Apple has finally scored a few positive points from Greenpeace. The environmental organisation has given the MacBook Air a thumbs up for its eco-friendly qualities. Apple MacBook Air Apple's MacBook Air: green Despite the company previously receiving an uncomplimentary environmental score from Greenpeace, the campaigner …
And yet, this is possibly the first laptop I've come across that features a non user-replaceable battery, resulting in at the very least energy used in shipping the unit back to Apple for replacement, and at worst premature disposal of the technology.
Cost and size are good motivators in making people maintain things. A new iPod battery is $29 and the iPod is small and inexpensive - people are far more likely to risk "trying to fix it" when at worst they lose a $300 last generation gadget they wanted to upgrade anyway. Far more MacBook Airs will reach the end of the battery lifespan during the machine's useful life.
Battery is Fine
In terms of green, it could also be mentioned that the MacBook Air is much more energy efficient than Apple's other laptops.
Richard, It could also be argued that sending the units in to Apple for battery replacement makes it more certain that the original battery would be disposed of properly. Most replacement batteries do not require the return of the spent battery - Apple could enforce that 100%.
The battery is "user-replaceable"
All it requires is a size 0 philips screwdriver and a replacement battery and anyone can do it themselves. It's possible/probable that it would void the warranty (though, who knows for sure yet) and it will require third-parties to produce compatible replacements for you (e.g. OWC most likely will have something at some point), but taking the MBA apart and removing the battery is apparently a trivial exercise:
In other words, for the 90% of people who never (need to) remove the battery in their laptops for the first 2 to 4 years of their lives, it is a non-issue.
on the other hand
On the plus side sending the machine to Apple does mean that the spent batteries will be recycled 100%. We may see over time that these battery replacements could be done in store - that would be idea.
There are advantages to having the battery inside, less casing, better protection for battery and more reliable connection between battery and device. Given that this sort of servicing only needs to be done every 2 -3 years and that many laptops, even with replaceable battery are discarded without ever replacing the battery, it kind of makes sense not to have the battery removable.
Regarding article, it should be also noted that the Macbook Air also consumes much less electricity than a comparable laptop.
Shouldn't void warranty
Well, under certain regulations, taking your kit apart shouldn't void the warranty in Europe at least - as long as you don't break it - but if it's a lot easier to dismantle than the PowerBook or MacBook Pro then I'd agree that it's less of an issue.
Apple in the US offers some incentives for disposing of old computers through them, doesn't it? And Europe will inevitably get around to legislation (far more civil servants can be employed that way) making computer firms responsible for the disposal of the stuff they make, as indeed car makers were supposed to be (oddly enough I've yet to see a "pop your old VW in here for recycling" box at the local dealer, but I expect it's all done with fines and charges).
Perhaps I am just cynical and see Greenpeace wanting to ride the back of publicity for an Apple product the way they did by criticising the iPhone. I didn't see any major press releases regarding the MacBook Pro 15" adoption of LED backlights from them; nor have I see a release from Greenpeace saying that the Dell XPS M2010 is an abomination of a laptop with a 150W PSU, HUGE CCFL-backlit LCD, 8.3Kg weight making it expensive to ship, etc.
My PowerBook battery was dead after 1 1/2 years; it got a lot of plugged in use which may have shortened it.
Funny how Greenpeace like anything "cool". Cool enough, apparently, to ignore the fact that these get shipped by the caseload from china, where the manufacturing processes rate slightly better, in environmental terms, than a Victorian steelworks.
Apparently, as long as they are easy to chuck away, nobody much cares about the impact of making/shipping them in the first place?
I doubt that these are any "better" than most other machines off the line, or in the pipe right now. You don't see Greenpeace rushing to give plaudits to HP or IBM now do you? Nasty big Corporates. Stick to friendly, cuddly, Californian Apple - they're not a nasty big Corporate now are they? ......err......hmmmm.
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