back to article Nutter bans Apple purchases over environmental fudging

The city authorities of San Francisco have banned departmental purchases of Apple hardware after Cupertino dropped out of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) green-standards scheme. "We are disappointed that Apple chose to withdraw from EPEAT," Melanie Nutter, director of San Francisco's Department of …

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  1. Rab Sssss
    Flame

    so headline is full of shit then?

    Kit needs cert for purchases to made by orgs, Apple withdrawsfrom getting kit certified and its not down to them causing this?

    Apple brought this on themselves for withdrawing from a set of standards.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so headline is full of shit then?

      I suggest you re-read the article, this time paying special attention to the name of the spokesperson...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: so headline is full of shit then?

        @AC - Nah, reading the article gets in the way of righteous indignation and the desperate rush to be first-to-post. It's taken me this long 'cause I had to clean the snot out of the keyboard and pause to reflect on the many virtues of nominative determinism.

    3. LarsG
      Facepalm

      Well

      It is California, nuff said.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so headline is full of shit then?

      The Implication of the Headline is Full of shit.

      personally I see why it was done, but, I don't like it.

      Perhaps "You don't have to be a Nutter to ban apple kit, but..." then starting with "Emily Nutter bans....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good

    Maybe this will make the US consider RoHS and WEEE so those of us in the EU don't have to certify and keep paying for all these pieces of paper (EPEAT is self-certification, rarely checked)

    Having different electromagnetic "standards" (CE, FCC,...) is bad enough.

    EPEAT says nothing about mobile devices (phones or tablets) anyway and won't for at least another 4 years, so it's already out of touch with reality.

  3. Quxy
    Pint

    "Nutter"?

    I see what you did there -- have a pint on me, mate. And here I was expecting it to be a piece by Lewis...

    1. Lloyd
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Nutter"?

      I concur, it did really come across as a Lewis title didn't it? Lacking somewhat in the "wibble" department but plenty of barking at the moon about it.

  4. Rab Sssss

    Missed that.

    see title...from the article its about latest mac book pros anyhow, not phones or tablets.

    1. chris lively

      Re: Missed that.

      Technically, phones and pads never got certification to begin with. So those purchases should already have been banned.

  5. Karl H
    Thumb Up

    Melanie's not so mad after all

    IF Melanie Not-so-Nutty also added that whilst Apple stuff is very shiny it is ultimately well overpriced, with non standard keyboards to wind up the non-fan-boys, and a control freak nature and screw industry standards attitude (okay we still need to see how it pans out in the AJ (After Jobs) era ) and that is why she's banned them from being purchased , THEN she would have really impressed me ..

    Mind you I'm not sure if I'm really much of a fan of Governments (and its agencies) banning things other than the obvious misdemeanors, like murder.

    ( waiting to get downvoted by the deluded fan boys )

    Karl.

    1. Beer_M0nster
      Pint

      If we're defining time based on Mr Jobs then...

      My vote for the acronym would be "post Jobs" or PJ.

      Has a certain ring to it and it might upset a few fanboys as well.

      We've just starting being in the PJs

  6. Sean Timarco Baggaley
    FAIL

    @Karl H:

    "with non standard keyboards..."

    The good thing about the IT industry is that it has so many standards...

    You do know that the Mac keyboard has been around since 1984, right? It hasn't changed.

    The current Windows keyboard—with that "Windows" key and the "context menu" key—has only been around since 1995. Which one is "non-standard", again?

    A for "well overpriced", can you show me a tablet that has at least the same specs as the iPad 3, but which costs substantially less? (Hint: No, you don't get to arbitrarily assume I "don't need" a particular feature. It must be AT LEAST as good as the iPad 3. Including the display.)

    1. Steve Knox Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: @Karl H:

      (Hint: No, you don't get to arbitrarily assume I "don't need" a particular feature. It must be AT LEAST as good as the iPad 3. Including the display.)

      Translation: I am a fanboi who actually believes than an insane resolution is an absolute necessity. Apple told me to think different, so I think exactly what they tell me. I'm different!

    2. Oninoshiko

      Re: @Karl H:

      actually, the mac keyboard has changed a number of times since 1984.

      The old ones didn't make my hands twist into little balls of pain.

      Ergonomics, ya, we've heard of it!

    3. John Bailey
      Boffin

      Re: @Karl H:

      "The good thing about the IT industry is that it has so many standards...

      You do know that the Mac keyboard has been around since 1984, right? It hasn't changed.

      The current Windows keyboard—with that "Windows" key and the "context menu" key—has only been around since 1995. Which one is "non-standard", again?"

      The one that more than a single brand uses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The one that more than a single brand uses.

        Please tell me what other brands of Microsoft Windows I can buy?

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: The one that more than a single brand uses.

          Microsoft Windows is not a brand of keyboard.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The one that more than a single brand uses.

            Are we comparing keyboards or layouts?

            The Mac kbd layout is only relevant to the Mac OS

            Windows kbd layout only relevant to Windows

            I can buy keyboards with Mac layouts from a number of manufacturers

            I can buy keyboards with Windows layouts from a number of manufacturers

            So, the difference is - what exactly?

            1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

              Re: The one that more than a single brand uses.

              The question was which is non-standard.

              How many machines use a UK keyboard with the windows keys, how many use ones with the Mac? As the former is likely to be higher that's the de-facto standard.

              Simples.

              Oh and the Windows keyboard layout isn't only relevant to Windows, neither really is the Mac layout. The point being (as an example) what do most users expect to see when they hit Shift+2? Is it an @ symbol or a double quote?

              Realistically, though, it makes bugger all difference. The OP claiming that it's 'windows' keyboards that are non-standard on the basis that Mac have used the same(ish) layout for longer isn't exactly accurate though is it?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @Karl H:

      Have a look at a normal UK keyboard, then a mac UK keyboard, yup they're non standard alright.

  7. LinkOfHyrule
    Joke

    Does this mean that while Apple portable products are sleek on the outside, inside they're an unsightly mess of huge blobs of glue, looking like a self-assembly Sinclair product made by a 'nutter' with a glue gun? I bet the glue blobs have rounded corners though!

    1. Mister_C
      Boffin

      your bet

      "I bet the glue blobs have rounded corners though"

      <pedant>

      They'd be glue prisms if they had sharp corners or edges

      </pedant>

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    A suggestion to El Reg:

    ...disable comments on any article including the word 'Apple'. This includes incidental usage, such as, "An IT contractor who says he failed to arrive at work due to sickness from eating too many apples has sued etc etc" - most likely there will still be a flamewar among people who only saw the word itself.

    This would prevent the unwary or momentarily-thoughtless from accidentally stumbling onto utterly worthless sludgepiles of comments like this.

    1. Lallabalalla
      Thumb Down

      Re: A suggestion to El Reg:

      But then I'd have nothing to read at lunchtime. Spoilsport!

    2. J P
      Stop

      Re: A suggestion to El Reg:

      But David W. ... won't you spare a thought for the popcorn sellers?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impact on sales?

    According to the Beeb, the city of San Francisco (who have instigated the purchase ban) spent $45,579 on Macs last year. About £25,000 or approx 10 decent spec new Macbooks.

    I'm pretty sure the Apple shareholders won't be weeping over the loss of the sale of 10 laptops, especially since the waiting lists are so long that if you order anything other than a base spec Macbook 15" today you are looking at a mid-August delivery.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Devil effect

      The "Halo Effect" was often quoted as being a massive boost for Apple. Apple appearing to be unfriendly to the environment, businesses, and governments could just as easily have the opposite effect. People are familiar with the computer they use at work, and people like to buy familiar looking computers. Apple also has strong sales in with people who will wonder what happens to discarded devices that can't be taken apart for recycling.

      MacOS 10.7 jumped the shark, 10.8 nukes the fridge, and the Apple "Pro" lines aren't looking very professional any more. I think there's an opportunity for another OS to rise.

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Impact on sales?

      Except Canada, NZ , OZ and the US government require this cert.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impact on sales?

        Halo effect? You've got to factor in the SF City Council's belief that it has worldwide jurisdiction over businesses that operate in its city. 10-15 years ago it attempted to require airlines to sign up to its codes on treatment of gay employees and implement them worldwide with the threat that if they didn't then they would be banned from SF international airport. Similarily they often make adherence to there operating conditions a requirement for getting city contracts. So could have (at least at the SF City councillor posturing level) more of an effect that 10 laptops!

  10. urapns2

    EPEAT also specifies things that have no meaning with respect to Apple. e.g. Housing must have 25% recycled plastics, EPEAT standards are stuck in the past +5 years ago...

    1. Jiminy
      Facepalm

      so claim you have 100% recycled plastics then, it would be perfectly true or just write N/A on the form.

      You still have to do the paperwork, you can't just ignore government mandated standards and expect no consequences

  11. Thing

    Ban em all

    I remember my university print-shop used Apple Macs being 'arty' designer types (or at least suffering from the delusion of being 'arty' designer types). The only problem with this was that every other computer on the entire campus was a PC. Since the university print-shop insisted on only taking documents in a format that no other computer on campus was capable of generating, all students had to nip round the corner and pay in a private print-shop or in the public library.

    I haven't used one since, just on principle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ban em all

      When I was in "silicon valley" 10-15 years ago another ex-pat colleague said once how they'd been surprised at how much Apple kit there was at their kids school ... until at some point they got a class list and discovered from the parent names that while one of the class known by her mothers surname the father's surname was Wozniak!

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Ban em all

        Yes, and Woz bought all of it with his own money, and gave it to the school. He doesn't take freebies from Apple, on the fairly solid grounds that he's a multimillionaire and can afford to buy the stuff (and also, that doing so feeds back into Apple's sales).

        But Apple have always been strong in what the Americans call the "K-12" market (kindergarten to twelfth grade, kind of primary school to GCSE, I suppose). Back in the 1980s, Macs made a lot of sense for schools - they could be networked cheaply, administered easily, and they were pretty hard for students to break permanently. Plus they had a decent range of software that was easy enough to use that it could be easily repurposed for school use.

        (Oh, and there were fewer anti-piracy measures, which is good for teachers)

        1. Don Jefe
          Meh

          Re: Ban em all

          It is a MUCH deeper issue than ease of administration. Apple has almost given away their products to schools for nearly three decades and they have 10 year no interest financing as well. I served on our local school board for eight years and the financing was the ONLY reason we bought Mac's.

          Apple have been aiming their products at children for a long, long time. They hooked them early & those kids are still buying the stuff for no better reason than it is what they know.

          1. chr0m4t1c

            Re: Ban em all

            Yeah, they learnt that trick off MS, I expect, who learnt the same trick from DEC, who probably learnt the trick from someone like IBM.

            Certainly, DEC would more or less gift machines to educational establishments that were known for turning out business leaders and systems analysts (as designers/architects were known). They knew that if someone knows your stuff inside out, they'll probably know how to make a solution out of it and will recommend it - it doesn't matter if your competitor offers a better solution, they won't know for certain and they won't take the chance.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ban em all

            If you go back, Apple have had a hold on the design market because going back 20/25 years there wasn't anything else to match them. The Amiga dominated the video market, the Atari ST dominated music and the Mac dominated design. Meanwhile PC's were for spreadsheets. It's just the way it was. I've seen musicians go misty eyed over the memories of their old Atari ST CuBase setups so this stuff can be deeply ingrained.

            The Amiga and ST fell by the wayside (more to do with both Commodore and Atari being totally inept) but the Mac still has that hold it did back in the early 1990's when it was the only realistic option. It's something that has been built up ever since Quark was first launched on the Mac in the late 80's. The Mac having a hold over the design industry has nothing to do with cheap computers in schools. That's simply about flogging Macbooks.

            These days you can use Mac or PC. Doesn't make many odds. But that historical link is there. Macs are what designers traditionally like to use. Just as they used to say "nobody ever got sacked for buying IBM", no designer has ever got sacked for buying Apple.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ban em all

      That's what happens if you insist on using MS Publisher.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: Ban em all

      Love or hate macs, it seems odd to punish Apple for poor planning on your school's part.

      Also, I have to wonder about the 'out of principle' thing. Does that mean that there were situations where they would better suit the task at hand, but you chose the less-ideal alternative out of spite for a decision made by school administrators 15 years ago?

      If not, then your principle has presumably not required any alteration in your behavior, and so is hardly a test of morals. For instance, I have a principle of not cheating on my wife with Scarlett Johansen, but the fact that I have yet to do so is not necessarily due only to my iron will.

      Also I think my wife might be OK with it if I let her seduce the guy who played Thor in 'The Avengers'. I might still have to reject the deal, though - I'd hate for her to be disillusioned with Thor, having already been with me.

      Where was I?

      1. Thing
        Devil

        Re: Ban em all

        'Does that mean that there were situations where they would better suit the task at hand'

        Nope... never.

        I am not punishing them for someone else's poor planning because that would suggest my UNIVERSITY had a plan. I am punishing them because I do not want to be associated with the army of self-satisfied, sandle-wearing, hipster drones which they have cultivated via their marketing (and in which my university print shop had apparently enlisted).

  12. Andy Gates

    ifixit have been calling Apple out on this for ages: stuff glued together that can't be easily repaired or stripped down is bad design. From a corporate POV it sucks that we can't replace batteries or fix cracked screens; from a longterm POV it sucks that the parts can't be separated pre-landfill.

    EPEAT isn't silly at all, and Apple are presumably using their cool capital to bull round it.

    Shiny landfill-bait is bad industrial design.

  13. MJI Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Glued batteries and screens

    Instant scrap when they should be repairable. Scrap your computer because the battery has failed? or the screen failed?

    Ridiculous.

    1. Ivan Headache

      Re: Glued batteries and screens

      I don'r know the answer.

      How do you recycle a Li-On battery? What can you do with it?

      Secondly, how do you recycle a display panel?

      As far as I can see they go into the skip.

      Enlightening answers only please.

      1. Don Jefe
        Meh

        Re: Glued batteries and screens

        EPEAT isn't just recycling, it also deals with safe handling of non-recycle parts at end of lifecycle. Screens & especially batteries are hazardous so you can't just bin them but in the case (see what I did there) of Apple you can't easily seperate the recyclable parts from the hazardous so their products don't meet the requirements.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glued batteries and screens

        Yes, why don't we just put all those rare metals like indium and lithium in land-fill, we can always make more can't we?

      3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Glued batteries and screens

        How about I google that for you?

        http://www.batteryrecycling.com/battery+recycling+process

        I leave you to find an example of how display panels are recycled.

        1. Ivan Headache
          Thumb Up

          Re: Glued batteries and screens

          Thanks for that.

          Have a point

          I would have given you to points but....

          Anyway It appears to be quite an expensive process.

  14. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Mushroom

    EU recycling

    What would be lovely to have would be a ruling under the EU recycling directive that mandated that all IT (and phone) equipment batteries had to be user replaceable for the equipment to be saleable in the EU.

    Just imagine the howls from Apple if users were able to open their devices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EU recycling

      It is mandated, under the 2006 battery directive that it must be easy for consumers to remove batteries from electronic products and it requires member states to maximize the separation of batteries from regular municipal waste and requires spent batteries to be collected separately

      Apple for some reason seem to be immune to this law as they haven't been prosecuted.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        Re: EU recycling

        >Apple for some reason seem to be immune to this law as they haven't been prosecuted.

        My N8 doesn't have an easily removable battery, my Phillips toothbrush doesn't have an easily removable battery, the Droid RAZR doesn't have an easily removable battery, etc., etc.

        Ain't just Apple, take the rose-tinted glasses off.

        In reality, I expect there is an exception made where something falls under WEEE, whereby the manufacturer has to accept the return of equipment (at zero cost) and must perform all of the recycling appropriately.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          @chr0m4t1c

          N8's battery can be removed with nothing more esoteric than a small Torx screwdriver.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af__wk2-5dw

          Granted, the E7, N9, Lumia 8/900 make you perform iPhone-like horrors to remove the battery from.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EU recycling

      So I'm supposed to give up my Sansa Clip, which I love particularly due to its near-invisibility, because someone else has decided what I want? Bullshit!

      If I want to buy something with a sealed battery, it's my own damn business. If you want to account for environmental impact, fine, build it into the price or make me pay tro dispose of it at EOL. But don't fucking tell me what I'm allowed to buy because -you- get pissed off about batteries.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EU recycling

        How about you fuck off and realise that people don't want their water table poisioning by toxic metals just because you didn't want to take the battery out. You really are not that important.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: EU recycling

          "How about you fuck off and realise that people don't want their water table poisioning by toxic metals just because you didn't want to take the battery out. You really are not that important."

          If I'm not, then you aren't either. Did you miss the bit where I said that I was fine with taking responsibility for the environmental costs - which presumably would include safe disposal - or did you ignore that so you could fire off a quick insult?

  15. ukgnome Silver badge
    Joke

    Surely to make them green they just need to plant a few orchards?

  16. cortland
    FAIL

    So how DOES Apple

    make the Macbook meet WEEE? Eh? Or are they writign off all of the EU too?

  17. hexx

    It's easier if I just point to this article rather than rephrase it in my own words:

    http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/07/10/apple-responds-to-epeat-concerns/

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      So basically

      blah blah blah blah we achieve higher standards blah blah blah EPEAT is crap blah blah blah

      Wouldn't call it a response to the concerns particularly. I'd say they've made a statement that completely ignores the areas where they are failing (as far as EPEAT is concerned).

      1. hexx

        nope, what it says is that EPEAT is a bit out of date and doesn't cover products which are the main source of Apple's revenue - that's in the nutshell

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Which would be a statement but not much of a response. They haven't exactly given any clarification around the actual issue have they? All they've said is EPEAT's old, doesn't cover this doesn't cover that, whilst failing to address the fact that the products that are covered don't comply.

          It's not a response, it's a bullshit canned statement.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for San Fran!

    .. though, of course anyone buying Apple toys for Govt should have been sacked anyway

  19. David Kelly 2

    Better Than Recycling

    Don't you think it is far better to make a product that doesn't need to be disposed every few years than to make one that is "easy" to recycle?

    Gluing battery and display in place is a problem for the limited minds of EPEAT bureaucrats? Techniques which make for longer lasting and higher quality product?

    Good for Apple. Someone has to make a stand.

    1. hexx
      Thumb Up

      Re: Better Than Recycling

      thanks god somebody sees it this way

    2. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Re: Better Than Recycling

      XP pc in service for 10 years vs Mac that has to be disposed of because vendor refuses to support after 3 (was even less when they killed PPC).

      We have to dispose of Apple kit every few years as they can't be upgraded to the next OS version.

      Your point does not ring true in the real world.

      1. Ivan Headache

        Re: Better Than Recycling

        But also in the real world there are 10 year old macs still working fine without the need for constant upgrading.

        I'll be sitting at one shortly.

        If it does the job you want it to do and it hasn't broken, why upgrade?

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Better Than Recycling

          Don't you think it is far better to make a product that doesn't need to be disposed every few years than to make one that is "easy" to recycle?

          Gluing battery and display in place is a problem for the limited minds of EPEAT bureaucrats? Techniques which make for longer lasting and higher quality product?

          Gluing battery and display in makes for a longer lasting and higher quality product? Shit you must be smoking some good stuff, I presume the same stuff that Time/Tiny were smoking when they released their 'Glue-gun enhanced' PC's.

          I completely agree it's better to make something that lasts BTW, but I'd say I've a better chance of making something last if the parts are easily replaceable. I.e. not glued in!

  20. john 112

    the battery is glued in place

    So the person who designed my old GM (model redacted) car to require the engine be hoisted to replace the thermostat moved to cupertino after the bankruptcy?

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: the battery is glued in place

      I had to lift a cylinder head to change mine, I was doing it anyway (valve stem seals), the bolt holding the pipe to the head had rounded off.

      Was yours a V6?

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