iFixit called the the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display the “least repairable” laptop ever made, and for good reason. Apple’s super-strong glue, soldering, and proprietary screws make it impossible to replace the battery, upgrade RAM, swap the circuit boards, etc. That’s why Apple originally withdrew its products from EPEAT, the American standard for eco-friendly consumer electronics. After plenty of public outcry, Apple issued an apology and re-added its products to the EPEAT’s registry, despite the fact that laptops like the Retina MacBook Pro aren’t exactly “green.”
Last week EPEAT said that Apple’s products, including new laptops like the Retina MacBook Pro, meet its eligibility requirement for registry approval. Now EPEAT is giving the Retina MacBook Pro its highest “Gold” approval rating.
Today iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens is calling EPEAT out for compromising to accommodate Apple. He accuses EPEAT of being “laughably out of touch” and effectively “greenwashing” the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display:
Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display is not repairable, it’s not upgradeable, and it’s not easy to disassemble for recycling. But it is EPEAT Gold. The Product Verification Committee’s decision essentially greenwashes the Retina.
Our engineers spent over an hour attempting to separate the battery from the computer, carefully prying to avoid puncturing the battery. If this same computer can earn a gold status, we should be asking ourselves, “What exactly can’t earn a green rating?” With these new definitions, pretty much every computer can be included in the registry.
It’s true that Apple’s iOS devices haven’t been EPEAT-compliant for years, so it’s no surprise that the Mac is moving towards the same type of non-upgradable internal design. What’s sad is that EPEAT has effectively ruined its own credibility with this rating for the Retina MacBook Pro. It will be interesting to see if Apple gets involved with this drama again. EPEAT’s criteria for rating products definitely needs to be reevaluated.
Make sure to read iFixit’s piece on the controversy for a thorough breakdown of what this means for EPEAT and the consumer electronics industry as a whole.