back to article Retina MacBook Pro nukes Apple's green credentials

The tightly packed new Apple MacBook Pro prevents the laptop from meeting requirements laid down by eco-friendly technology catalogue EPEAT. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) announced on Monday that the shiny Retina-display lap warmer is "difficult to disassemble for upgrades, repairs, and recycling …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So basically if you make a product a little harder to disassemble that makes it an un-green product?

    Sounds rather stupid to me, so long as you can get it apart safely then who cares? The important thing is that you don't use too many nasty things to make it.

    Cars have been gradually becoming less green by them having vastly more electronics plus they're a lot harder to work on yet nobody is attacking car makers about that? Why not?

    1. Thomas 18

      read article?

      Did you read the whole article? it says that experienced techies weren't able to remove the battery without puncturing it. That means it cannot "be gotten apart safely".

      Green is not only about assembly and disposal it's also about how easy it is to maintain. Apple products are designed to last till 1 day after the warranty and be as un-user serviceable as possible.

      Hence the big black mark.

      1. toadwarrior

        Re: read article?

        That's a poor measure of how green something is. It's not very friendly to people wanting to replace their own battery but Apple is more than happy to do it for you and they'll also recycle your old mac possibly resulting in a gift card in exchange based on however they determine if it's of any value.

        I would expect them to investigate the whole process and measure actual "green" credentials rather than basing it on whether you can personally replace the battery which may or may not be green. If Apple has to repalce it then it will be taken care of properly. If I can replace it then it may go straight into the bin. The bin man isn't going to sift through my rubbish.

        1. Peter 48

          Re: read article?

          "and they'll also recycle your old mac" - actually EU legislation requires all manufacturers of electronic products to take back their products and recycle them AFAIK, so hardly a green credential for Apple, or anyone else for that matter. If you just bin it you could get fined for incorrect disposal of hazardous waste (any laptop battery) which would cost you up to £5000.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: read article?

            What are you all talking about? Everybody knows that Apple users sell their old Apple equipment on Ebay for 100% of their original purchase price. Or at least that seems to be what they all claim on these forums.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh come on

        So throwing a few thousand of these away is going to destroy the planet? Really?

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >Sounds rather stupid to me, so long as you can get it apart safely then who cares?

      Er, you need to be able to take it apart safely and economically, otherwise people won't bother.

      Regarding your point about cars, many of the changes made to them are in response to ever-changing emissions legislation- that, and High-Pressure diesels don't like untaxed vegetable oil. The faulty logic behind the UK's 'scrappage scheme' resulted in perfectly serviceable and fairly economical cars being destroyed- but the motive was probably more to do with creating and sustaining jobs.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      You can't get it apart safely - you end up with battery goo all over the place. That means when the battery goes, likely to be the first thing to go on it, you can't replace the battery, you have to get a new computer.

      1. Steve Todd

        Yes you can replace the battery

        Take it to an Apple store (or post it to them if there isnt one local) and ask for one to be fitted. $200 IIRC, and they recycle the old one for you.

        1. PsychicMonkey

          Re: Yes you can replace the battery

          no "you" can't replace the battery. Apple techs can for a lump sum.

          It's not the same thing.

          1. toadwarrior

            Re: Yes you can replace the battery

            But if apple has to replace it then it's guaranteed to be taken care of appropriately. Where as your average person can just dump it in the bin which I suspect is more likely to happen.

            That or when it's old give them the whole system to recycle and you may get a gift card back. I assume the "reward" is determined by how old it is though. But it's definitely better than the sweet F.A. you get from Dell for dumping your computer off on someone else as part of their recycling scheme.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yes you can replace the battery

            There is a whole load of stuff you could not replace on your car - either would invalidate warranties, your insurance, type approval etc.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yes you can replace the battery

              "There is a whole load of stuff you could not replace on your car - either would invalidate warranties, your insurance, type approval etc."

              Erm... unless you're replacing with go-fast parts, changing spark plugs, gearboxes, engines et al in no way invalidates insurance. Warranty: Sure... but I've never been fool enough to waste money on a car new enough to have one of those things (not that they are worth the paper that they are written on, of course).

        2. mike2R

          Re: Yes you can replace the battery

          Except by the time you actually need to replace the battery, it will be a "vintage" machine that is no longer supported by Apple stores.

          And that's if you are willing to pay 200 USD for a new battery in the first place.

          Honestly there is no way that non-upgradeability is anything but a bad thing. It will prevent some of these models having their useful life extended down the line, which is bad for the owner even if you don't give a damn about the environment.

          1. Steve Todd

            @Mike2R - Vintage = not supported?

            You need to check your facts better. Apple still stock 2007 and earlier batteries. At an equivalent age a new battery would take you through to 8 or more years old. How long do you expect to keep using a laptop?

            The point I was answering was the claim that dead battery = new laptop, this is patently untrue.

            1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

              Re: @Mike2R - Vintage = not supported?

              8 Years? The battery only lasted about 2 1/2 years on my last lappy, which I used for about 7 years.

            2. mike2R

              Re: @Steve Todd - Vintage = not supported?

              Check out this page:


              Over 5 years is "vintage", Apple has "discontinued hardware service" on them (except in California who apparently told them to go stuff it). Over 7 years is "obsolete" - nothing at all and even service centres can't get parts.

              So if you have to have an Apple supplied part installed by an Apple tech... I deal with a LOT of Mac users, and I know that many of them will find a use for machines of that age and older. Hell I've SOLD machines older than that, and to people who knew exactly what they were buying. Maybe Apple will make an exception for this laptop, but if you'd bet on it then maybe we can talk about this bridge I have for sale :)

              Believe me I'm not a Mac hater, I've worked closely with Apple hardware and Apple users for over 10 years, and as Samuel Vimes might say, I've earned the right to criticise them. And there are rather too many incidents of upgradeability being restricted, or the aligning of various Apple polices force a machine into uselessness before the user is finished with it, for me to believe it is entirely accidental. I'm sure they don't go crying all the way to the bank when a customer buys a new machine earlier than planned...

            3. cortland

              Re: @Mike2R - Vintage = not supported?

              How long would anyone expect to keep using a laptop (or any other computer)? As long as it lasts. I've had to replace a couple of laptop batteries already; they can't be recharged indefinitely. HDD's too have a finite life (better, though IIUC, than current SSD's), which is the reason for backup and restore.

              The biggest issue I see with Apple-only disassembly is that it does not meet the EU recycling mandate in WEEE. But perhaps the EU accept people having to pay for that.

        3. David Barrett

          Re: Yes you can replace the battery

          Soo...$200 for a battery and fitting when I'm perfectly capable of getting one from a third party for a fraction of that price and fitting it myself (or would be if the machine was easily serviceable).

          Sounds more like a way to drum up more money from your customers to me.

          1. Ilsa Loving

            Re: Yes you can replace the battery

            Ignoring of course, all the crappy aftermarket batteries people have used for various electronics like phones and laptops, only to have them explode? And then who invariably gets the heat/lawsuits? The mfg of the product itself, that's who. Not the battery maker, the store selling knock-off batteries, or the dumbass that decided to save a few bucks by buying the cheapest thing they could find.

            While I don't necessarily agree with Apple's policy, I have difficulty faulting them on it. I suspect the only reason other manufacturers haven't done the same is because the majority of their business comes from corporations who insist on products with replaceable components.

            Since Apple doesn't give a damn about corporate customers, they have the flexability to do what they want. And this is just another example of protecting stupid people from themselves.

          2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

            Re: Yes you can replace the battery

            "Soo...$200 for a battery and fitting when I'm perfectly capable of getting one from a third party for a fraction of that price and fitting it myself (or would be if the machine was easily serviceable)"

            Which it isn't, so you can't do it yourself. So your argument makes no sense. I can't upgrade the RAM or flash storage in an Android phone either, but nobody seems to be whining about that.

            Where, exactly, is it engraved in stone that computer MUST have user-serviceable parts inside? They're all consumer electronics now. The days when computers were subject to the likes of geeks and inveterate tinkerers are long over; those people are a tiny, tiny fraction of the market. And they're welcome to just go buy a PC and shove some flavour of Linux or BSD on it.

            Also, the original Wired article (written by an iFixit guy, so hardly unbiased) repeats the myth that the batteries in Apple's laptops are only good for 300 cycles. That hasn't been the case since the very first MacBook Air: the one in my 2010 MacBook Pro is rated for one thousand cycles and, at this rate, will last me another ten years yet. (Remember, that "1000 cycles" figure is when the battery can only hold 80% of its original maximum capacity. It'll still work for some time after that number of cycles has passed.)

            And, as others have pointed out, Apple are legally obliged to recycle all their products themselves, for free, thanks to EU legislation. (They're also obliged to offer a minimum 2-year warranty throughout the EU, no matter what the likes of PC World in the UK believe. And, yes, this applies in the UK too. So I doubt very much that they're deliberately fitting their new computers and devices with batteries that have any chance of expiring with that period—or even the three years of their AppleCare warranty, which they sell for peanuts to educational purchases such as students.)

            As for the industrial-strength glue, I have one word for you: industrial-strength solvents. When you're recycling an old, dead, computer, you're not that fussed about being gentle with it.

    4. PatientOne


      Reduce > Reuse > Recycle.

      That's the proper 'green' motto.

      Reduce means to avoid waste. You could argue that reducing size reduces waste materials, but that is not always true, especially when you realize that that reduction then limits the reuse of the goods: You can not extend their usable life by replacing or upgrading components. And recycling has become harder in the process, too. This is all down to the 'throw away society' we have been forced into: Corporations make money by selling new their latest product, so they do not want you to hang on to that perfectly serviceable older model you have, and so they will find ways to limit the usable life of their products.

      As to cars: Sorry, but you've got that back to front. Cars have been improving because people campaigned. Modern cars (other than electric) are 85%+ recyclable, and they are designed with recycling in mind. This means they're using materials that can be recycled, rather than those that have to go to land fill. They have also been finding ways to recycle more materials, all to improve the 'green' qualification of the motor car. Plus, the manufacture and disposal (cradle to grave) of a car's life is included, and that's been cleaned up a lot over the years.

    5. Peter 48

      Actually, car makers have been investing vast sums of money in ensuring their cars are more easily recyclable, ever since they have become responsible for its end of life handling back in 2007 to quote from an article I found: "The End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) directive (2000/53/EC) applies to cars, vans and some three wheeled vehicles, and means that drivers in the EU can now have their old vehicles disposed of for free. Similar legislation already exists for cars built since 2002, but from the start of January 2007 all cars can now be returned to their car maker for free recycling"

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      EPEAT just like ISO standards is a self perpetuating industry, is work for the sake of work, jobs for the sake of jobs. These organisations produce nothing except a certificate to show you are complying. Every year they add more on to the burden, more cost to businesses who feel they have to comply.

      Its self perpetuation, and now Apple have stuck two fingers at them. The whole Eco standards industry behind EPEAT should worry, when one drops out so could the others. If they all do, the standard becomes meaningless and all the little people working in that industry become nobodies.

      Well don Apple, not for being who you are, but for making a stand against these quango organisations who peddle nothing but crap, meaningless crap at that.

    7. Harthin


      The rating is based on the entire life of the product. If it can't be disassembled then it can't be recycled. Dumping a laptop in a landfill because you can't seperate the battery from the frame makes it pretty damn un-"green".

  2. Thomas 18
    Thumb Up

    We have yet to hear back from Cupertino.

    Heh who didn't see that one coming.

  3. handle

    Dichotomy, eh?

    The Reg shows almost palpable desperation to publish any dubious climate change-denying or anti-green article it possibly can nowadays. But of course it loves getting digs in at Apple at every opportunity. So this must have presented a real dichotomy - until it was solved by the tired old method of putting the word "hippies" in the sub-headline - yet again. So that's alright then.

    1. nigel 15

      Re: Dichotomy, eh?

      Not really. The green issue is one thing.

      But from the perspective of informing the technology consumer there is a fairly obvious point. that if your battery wears out in two years time, which it will, you wont be able to just buy a new one and pop it in.

      1. handle

        @nigel15 - You can't "pop in" batteries anyway

        The batteries aren't designed to be replaceable whether they're glued in or not, so you can't "just buy a new one and pop it in" - it's far harder than that, whatever Apple product you're using.

      2. John Tuffen

        Re: Dichotomy, eh?

        @nigel 15: "... if your battery wears out in two years time, which it will, you wont be able to just buy a new one and pop it in."

        Two years? The battery in my 2006 macbook is still going strong. Hardly 'two years'.

        However, the batteries of various 'pc' (I know, I know) laptops *have* tended to become paperweights in about two years... YMMV of course.

        1. durbans

          Re: Dichotomy, eh?

          The batteries that wear the most are the ones that are constantly plugged in. If you charge and then use your battery off charge it is likely to last much longer. Btw I have a 5 year old laptop whos battery is still good for 2 hours (made by HP) and only costs £50 to replace, which is a job I can do by myself in 2 minutes. Rather than paying £200 for the pleasure of going to an Apple store and having an Apple 'Genius' do it for me. Whilst trying to sell me their latest and greatest kit of course. Sounds like fun.

        2. SteveK

          Re: Dichotomy, eh?

          Hmm. My 2006 Macbook is on its 3rd set of batteries now I believe, with the first set no longer holding any charge after 18 months. Then again, as Apple only support current and one previous version of the OS (now released annually), and since the Core Duo CPU is not supported on anything later than 10.6, means that when 10.8 comes out this month, it likely will not receive any security fixes and so I will be expected to buy a new one. Or just install Windows or Linux on it, as a 2Ghz dual core CPU is still perfectly adequate.

          That's the thing with Apple - forced obsolescence. 10.8 is now dropping support for other models so they probably only have a year before they become unsupported. My < 2 year old first gen iPad won't take IOS6 (and to be honest, before the 5.1 update, IOS5 crippled it as it was intended for the newer devices with more RAM, meaning that even a little amount of web browsing would run the risk of experiencing random 'out of memory' browser crashes - funny, I thought Apple said that Flash was responsible for most browser and OS crashes yet Safari on IOS5.0 would crash repeatedly without it). Yes, it still works, but won't get any new features or updates.

          OK, my Macbook is 6 years old, it probably is due for replacing. But if it still works and still has enough resources to function, why should I be expected to throw it away and get a new one if I want to keep up to date with security fixes? That's hardly a green approach. Microsoft were required to support and provide updates to XP for about 13 years and I believe I read have a policy now of releasing security fixes for 2 years beyond the release of the second subsequent version, or a minimum of 10 years (or something like that) on business products.

          1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

            Re: Dichotomy, eh?


            My < 2 year old first gen iPad won't take IOS6 (and to be honest, before the 5.1 update, IOS5 crippled it as it was intended for the newer devices with more RAM

            Massive design FAIL by crApple then. My last lappy came with 512K ram, I replaced it with 2GB of RAM, all I needed to do that was a small Philips head screwdriver.

            I've also got two batteries for my mini-disk player and I don't even need a screwdriver to change them.

            1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

              Re: Dichotomy, eh?

              "Massive design FAIL by crApple then. My last lappy came with 512K ram,..."

              Massive reading comprehension fail by you, then. SteveK was referring to the Mk. 1 iPad. You know: the one everyone was saying would never catch on and wouldn't sell and which was going to flop.

              Some "design fail".

  4. Alan Denman

    This machine will self destruct in 2 years!

    Bunch of clever b******s aren't they.

    Solder the memory so if it fails $300 or so Apple profit.

    Solder the SSD so if it fails $600 or so Apple profit.

    Glue the whole battery so it is too dangerous to handle when it fails so $200 profit to Apple.

    This item is worse than a $10 tranny which goes straight into the garbage truck when it goes wrong.

    1. joeW

      Re: This machine will self destruct in 2 years!

      AFAIK they aren't soldering in the SSD module (yet) - just using a totally non-standard connector type.

    2. Steve Todd

      Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

      RAM failure? Modern RAM is such dreadfully unreliable stuff isn't it. Why, I've heard that some people can go weeks without it exploding in a shower of sparks. Me, I've not had a RAM failure in the last 10 years. It's a non mechanical part you expect to last well over 5 years.

      SSD? Again non mechanical, but with a known ware rate. If you dont thrash the device 27/7 then it shouldn't be an issue though. It's a socketed component (3rd parties will have the connector cloned long before you need one).

      Battery? OK, this is the most likely part to need replacing. The cost of a 3rd party, custom formed 95Whr isn't going to be dramatically less than Apples battery replacement charge, plus they recycle the old one.

      If you're worried about any of the above then Apple offer to insure repair costs for you for 3 years. You get the first year covered for free.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

        "It's a non mechanical part"

        Our survey says


        of course it's a mechanical part, and as such it is subject to the laws of thermodynamics, and will eventually fail. admittedly not very often, but it will happen.

        puts me in mind of listening to my dad (a tv repair man in the good ol days when such things were worth repairing) mocking a lecturer who explained that with these newfangled transistors - there are no moving parts, and the thermal cycling is so low that they will _never_ fail in service. he used to repeat this every time he replaced a transistor, which was 1/2 dozen times a day for the next 40 years or so.

        it's easy to forget that these amazing digital whizzes we all live with are at the end of the day just electronics, and subject to ohm, coulomb, kirchoff and even thevenin-norton and we are kinda stuck with that until the di-lithium matrix is perfected

        <the author reserves the right to suspend all prior statements with regard to graphene, as fuck knows what boffins will be able to do with that next week>

        1. Tom 38

          Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

          SSDs do not have moving parts and are more reliable than spinning rust. They do have a shortish life time, due to limited write cycles.

          1. Naughtyhorse

            Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

            ONCE AGAIN OUR SURVEY SAYS......

            i think youll find the electrons in the SSDs move.

            <read previous post - it STILL applies, which was kinda the point!>


            1. Tom 38

              Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

              I did the read the previous post, it was full of bullshit. Mechanical devices with moving parts fail quicker than non mechanical devices without moving parts. Just because your dear old dad soldered on blown transistors doesn't make this less true.

        2. toadwarrior

          Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

          Maybe your old man is a con man like many reapir men and builders?

          I've never had ram fail on my including an old win 3.11 machine from '94 which was hit by lightning twice requiring the modem to be replaced twice and the numerous other power outtages it has suffered and worse yet it was a packard bell. My old atari computer still runs too.

          You have to either treat your stuff like shit or be really unlucky to get ram that fails from my experience.

        3. Steve Todd

          @naughtyhorse - it seems that you know rather less about electronics

          than your father did, and his knowledge was less than perfect. A mechanical part requires movement to have an effect. As such it is subject to friction, mechanical wear etc. and has a limited number of operational cycles because of this. Old fashioned mechanical relays are rated for up to 1,000,000 cycles for example, which sounds great until you realise that if a modern CPU had transistors that were only that reliable it would fail after 1/10,000th of a second.

          A solid state part doesn't need any mechanical movement to work. Thermal effects will have an effect on lifespan (and I didn't claim that the parts last forever) but aren't the only failure mode, and for a mobile class device are quite low. Generally once a solid state device has got past its first few months of life (when it's under warranty anyway) failure rates drop off to very low values and you can expect them to last beyond the useful life of the device it is part of (manufacturers quote reliability in terms of millions of hours MTBF).

          SSDs however have basically unlimited read endurance (millions of hours MTBF) but limited write endurance due to the way that pages are erased and then written. They are however socketed so they are replaceable.

          1. Naughtyhorse

            Re: @naughtyhorse - it seems that you know rather less about electronics

            hmmm basically this...

            relatively that...

            unlimited read but limited write... (kinda sounds like limited by something to me)

            different size of bathtub curve thassall

            i call bollocks.

            it's STILL a bit of electronics, and STILL subject to the laws of physics - a point you clearly fail to understand

            if you read the article youll also notice that there is some mention of non socketed ssd's - i know not of the veracity of this... but you have to start somewheres.

            curiously on the subject of relays - particulary protection relays in susbstations,

            'old fashioned' mech relays mttf 50 years

            1st gen PLC relays mttf 25 years

            2nd gen PLC relays mttf 15 years

            some one alert the physics police :-D

            1. Steve Todd

              Re: @naughtyhorse - it seems that you know rather less about electronics

              Again, who said they would last forever? Mechanical parts will last longer IF THEY ARE LARGE AND YOU DON'T USE THEM, but for high duty cycles or miniature parts they will not last as long as solid state by a rather large margin.

              Your mech relays required periodic servicing and replacing of contacts. How well would that work on the scale of a DRAM chip?

              ALL electronics have a known rate of failure. Mid-life it's so low in solid state devices that you can ignore it, or insure against repair costs for a small sum. The design life of DRAM is beyond the usefull life of a PC so it's unlikely that your insurer would have to pay out.

              Now if you want to try building an electromechanical RAM chip to prove me wrong then please feel free, but you'd better have a large warehouse to keep it it and a large support staff to maintain it. Just ask the telco's why they moved to computer based switching, and look at the small boxes that sit in the corner of an otherwise empty old exchange.

      2. Sureo

        Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

        I've had RAM fail twice on me, once a long time ago and once quite recently, happily replaced under warranty. Your survey of one doesn't prove anything.

        1. Geoffrey W

          Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

          "Your survey of one doesn't prove anything"

          Well, with your data added to his I conclude that RAM has a failure rate of 50% which is bloody atrocious.

      3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: Where on earth are you getting your numbers from?

        @Steve Todd

        If you're worried about any of the above then Apple offer to insure repair costs for you for 3 years. You get the first year covered for free.

        WWOOooooowwwww!!!!!!, the first year covered for free. You must be so totally in awe of the generosity of the fruity firm, aren't you so lucky to bask in the glow of such magnificent philanthropic behaviour, you must think you are extremely lucky.

        On the other hand, my new android tablet is covered by EU Directive 1999/44/EC. issued in May 1999 from the European Parliament, the directive stipulates that, by 1st January 2002, all member states must have altered their legislation to comply with new consumer laws that ensure that all new consumer goods carry at least a two-year warranty and used consumer goods have a minimum of a one-year warranty.

        So, you are either a 'merkin, or crApple sold you a second hand iProduct, I mean crApple wouldn't break the law would they, they respect the law so much, especially when they can use the law to stop other manufacturers selling their product.

        1. Steve Todd

          @Field Marshal von Krackenfart - do try not to look like a bigger idiot than you are

          Firstly the EU directive only covers faults that were present durring manufacture. If you thrash the SSD and battery mercilessly for 20 months then Apple or any other PC manufacturer don't have to do squat under the EU directive. In fact, under the EU rules you need to prove that it was a manufacturing fault yourself after 6 months. The Apple warranty covers all of that.

          Secondly in anyone's book 3 years is longer than 2.

          Thirdly your warranty is with whoever you bought the device from (not necessarily Apple), and they are free to nominate whatever repair facility they want. They can also declare it beyond economic repair, and refund the cost LESS an amount to cover the use you've had out of the device. Guess who gets to decide how much that sum is? The retailer.

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >Foxconn-marketer's gear

    I thought Ms Leach had got tired of that 'joke'. I wander if she actually knows that Apple also develop software, hardware and standards?

    Besides, what does this article tell us that yesterday's Reg article doesn't?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a matter of fact and not a joke.

      Don't get upset.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge


        I note that you accused the first poster as being "really gay for Apple" when all he did was demonstrate his ignorance of Product Lifecycle Management.

        But please do expand on you think is a 'matter of fact'. That Apple are the only tech company who contract their manufacture and advertise the result? And please tell us what you think Apple's 4,700 US staff actually do.

        1. Maxson

          Just because It's not the ONLY thing they do, doesn't make it something they don't do.

          For instance, some men like to touch themselves, some have jobs, some do both.

          But calling a Bank Manager a wanker doesn't mean all he does is touch himself.

          So calling them a Foxconn rebrander or marketeer doesn't mean all they do is rebrand foxconn kit.

          1. jai

            but it does suggest that they're the only ones who do it (Apple/Foxconn, that is, not bankers) which is completely inaccurate and so not 'a matter of fact' at all

            1. joeW

              How about if El Reg starts calling them "a Foxconn-rebrander" instead of "the Foxconn-rebrander" then? It would remove any implication that they're the only one doing it.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Nope, it still wouldn't work- because the products were never branded as Foxconn.

                i.e: You can only revisit a place that you have been before, you can only reheat a meal that has been heated before, and you can only rebrand something that has been branded before. I'd expect a journalist, one who puts words together for a living, to know this.

                The other Reg names, such as Chipzilla and the Chocolate Factory, work well because they can't be confused for statements of 'fact', don't misuse the English language, and they bring a humorous image to mind. 'Foxconn-rebrander' fails on those counts.

          2. Daniel 1

            @Obviously! and Maxson

            Indeed, they don't just rebrand Foxconn kit* since, in this case, we're talking about a laptop - which means it was probably made by Quantacom, in Taiwan, rather than Foxconn.

            So, sometimes they rebrand Quantacom kit.

            *Nor are they the only ones, since Amazon Kindles are also 'Foxconn kit', and Xbox 360s and Nintendo Wiis are 'Foxconn kit' - in the sense of actually having been made at Zhengzhou Technology Park, in Henan. Strictly speaking, large portions of my Samsung Galaxy S2 are 'Foxconn kit', but since it was assembled at a different plant, in a different country, that particular droid probably isn't the Foxconn you're looking for.

            And if you're reading this on a high-end laptop there's about a one in three chance it's actually Quantacom kit.

        2. Naughtyhorse

          what you think Apple's 4,700 US staff actually do.

          hang about poncy coffee shops in poncy tee-shirts, bein all poncy i guess

        3. The Flying Dutchman

          tell us what you think Apple's 4,700 US staff actually do

          My best guess at a breakdown would be as follows:

          R&D: 50

          Slick Design: 20

          Bean Counters: 230

          Tech Support: 10

          Department of Truth: 4,390

          1. Darryl

            Re: tell us what you think Apple's 4,700 US staff actually do

            Hey, Flying Dutchman... I think you made an error there:

            Department of Truth: 390

            Patent Lawyers: 4,000

            You're welcome

    2. stanimir

      Which part of the hardware is developed by Apple - CPU/GPU/Memory/screen or the SSD?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Definition of 'Hardware'

        >Which part of the hardware is developed by Apple - CPU/GPU/Memory/screen or the SSD?

        Those are often Samsung's department- and those items are not all that comprise 'hardware'. Apple's job -in this case- is to procure and package them in a small form factor, which involves designing the battery, speakers, case, HIDs, interconnects and motherboard, whilst integrating them into their own OS. And yes, marketing the result, just as everybody else does.

        They work with suppliers and on development, and also instigate mass-production of things that no-one else is yet using (FireWire, High-Res displays, Postscript Laser Printers, Thunderbolt nee LightPeak...)

        Apple aren't perfect (and I use a PC and an Android phone) but out of fairness they should only be knocked for things they do. Accusing them of just whacking their sticker on generic Asian goods is just false and weakens any legitimate criticisms.

    3. Naughtyhorse

      apple standards


      only relation apple has to standards is that they never ever under any circumstances observe a single one of them.

      i have never known a piece of apple kit that didnt have a weird connector or inaccessible/non standard fastener, different kind of plug to every other bit of kit on the planet.

      hence this story really - once again apple are trying to make their kit un-repairable/un-maintainable/un-resellable

      and why not? theres no profit for cupertino in any of those activities.... it's just the market.

      's just evil thats all

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: apple standards

        >only relation apple has to standards is that they never ever under any circumstances observe a single one of them.

        Oh really? You didn't take a minute to check before posting?

        "FireWire is Apple's name for the IEEE 1394 High Speed Serial Bus. It was initiated by Apple (in 1986[4]) and developed by the IEEE P1394 Working Group, largely driven by contributions from Apple, although major contributions were also made by engineers from Texas Instruments, Sony, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM, and INMOS/SGS Thomson (now STMicroelectronics)."

        Which is why I said that they work with suppliers and other partners. Intel adopted Apple's name 'Thunderbolt' instead of 'LightPeak' after Intel realised that they could get the required bandwidth with copper wire instead of optical fibre. High-end Sony use it, but under a different name because it is disguised as a USB rather than Display Port socket.

  6. Alan Denman

    Compaq mark 2

    Remember Compaq's systems which were similarly blessed with non serviceable parts

    There were no fashion suckers in the good old days of computing so their non serviceable gear quickly ceased to sell.

  7. Jamie Kitson


    Could this be due to the departure of Jobs?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Kirbini
        Thumb Down

        Re: Jobs

        Pentalobe screws are not proprietary, they're just uncommon. Torx screws were once in that same category but are now as common as dirt. If you need you can source all sizes of drivers for them online and at some tool shops for a few pence.

  8. John Latham

    Doing it wrong?

    It must be straightforward to disassemble without brute force, or else Apple service centres would have no way of doing "official" battery swaps.

    ...but I guess if Apple won't tell anyone how to do it then the criticism stands.

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Doing it wrong?

      Duh, they have geniuses remember! That's how they do it!

      Paris 'cus she's a genius too you know!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doing it wrong?

      The rumour from a supposed Apple tech is that the battery replacement includes swapping out the whole bottom which the batteries are glued to.

      Nobody has said anything yet about what happens after this point.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Doing it wrong?

        Probably solvents or high temperatures... glue technology is fairly advanced (those unsung chemical engineers who make our lives easier) so I find it hard to believe there isn't a particular glue out there that would be straight forward to remove as well as being fit for purpose and easy to apply in the first place.

        Given Apple will take old Macs off you (and that EU legislation makes manufacturers responsible for product disposal) it would seem strange if they deliberately made their job harder.

      2. Tom 35

        Re: Doing it wrong?

        I expect that the battery and the part of the case it's glued to are considered one part.

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Doing it wrong?

      It's confirmed that they have to replace the entire upper part of the Macbook Pro - including the trackpad, and keyboard and so on, because the battery is bonded to it.

  9. Maxson

    Will anyone actually care?

    From my experience of environmental types (especially environmental types who own Apple products), this won't make much of a difference. Environmentalism is a massive bandwagon and very few people in on it are really that interested in it if it inconveniences them.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Actually, I do care

      because batteries loose 50% of their capacity after 2-3 years, you'll want to replace it. And you don't want to leave it for 2 weeks in a repair service, but you want to have it done in 10 minutes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually, I do care

        That's just a complete fabrication. A decent quality lithium battery may typically lose about 20% of it's capacity after about 1000 'full' cycles. So even if you charged / discharged it fully every day you would probably still have about 70-80% capacity after 3 years. if you are not doing full cycles the loss would be less.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually, I do care

          > That's just a complete fabrication.

          Depends largely on usage patterns and there is variability in battery life from one to the next.

          It's one of the reasons that I ignore all the "well by 2006 battery still gives me great service" comments. Some batteries last really well, others don't and it's not always obvious why.

  10. Kirstian K


    the answer is leave the battery glued to the back of the case,

    and throw the case + battery away

    but new battery + back of case (which is presumably moulded - and should not be to expensive 'cough')

    in fact 'if' in the future they built the battery into the case (saving space/bits etc)

    then it would all be chucked when it was broken, would that be green or not.

    so the only difference here is a little glue..... (get some solvent..)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iProduct iLife iCycle iManagement

    Breaking news: Apple unveils new product life cycle management strategy. Stung by criticism of non-standard hard drives, soldered in DRAM and un-replaceable batteries, Apple will, in future, in-source the whole recycling process for its products. Starting Q3, all Apple products will no longer be 'sold' but leased to customers. For similar or equivalent prices to today, customers will be able to enjoy their Apple iProduct for a generous two years before being required to return it to Apple, where it will be recycled in an environmentally sensitive manner. Asked whether customers might decide not to return their devices, an Apple spokesperson didn't say: "We expect customers to fall in love with their iProduct and understand that they may be reluctant to return the product at the end of the lease period. Apple staff will gently remind customers of how much money they spent and how good they felt when they first leased an iTem, and that they have the opportunity to feel that good all over again."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple already made a statement about this

    Come on Anna Leach/El Reg at least read the news before posting...

  13. RefriedNoodle

    Apple *did* respond

    Appears that Apple thinks their products are well within "green" specifications, but also in fields that are not measured by EPEAT. Also, EPEAT does not certify a large chunk of Apple's stuff, such as iPods, iPhones and iPads.

    In the same article, EPEAT admits that their standards are a little old and they are in the process of updating their certifications.

    Still this is a curious move by Apple, as a lack of EPEAT certification means the US government won't shop there any more, as 95% of their purchases needs to be EPEAT certified.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Apple *did* respond

      Also, EPEAT does not certify a large chunk of Apple's stuff, such as iPods, iPhones and iPads...

      Kind of lucky for Apple since they are glued together too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple *did* respond

      I would rather my battery replaced by the manufacturer to their specification and they have the hassle of responsibly disposing of the old lithium battery. Think EPEAT need to update their specs as things like that seem more important than a user replaceable battery. Being green is about the thing being recyclable (which Apple commit to do) and being efficient / low power - surely?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple *did* respond

      There's a lot more to environmental impact than the in-use energy efficiency of a product, and declaring carbon cost of manufacture, so that's a feeble ploy on their part.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple *did* respond

      Bit of a strange and uninformative response though, isn't it?

      They still haven't actually explained why they withdrew from it.

      The gist of the response is "Yes we have withdrawn from EPEAT. All our products are really green and EPEAT are rubbish".

      Doesn't actually explain what Apple get from withdrawal from the certification since they rule out a large swathe of their market by doing so, other than the obvious point that they probably wouldn't get certification for their new Retina macbooks.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It actually makes sense to let the manufacturer replace it - all too often I have seen family members buy poor quality (even unsafe) 3rd party batteries off eBay. For something you sit on your lap I would want to try and ensure it is at least 'safer'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >It actually makes sense to let the manufacturer replace it

      Well I got a replacement battery for my daughters laptop and it has far better capacity and life than the original that came with.

      You pay your money, you take your chance....

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it MORE eco-friendly to have Apple replace the batteries? That guarantees they'll be recycled, while someone doing it at home would probably chuck out the old lithium monster with the household rubbish, maybe creating a fire hazard if the contacts short out or the battery is punctured.

    As long as the replacement cost is reasonable, as it appears to be, I don't see the problem with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      > if the contacts short out

      If there's that much power left in it, then perhaps you didn't need to bin it in the first place.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can you define a reasonable cost?

      Do they charge for their time too?

      Do they supply the parts to do it yourself?

      Also I use my laptop for work, I cant leave it with them or send it off to a service centre how do we work around that?

      I also spend quite a bit of time away from mains power and normally carry a spare charged battery to swap out on the move... guess Ill need a second laptop now?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As long as the cost is reasonable (i.e. in line with what another manufacturer would charge for their genuine batteries) can see no problem really - especially if it means they can use a larger battery in the first place or make the laptop smaller or lighter as a result.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least Apple commit to recycling and maintaining this stuff - I have bought other makes of laptops to find you cannot get genuine batteries after a few years and I'd rather not use a 3rd party pack that who knows whether they have used the same quality of cells, got protection circuits etc.

    I've seen what can happen to lithium cells so reducing the risk seems a plus.

  18. Jean-Paul

    The last battery replacement ...

    I performed was on a 5 year old Macbook with serviceable battery exchange...I ordered one from Amazon, it arrived the next day...And guess where the old one ended up bad boy I am...Yes in my bin...

    A non-user serviceable item can be guaranteed to be recycled by the service provider, I would have thought that is much more eco friendly.

    All this talk about the costs is just noise, if you don't like it vote with your feet and don't buy it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The last battery replacement ...

      Last time Apple replaced a battery for me the cost was only what it would have cost for any other manufacturer genuine battery and a friend just had the 1tb drive replaced on a 3+ year old Macbook and they only charged his about £120 which is basically the cost of the part - for that they did the replacement, re-installed the OS etc. Bargain actually.

    2. Not That Andrew

      Re: The last battery replacement ...

      Round my neck of the woods most supermarkets and garages have a specially marked bin where you can dump your batteries for them to be disposed of properly (presumably). And it isn't even a particularly "Green" part of the country. There really is no excuse to put them in your household waste.

  19. scott 30

    Apple *currently* say they'll charge $200 USD (so probably 200 eur+) for a battery swap-out. If you've followed the tactics of the company, you'll know fine well that "upgrade/maintenance" costs go up prohibitively once said product falls off their radar.

    Try buying a genuine version of the last OS which you can put on a PowerPC, e.g my late 2005 mac mini. Over 120 euro for Snow Leopard. The upgrade to Lion cost 29 euro, *if* your hardware supported it.

    BTW - for all those muppets saying they're happy to send their laptop off to the vendor for a swap-out, think of those of us who actually run their business from their mac. Last time I had to replace the battery on my MBP, it took me all of 5 seconds once I'd gotten the new one in the post. The expense and down-time of travelling to an Apple reseller, then not having my main system for something as trivial as a battery swap means I'll no longer be buying Apple.

    1. toadwarrior

      Quite frankly I rather go a couple days without my system (or walk it down to the apple store) than put some knock-off battery in there and possibly lose it because of that.

      the amount of complaints I've seen online and in person with cheap alternatives makes me think it's not worth the gamble. Even if the actual bits inside are quality they're often the wrong size and don't stay in or don't fit.

      I am now attempting to get a authentic 9 cell thinkpad battery. I admit I don't want to pay lenovo £164 so I looked elsewhere and every is fairly deceptive about what you actually get. If it's quality you don't need to do that. I did get one sold directly from amazon for much less. I'd hope amazon doesn't personally sell knock off shit with an image of the real thing. If they I'll kick up a fuss and expect a replacement of the real thing.

      If my mac battery goes before I'm done with I'll certainly get apple to replace it. I rather pay a bit more and know it fits correctly and won't burst into flames 6 months later. With a good back up strategy and numerous laptops and a PC it means I can live without the mac for awhile.

      1. Tom 35

        I dont' get it?

        You will not pay for a lenovo, that you can snap into place in 5 seconds.

        But your are happy to pay for an Apple battery and go the the trouble of having them install it?

      2. Not That Andrew

        Does not compute.

        You think £164 is too much for a battery from Lenovo, but you would happily throw £200 (probably more) at Apple?

  20. Mikko

    Kills the value argument for Macs

    The usual "value" argument about Macs is that while it does cost a bit more to buy, you can also sell it on for more money than a same-vintage PC - and you come out even or ahead of the PC buyer while getting to use Apple hardware. Meanwhile, the older sold-on Mac, especially with some well-thought, cheap hardware upgrades, will be much more useful than those nasty crashing Windows PCs of the same age...

    There is some truth to this - I recently bought a four year old, 2007-model Mac Mini (first Core 2 Duo) for about 200 euros, about 40% the original price, and the little thing is almost ridiculously fast after replacing the 80 GB, 4200 rpm hard drive with a 128 GB SSD for about 80 euros (of course, you could do this upgrade with similarly pleasing results with most any PC of the same vintage, but the point is the "greenness" of extending the useful life of old hardware).

    If you can't do this any more in the future, it is wasteful for the environment but also for the wallet of the Apple buyer: the value of used Macs is going to plummet - you definitely won't get 40% of your money back in 2016 if you spend 2500 euros on a Retina Macbook Pro today - at least if you can't replace the dead battery, add more memory, or swap a bigger SSD to the old Retina.

  21. rbryanh

    Bad Journalism

    You fail to mention that the CEO of EPEAT has publicly admitted that details of the standard have failed to keep pace with developing technologies and are in desperate need of revision. I'm no corporate apologist, but given that, it seems to me that you (and the "hippies") are blaming the victim.

    Do you consider yourselves journalists? Do you research the content of the stories you publish, or just mindlessly regurgitate the equally derivative regurgitations of others? Increasingly, what passes for journalism in the 21st century resembles the premise of the movie "Centipede."

  22. Richard Cartledge

    More like Apple don't want to pay the license for the 'Green' logo.

    'Green' is now deprecated.

  23. sleepy

    You can read about the environmental impact of Apple products here:

  24. sleepy

    Oh look. Apple is back in EPEAT.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lithium disposal problems

    Simple solution, once the old one is removed ensure it is discharged to 0 volts (use resistor) then dismantle with gloves and goggles and remove the copper sheet.

    This can then be placed in a CuSO4 bath with a copper wire as the collector, and the copper salvaged for resale.

    Turns out that a typical "pouch" 4000mAh cell has about half its weight or more of high quality copper, which can then be sold to scrap merchants as "electrolytically recovered"

    Watch out, the electrolyte in these things is somewhat hazardous but if you do this outside it isn't a problem.

    Even better, use solar energy to power your electroplating unit and avoid paying for electricity to run it.

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