July 10, 2012, 7:30 PM — Nothing gets past the sharp-eyed
geeks at iFixit, a Web site that provides free repair manuals and advice forums. They tore down the new MacBook
Pro with Retina last month and found that the battery was stuck to the case with industrial-strength glue, meaning
you can't replace an old battery with a new one.
The MacBook Pro was also missing a gold certificate from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool,
or EPEAT, a rating system for electronics that looks at various factors about a product's environmental impact,
including longevity and recyclability.
Turns out, Apple, which had been boasting for years that all its products are EPEAT gold certified, quietly pulled out of the EPEAT registry last month. Apple
will reportedly eliminate 39 laptops, desktops and monitors from the registry. EPEAT doesn't include tablets and
smartphones in its registry, but standards are being crafted.
The environment and recyclers aren't the only losers in Apple's about-face with EPEAT, either. Federal
government entities are required to purchase products that meet green standards. All of this has created a furor in
cities such as San Francisco that require EPEAT approval,
reports Silicon Valley MercuryNews.com.
So why would Apple make the new MacBook Pro-a locked-down, non-upgradeable
machine with a hefty price tag starting at $2,199-nearly impossible to replace the battery? After all, Apple has been a leader in producing environmentally friendly electronics
The clue lies in the life of a lithium battery. Every time you go through a charge cycle on, say, your iPhone,
you'll permanently lose 30 seconds to a minute of battery capacity. Typically, you'll get 250 to 500 charge cycles
before a lithium ion battery has outlived its usefulness. A non-replaceable MacBook battery means you will need to
buy another computer rather than swap out the battery.
"Americans upgrade cell phones every 18 months now," says iFixit's Kyle Wiens. "If Apple can get us to buy a new
computer every 18 months, they'd make a whole lot more money."
Wiens wasn't surprised to hear Apple withdrew from the EPEAT registry shortly after releasing the
non-upgradeable MacBook Pro. The product will be a nightmare for recyclers, he says, and EPEAT probably would not
have been able to give it a gold certificate anyway.