A rumor earlier this year suggested that Apple might not include headphones with the iPhone 12, and now code found within the new iOS 14.2 beta seems to back that rumor up.
In iOS 14 as well as previous versions, Apple said that you could use the "supplied headphones" to reduce your exposure to RF energy. However, the folks at MacRumors noticed that with iOS 14.2 beta 2, Apple has removed the word "supplied", suggesting that there won't be any headphones included with the iPhone 12 series.
Here's the new statement in the iOS 14.2 beta that's missing the word "supplied":
"To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, headphones, or other similar accessories."
This is a small change, but it is another piece of evidence that suggests that Apple is planning to not include headphones in the iPhone 12 box. A report earlier this year suggested that that will be happening, and this month Apple began removing accessories from its new mobile devices by pulling the power adapter from the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE to help reduce the impact on the environment.
Apple ships a lot of iPhones, and so removing the headphones and possibly the power adapter from the box of the iPhone 12 could help to cut down on packaging and environmental waste. Bluetooth headphones have grown in popularity in recent years, which could help to make Apple's decision easier. It's also been rumored that Apple could heavily discount AirPods this holiday season to make up for excluding wired headphones in the new iPhones.
Would you care if your next new phone didn't include headphones or a power adapter in the box?