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Headphone Packaging Misses the DfE Boat

By Pamela J. Gordon, CEO of Technology Forecasters Inc

Dec 11, 2014

I bought the new Apple® iPhone® 6 Plus to “dematerialize” what I tote around with me. The 6 Plus screen is 57% larger than my iPhone 4 (now handed down to my 12-year-old), enabling me to be connected and productive without a tablet, laptop, or e-reader.
Use one item instead of four. Less is more. I like it.

But evidently the Design-for-Environment (DfE) principle of “dematerialization” — minimizing overall hardware per functionality, realizing greater convenience, profit, and efficiency — wasn’t atop the California designers’ list when developing the EarPods™ packaging (pictured above). This plastic “storage and travel case” is — from user, business, and eco-design perspectives — difficult to use, costly, and overly sturdy compared to DfE-savvy options. See how.

About the iPhone 6 itself, AppleInsider says it “…introduces an entirely new industrial design that looks and feels not only more modern but [also] more practical and functional.” Agreed. But the EarPods plastic case (used also for the iPhone 5), and could have benefited from DfE in three ways:

- Greater convenience
- Lower Cost of Goods Sold
- More Environmentally Efficient

Unlike the dissolvable EarPods case delivered with the iPod®, the hard-plastic case in my iPhone 6 package looks just the same now as it did yesterday when I submerged it in warm water.

The full story — including specific “DfE to the rescue” recommendations — is published in EBN.

Please share your examples of dematerialization wins and losses at the bottom of the blog, or call me on my new iPhone 6 Plus!






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