I’ve been writing stories about Apple products for longer than I care to enumerate here, and have always been agog over the sheer creativity that’s associated with its product design. Too expensive, yes. Too heavy, absolutely. Self-indulgent, probably. But my second-hand, three-year-old PowerBook G4 notebook still draws comments (not all of them negative) at the very business-oriented industry conferences where I lug it, and it still serves me well. I am very biased, and I admit it.
My main knock against Apple lately has been that its astonishing design hasn’t been all the eco-conscious compared with its rivals like Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Lenovo and Dell. That's why you rarely see product mentions in this particular blog venue, but its latest product launch is worth some props even though this blog network has covered the technology ad nauseaum.
That's because the new MacBook models, which are made out a “unibody” recyclable piece of aluminum, meet all the corporate check-box features for the Energy Star 4.0 and EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) Gold levels of recognition.
The materials these notebooks are made out of were selected with attention to eliminating hazardous materials such as PVCs and brominated flame retardants. Doubtless, this all helps in the manufacturing process, too. The LED displays use at least 30 percent less energy than previous models and are arsenic-free and mercury free (which is supposedly an industry first, but I’m not so sure). Another green bonus in the design comes from the integrated NVIDIA GeForce graphics technology, which give a user the flexibility to ratchet down power consumption if appropriate.
So, generally speaking, Apple notebook owners who happen to have an interest in sustainability and green technology can now feel a little less guilty about indulging although it will probably still cost them more than if they opted for another "green" computer.
Personally, I’m too frugal (cheap) to abandon my current notebook for something that starts at $1,600 in a comparable configuration, although at some point in the coming months I guess I’m going to have to admit it’s probably less environmentally friendly to keep this old one chugging along than it is to get a new one. Here are a gazillion and one new details about the new notebooks.
The notebooks aren't the only place where Apple is trying to respond to the green tech critics. Its new 24-inch, back-lit LED desktop display may be a precursor to where the company will go with its integrated iMacs in the future.
The LED Cinema Display, which retails for $899, integrates an iSight video camera, microphone and speakers. Like the new MacBooks, the display ditches the mercury and arsenic and much of it is recyclable. It also dispenses with brominated flame retardants and PVC, and it is Energy Star 4.0 and EPEAT Gold-rated.