Is Apple being cheap with its latest phones?

Look around the internet and you’ll find articles like this one on Yahoo Finance. They center around the same two sad old tropes:

  • Apple doesn’t include a fast charger with their phones.
  • Apple doesn’t include a USB-C cable with their phones.

You’ll also find this new one:

  • Apple doesn’t even send the $7 adapter to let you use any headphones, since they got rid of the headphone jack.

All of those things happen to be true. So why do I call them sad old tropes? Let’s dig in.

First of all let’s be honest.

Yes, I admit it. It’s really kind of silly that Apple phones don’t come with a fast charger.  Fast charging shouldn’t even be called fast charging at this point, it should just be called “charging” and anything less should be called “slow charging.” No one wants to wait 2 hours for their phone to charge.

As far as the headphone dongle, you can call it saving the Earth if you want but really it’s kid of a bad deal that they get rid of the headphone jack and don’t give you a way to deal with that. But I get it, wired headphones aren’t cool.

As far as the USB-C connection, well that’s only silly if you have something like a Macbook which only has USB-C connections. Most PCs still have plently of USB-A connections and you don’t need USB-C if you don’t want it.

But, it’s also worth saying that using a fast charging power supply and a USB-C cable is the only way to get the absolute fastest charging. That will really move you up a level in the charging game. If that’s what’s important to you, then yep, you need that USB-C to Lightning cable and Apple’s pretty much the only company that sells them. We don’t even sell them. Apple has said they will soon allow the “Made for iPhone” tag to be applied to third-party USB-C to Lightning cables but they don’t yet.

If you really want the fastest possible charging you do actually need to pay about $85 to Apple. But is that really important?

Isn’t wireless charging the whole point anyway?

So ok we’ve reached the point in 2018 where we know our phones probably won’t last the day anyway if we use them the way we want to. That’s why we have fast chargers so you can put your phone on your desk and charge it or wireless powerbanks that make it easy to walk around with extra capacity when you want it.

No one complains that Apple doesn’t give you a wireless charger. Why? Because you want to choose the one you want. And before Apple had wireless charging, everyone whined about that.

Wireless charging is really the only charging most folks care about. Putting a higher wattage charger in the box would just be one more thing people wouldn’t use most of the time. If you do want that ultra-fast charging instead of wireless charging, you’ll pay. And really there’s only one problem with that:

Apple’s pricing is absurd.

It is patently ridiculous that Apple charges $85.00 for the combination of a 30-watt power adapter and a USB-C to Lightning cable. I do get that the cable has to be beefed up a little to handle 30 watts. Normal Lightning cables will carry 12 watts at most. But go ahead and tell me that this cable, which costs about half what Apple’s costs, couldn’t handle the wattage. I won’t believe you. As far as 30 watt power supplies, the internet’s full of them and so is our site. It’s true that few of them have a USB-C output but you can’t tell me that makes the thing cost twice as much. Yes Apple’s little power brick is cute but it’s not that cute.

Realistically Apple should be selling this charging kit for about $40. That’s still not like giving it away for free, but it puts it in the same ballpark as a quality fast-charging wireless solution and people wouldn’t complain.

How to charge almost as fast for about a quarter of the price

This wall charger gives you 2.4 amp, 5 volt output (12 watts) and uses the Lightning cable you already have.  No that’s not going to give you the ultimate fast charge but it’s going to get you charging about twice as fast as the typical wireless fast charger. That’s still fast enough to get you close to a full charge in half an hour or so on most phones.

So is Apple cheap, or not?

You would think that a $1,500 phone would come with all the accessories. I hear you. But if you’re the sort of person who is going to lay down that kind of coin you’re going to be picky about what you use. You’re going to choose your headphones carefully. You’re going to pick the charger that makes sense for you.

Apple doesn’t include the top-of-the-line charger or wireless headphones but they do give you enough to get going. By the way, they also don’t give you a case or a screen protector and most folks seem to think those are pretty important too. But we somehow understand that buying those things separately, so we can have the exact ones we want, is fine. Why don’t people realize that the same logic should apply to premium chargers and headphones.

Let’s face the truth here and admit that no one “needs” a $1,500 phone. You can get by just fine with one for $150 or even $15 if you shop around. If you’re plunking down that kind of change, you’re a picky person who should have exactly what you want. Choosing the right charger and headphones isn’t so much to ask.

Although seriously, Apple, dude, put in a 12 watt charger and ditch the 5 watt one. You want to talk about a waste… that’s a waste.


Thanks to Signal Pro Brad who contributed to this article.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.