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  • Writer's pictureConnar Stratton

Is Apple really a sustainable company?

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

Before you mention Apple’s 2030 commitment to carbon neutrality or X% of Y product is made from recycled materials, let us examine Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Any sustainability advocate would tell you that they are in that order for a reason. Although Apple does have an impressive Recycling programme, Recycling is an inefficient last resort only if you are unable to Reduce or Reuse. What is disappointing is that Apple seems to be putting actual effort (software blocks, hardware blocks and outlandish repair pricing) into actively blocking consumers from Reducing and Reusing. Sustainability is not consumers defaulting to device replacement when a 95AUD screen breaks or the RAM is underpowered. Sustainability is lessening our strain on the planet, even if it means increasing the longevity, upgradability, and repairability of a device.

Example 1: iPhone screen repairability

Leaked data suggests that iPhone’s Ceramic Shield screen costs 97 AUD from Samsung. However, when you see that it costs 450 AUD for a consumer to replace the screen you can understand why they would default to buying a new device. It’s great that Apple is finally offering consumers self-repair options, but when you see that the self-service kit is only 14 AUD or 6% cheaper than getting Apple to do it, why do they bother…

Example 2: MacBook and Mac Studio SoC (System on a Chip) upgradability

Apple’s M1 Max, M1 Ultra and M2 (released today) chips do deserve recognition for an unprecedented performance to power consumption ratio. The downfall of Apple’s SoC is that the integrated RAM and CPU are un-upgradable. Want to upgrade your MacBook’s

RAM? Sure, just buy a new 2,000 AUD MacBook. How about the new 3100 AUD Mac Studio? Despite the removable RAM, Apple has actively got software locks in place to prevent you from swapping out the RAM, even if it’s from another Mac Studio. Phones are small enough that the gluing and integrated hardware makes sense. The same cannot be said for laptops and desktops.

There is no bigger role model to the world than Apple. This is an opportunity for them to teach us what real sustainability looks like. This is an opportunity for them to be better.


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