Just when I had convinced myself I could live for at another year with my mother's cast-off PowerBook, the ever-charismatic Steve Jobs has to go and do it again: Introduce a teeny tiny little Mac notebook that will both give my middle-aging shoulders (not QUITE middle-aged please) shoulders a break, fit into way cuter (read fashionable) briefcases than I ever dreamed of, AND appeal to my desire to green-ify my gadgets as quickly as possible.
Yes, dear readers, the MacBook Air notebook that most Mac addicts are drooling over actually is the company's greenest computer ever. And this is where things get interesting. Not only is this the world's thinnest notebook, which is certain to get the attention of business travelers, but it was designed to be marvelously energy-efficient—lasting up to five hours on a battery charge. Other standard features: Intel Core 2 Duo processors running at either 1.6Ghz or 1.8Ghz, 2 Gbytes of memory, an 80G-byte 1.8 inch hard drive, and support for 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless and Bluetooth 2.1. A 64G-byte solid state drive is optional. The starting price tag is $1,799 and the first systems are supposed to be available within the next couple of weeks.
Here are five reasons this little green Apple makes for a great green tech story:
1. It is made out of aluminum, which has plenty of recycling potential if you don't choose to donate the computer to some who probably would really be happy to have it after you.
2. The 13.3-inch widescreen display is LED-backlit (meaning it's less power-hungry) AND it is Apple's first LCD to be entirely mercury- and arsenic-free. (OK, I'll admit it, I didn't even realize there is arsenic in displays. So, basically, I've been lugging around at least two forms of poison for at least the last 10 years of my working life.)
3. I already mentioned that this system use less power than other Macintosh notebooks. If you are a PowerBook or MacBook owner, I'm betting that you, like me, have bemoaned your system's tendency to suck up a battery charge.
4. Most of the circuit boards are made from flame-retardant material and the internal cables of PVC-free.
5. The notebook's box is made entirely out of 100 percent post-consumer recycled material.
What is the MacBook Air missing? No optical drive for one thing, and I'm sure some other stuff will become apparent when the major reviews come out and people really bang on this thing.
Apple's green tech record has been kinda disappointing to people like me who equate the company with innovation of all sorts. I'm thrilled to see this product and hope that it likewise inspires a cavalcade of lightweight notebooks designed with a heightened environmental sensibility. The way I figure it, the next two years will bring a wave of green tech leadership at the notebook and desktop level.
So, how about it? What am I missing? Tell me about green tech notebooks that will rock our world.