Shades of Green: Apple, all about the ‘green’

In Columns, Opinion

Apple knows its primary target well enough, which can be generally encapsulated as gadget-obsessed techies who may or may not have some concern for the environment. And that’s where their money lies – gadgets. Unfortunately, after plowing through every possible consumerist invention ranging from computers to music players to cell phones, the Apple store has run out of ideas.

That’s when the iPad enters the high-and-dry scene. Now, you can own an over sized iPod touch with a unique and completely unexpected name: the iPad!

Geez, who would of thought? Never before was I able to read e-books, watch YouTube videos, or listen to music on my MacBook because this overbearing keyboard has always been in the way. And who really needs more than 16 gigabytes of space or to run more than one application at a time?

The iPad is saving the world in many ways. With just $500 to $700, everybody can own this essential device that allows you to do everything your MacBook and iPod touch couldn’t (oh wait, what was that again?)

Another proclaimed feat is that this is an essentially “green” product. It includes eco-friendly features such as an enclosure made from recycled aluminum, power-saving LED displays (as opposed to LCD), mercury-free back-lighting and an arsenic-free display glass. Meanwhile, the entire product is not made with PVC, a chemical commonly found in computer power chords, which releases toxic compounds when it is put in landfills.

The iPad’s battery also lasts 10 hours, making it more battery-efficient than a laptop. According to Green Living Tips, the battery is reusable for other applications even after it has reached the end of its life.

Despite its recyclable design and ability to conserve battery energy, the iPad eats at a much larger source of power. According to Greenpeace, it accesses an enormous energy-whoring “cloud” of online services, which is stamping a larger carbon footprint on this planet than previously expected.

Basically, when any iPad owner watches a YouTube video, reads an email or downloads an e-book, it is reaching up into a network of energy utilized by millions of interconnected websites that are streaming, networking, storing, emailing and much, much more.

Greenpeace’s report “Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change” shows that at this rate, this cloud of data centers and telecommunication networks will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of electricity in 2020. That is more than the current electricity consumption of France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined.

Even so, this all doesn’t change the fact that the mere existence of the iPad is wasteful. Even if it had no internet access, and thus couldn’t devour this supposed cloud of interconnected energy, we’d still be driving our cars to the nearest mall, texting and calling our friends along the way, and walk into the Apple store to fish out a credit card that hasn’t already been maxed out. Hello, debt! Hello, failing economy!

Of course, I’m caught up in this internet mess just as much as anybody, and I am also a victimized owner of Apple products. Don’t get me wrong, they’re incredibly convenient. Still, the iPad is merely a regurgitation of of preexisting Apple products, thus making it a waste of time and resources, additionally signifying that the company has run out of ideas.

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