese manufacturer confirmed to us to apply this new rule with all its smartphones (until the flow of its old stocks) while Apple does not reveal any details on its calendar, but highlights its ecological fights and its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
Logic would dictate that Samsung, which applies the same logic in other countries, would get rid of 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.