This is excellent. Apple’s developed a robot called Liam that disassembles the iPhone (6) for recycling. It takes all of 11 seconds.
It’s part of their recycling and sustainability programme, with recycling available around the world.
We work hard to keep electronic devices out of landfills so that the precious resources they contain can be reused. …
We also see a huge opportunity to improve the way we reclaim finite resources from our products. Existing recycling techniques, such as shredding, only recover a few kinds of materials and often diminish their quality. So we invented Liam, a line of robots that can quickly disassemble iPhone 6, sorting its high-quality components and reducing the need to mine more resources from the earth. With two Liam lines up and running, we can take apart up to 2.4 million phones a year. It’s an experiment in recycling technology, but we hope this kind of thinking will inspire others in our industry.
[Via Environment – Resources – Apple: Environment – Resources – Apple.]
There’s some interesting reading on that page about what they’re doing to reduce harm to the planet.
Recycling kicks in at the end of a product’s life. That time is easy to establish if you wreck your phone or computer somehow, but harder to assess if everything still works. I recently helped one client, Judith, update her Mac to a newer model. She’d finally decided it was time, as her computer was 12 years old and having problems with some websites. I also noticed how diabolically slow it was, though she was used to the speed.
I’m not sure I recommend holding onto a computer for 12 years — over time it gets so you can’t update the operating system because the hardware is insufficient, and then all the other software falls behind and things like web pages often don’t work well on very old web browsers.
Like most Apple products in my experience though, Judith’s computer had just kept on working.
If your iPhone conks out after three years, you might feel shortchanged.
But for Apple it’s all part of the plan. On its website, the US technology firm admits it expects the mobile devices to last only 36 months.
Its watches and iPads are also assumed to last around the same time. Owners of Mac computers can hope to eke out a fourth year of use.
The relatively short lifespans come despite some steep prices: the iPhone 6s Plus is £789 and an Apple watch with a solid gold case costs more than £10,000 (NZ$20,512). A 27in iMac is £1,849 (NZ$3,792).
Note how the article cites the solid gold EditionWatch, rather than the very much cheaper Sport watch which comes in at around NZ$500. Also spot the
hope to eke out. Manipulative much?
And that lifespan? Here’s what Apple actually say (my emphasis):
Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for OS X and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices.
So Apple are actually saying the person who buys the device new will probably hold onto it for 3 or 4 years. What’s unsaid there, but needs only a quick glance at any For Sale ad, is that many people then sell that device to a second (and perhaps subsequent) owner who will use it for at least a year or two, sometimes then passing it to yet another user.
Personally, I prefer, if I can, to update to a newer model of computer, phone, tablet, and now watch, every two or three years to be sure I’m keeping up to date and up to speed. If I had infinite money I’d probably update every time there was a new model, but my life just isn’t like that. As it is, I’m very happy that once my iPhone 6S reaches its end of life there’s a chance it’ll be recycled for components. And in a mere 11 seconds. Perhaps by then though it’ll take only 5 seconds.