First, a bit of full disclosure:

  • I work exclusively on two Apple laptops (an iBook G4 at home and a MacBook Pro here at the office);
  • I carry an iPod with me virtually everywhere I go; and
  • My wife gave me an iPhone for Christmas – a device that is far and away the best tech gadget I have ever owned.

I am an Apple fanboy for the simple reason that the company produces the most stable, well-designed, user-friendly and highest quality computing equipment and software on the market today.

All that said, I am a conflicted fanboy these days, because – as I’ve blogged about here before — I strongly believe Apple is making design decisions that result in products with unacceptably short life spans, are ultimately disposable and have a negative impact on our environment.

Prior to last week, this trend has been confined to the company’s hand-held devices (the iPod ad iPhone lines). But last Tuesday, during its final Macworld keynote address, Apple unveiled a new MacBook Pro with a non-removable battery – a battery that cannot be replaced by the user.

This development, as TechnologyReview points out guarantees the laptop’s obsolescence after 1,000 charges, or approximately five years.

Apple made this design decision because it wanted the laptop to have greater, longer lasting battery power, but maintain an ultra-thin and light casing (the same design principals behind the non-removable batteries in the iPod and iPhone). To achieve this, the company’s designers removed the dock that holds a removable battery in place and pulls out its juice.

Yes, Apple boosted the performance of the battery to make it more efficient and last longer and yes, users can have a dead battery replaced by a Mac tech for $179. But undeniably the decision to include the non-removable battery will result in more laptops entering the waste stream more quickly.

I find this decision downright shameful.

And I find it doubly shameful that Apple is trying to tout the new battery system as a positive environmental attribute because, “the longer battery lifespan equals fewer depleted batteries and less waste, which is better for the environment. ”

Yes, but only to be replaced by entire laptops.

Apple’s latest laptop refresh has resulted in some very positive environmental attributes, and each new computer now earns a gold rating from the respected EPEAT rating system.

However, the greenest laptop in the world is the one you don’t have to replace after a mere five years.

(Image: The new 17-inch MacBook Pro. Credit: Apple.)

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