According to MacRumors, Apple has notified the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) that it is withdrawing its products from the EPEAT registry and will no longer be submitting its products to EPEAT for environmental rating.
The main reason that Apple is ditching EPEAT seems to be that they rate products by criteria such as how easy they are to disassemble.
We all knew that Apple’s products where not easy to disassemble for many years. But nobody seems to remember the very first PowerBook (PB100), which could be completely disassembled by removing just three Phillips screws.
So why has Apple lost this ability to manufacture easily disassembled products?
Critics will point out that an easily disassembled product is also an easily repairable one, which is obviously not good business for Apple. Apple does not want you to keep the same computer for many years. They want to sell you a new one every year if possible.
Apple defenders will say that it is impossible to make hi-tech products like the iPhone and the iPad using traditional manufacturing techniques. These products are far too thin, packed with components to their very limit and with virtually no room for standard screws.
So what’s the truth? is Apple just greedy, or uncompromising in its design choices?
In this case, I have to go with greedy. I don’t see how a company that excels in industrial design and has proven that it can manufacture products which are easily disassembled in the past can fail to design a new product that could be disassembled just as easily.
For us consumers, this probably means that we can expect even less expandable Mac models in the future. Forget upgrading RAM or replacing a hard drive by yourself. If Apple continues down this road, in a few years no Mac model will be designed to last more than the maximum extended warranty period, and the only available upgrades will be the build-to-order options of the Apple Store.
It seems that after all the bad publicity, Apple decided not to dump EPEAT after all. Although the fact that many organizations require EPEAT for their purchases might have something to do with it as well ;-).