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Apple has withdrawn all of its products from the US government backed EPEAT environmental rating system it helped create. The move will have immediate effect and the Cupertino-based company will no longer submit devices for approval in the future, according to an announcement on EPEAT's website.
The idea behind EPEAT, which stands for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, is to ensure electronics are as kind to the environment as possible. Before a product is granted with a seal of approval many factors are considered, including energy consumption, recyclability, reparability and the environmental impact of processes and materials used to manufacture the device. It covers various consumer products including displays, notebooks and desktops.
"They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements," EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee commented. "They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured by this standard anymore."
Electronics teardown site iFixit believes the move is likely the result of new design paradigms favoring smaller and lighter notebooks and longer battery life. For example, the latest Retina MacBook Pro is nearly impossible to disassemble and has a glued in battery that iFixit says would likely leak the highly toxic innards if removed incorrectly. The difficulties with reparability and recyclability would likely prevent certification of the new rMBP.
It is also possible Apple asked that previously certified models be removed from the national registry as the newer models now replacing them are unlikely to gain certification. Regardless of the reasoning it will prevent most federal agencies from purchasing non-approved products though, as around 95% of all electronics purchased are required to conform to the EPEAT standards.
Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee speaking to the Wall Street Journal said he believes Apple is putting design first in its latest products. "They are not trying to purposely make it hard to open, they are just trying to pack as much as they can into a small space–it's a design decision." He also thinks Apple is likely to release alternative standards for its own products in the near future.
The US retailer's iPhone and iPad devices will likely remain unaffected by the decision as neither is subject to EPEAT approvals. Apple did not respond to requests for further comment.
The Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display is equipped with a third generation Intel Core i7 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, 8GB of DDR3L 1600MHz RAM, 256GB of flash storage, Intel HD 4000 Graphics, a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 650M GPU with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and a built-in FaceTime HD camera. It sports a SDXC card reader, HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, MagSafe 2 power connector and a dual Thunderbolt ports.
The MacBook Air sports a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor that Turbo Boosts up to 2.8GHz, 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, 128GB of flash storage and integrated Intel graphics. It is still extremely thin and lightweight at only 0.68-inches at the thickest part and 2.96 pounds. The MacBook Air carries a 13.3-inch diagonal LED backlit display, operating at 1440 x 900 with a 16:10 aspect ratio.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
The iPhone 4S looks identical to last year's model but comes in a new 64GB flavor and upgrades the camera to include an 8-megapixel sensor with improved low-light performance and 1080p video capture. In terms of performance the new iPhone is reportedly up to 2x faster and is also capable of running on faster HSPA+ networks, reaching theoretical download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps.
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