Apple ends a tradition held since 1977 with new 2024 iPad Pro, iPad Air 6

Apple stickers alongside an iPhone 3GS
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re hoping to see a fresh set of stickers in the box when your new iPad Air or iPad Pro arrives, we’ve got some bad news for you.

In a memo to Apple Store staff seen by 9to5Mac, the company explained that its new iPad Air 6 and M4 iPad Pro won’t come packaged with stickers. This is just one small change made in aid of the company’s environmental goal to be plastic-free by 2030.

However, in a counterintuitive move, the memo also mentions that Apple Store staff will have a limited set of stickers available for those who buy the new iPads.

In the grand scheme of Apple’s environmental efforts, this makes sense — even if it spells the end of a nearly 50-year tradition that began with the Apple II computer. Regardless, the end of stickers only adds to the list of what the company killed at its ‘Let Loose’ event on May 7.

Sticking to its environmental goal, whatever it takes

Opening the box of a new Apple product is arguably as exciting as switching it on for the first time. It always felt fun to rip the seal and remove one of Apple's best Macs or iPads from its cardboard enclosure. Yet the most exciting part of the unboxing process, for many, was getting a fresh set of stickers.

The first Apple stickers launched in 1977 with the Apple II, one of the first Apple computers. Apple included stickers as a small way to help build up a sense of brand loyalty with its customers, trying to gain a foothold as the underdog in a market dominated by IBM.

It was also smart advertising — stickers can be placed wherever you want — from a backpack to a Nintendo Switch console.

Of course, we live in different times now, with Apple recently reporting revenue of $90 billion for the last quarter it can’t really be seen as the underdog these days. Yet the company is serious about achieving its 2030 environmental goal, which will mean some long-held traditions, like stickers, will have to go. It’s the end of an era, but it also marks a new chapter: helping Mother Nature, whatever it takes.

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Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.