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San Francisco To Stop Buying Apple Computers 392

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.
New submitter djnanite writes "Following on from the story that Apple has exited the 'Green Hardware' certification program, the BBC reports that City officials in San Francisco plan to block local government agencies from buying new Apple's Macintosh computers. Will they be the first of many, or will cheaper products override people's conscience? 'Other CIOs in government and educational institutions, where Apple has a strong presence, could find themselves asked to drop MacBooks and iMacs. The federal government, for example, requires 95% of its laptops and desktops be EPEAT-certified.' Apple defended the move by saying their products are environmentally superior in areas not measured by EPEAT."
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San Francisco To Stop Buying Apple Computers

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  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:25AM (#40611453)

    The beginning of the end for Apple

    • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:37AM (#40613923)

      The beginning of the end for Apple

      If they start pissing off arrogant, self-important hippies and douchebags, there goes their core market. By the way:

      Other CIOs in government and educational institutions, where Apple has a strong presence, could find themselves asked to drop MacBooks and iMacs.

      Except ones that are already made are EPEAT certified so that would make no logical sense. But hey, take them away anyway and let them use a real computer. Macs are WAY the hell too expensive to be used by the government. I've heard of California's government waste and excessive spending but Apple products in the government is a new low for them.

      • If they start pissing off arrogant, self-important hippies and douchebags, there goes their core market

        Lack of a 'green' certification isn't going to push these people away. A thug in glasses and a black turtleneck could come to their crashpad and punch them in the face every day and they'd still crawl back for their iFix. Looking cool using a device with a nifty UI trumps anything else. You really think they're all going to stary buying Vaios?

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Except ones that are already made are EPEAT certified so that would make no logical sense

        Apple withdrew ALL their computers from EPEAT. Even the certified ones, and even the ones that are still certified AFTER the new rules (e.g., Mac Mini, non-Retina Macbook Pros, iMac, Mac Pro...).

        It's not a case of "the computers are no longer EPEAT certifiable", it's more of "Apple feels EPEAT is no longer in their interests" and withdrew all computers fro mthe lineup. I'ts not like individual computers weren't making c

        • Apple withdrew ALL their computers from EPEAT. Even the certified ones, and even the ones that are still certified AFTER the new rules (e.g., Mac Mini, non-Retina Macbook Pros, iMac, Mac Pro...). It's not a case of "the computers are no longer EPEAT certifiable", it's more of "Apple feels EPEAT is no longer in their interests" and withdrew all computers fro mthe lineup.

          EPEAT's rules conflicted with Apple's planned obsolescence strategy. No doubt, Apple views itself as so important that EPEAT would change its rules in order to get them back. It's hard to see how anybody could be that stupid.

          As for repairability - I'm not so sure if it's a big a "green" thing as it's made out to be. After all, I don't see on iFixit that they provide recycling services (with return shipping) for the used parts you replace...

          What you're overlooking here is the issue of recycling the entire device just because the battery died, after all, out of warranty "battery repair" is likely to cost nearly the same as a new device, so what iGroupie would not prefer the latter option? You also doubt that the battery cou

  • Ohhh shiny (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:25AM (#40611457)

    Apple defended the move by saying their products are environmentally superior in areas not measured by EPEAT."

    They must mean those superior shiny rounded rectangular areas.

    • by lurker412 (706164) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:00AM (#40612099)
      Their coolness reduces global warming.
      • Re:Ohhh shiny (Score:5, Informative)

        by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:30AM (#40612753)

        Problem with most of the Certification Agencies, is that by giving particular rules to make things certified, is that people know the rules, follow them to get the certification, however find loopholes where the overall goal of what they are trying to do fails.

        • Re:Ohhh shiny (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nahdude812 (88157) * on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:41AM (#40615337) Homepage

          I'm sure that's true to some extent, but it's 1) better than no environmental certification at all, and 2) Apple pulled out because they now glue their batteries to the chassis, thus making the batteries and chassis non-recyclable. It strikes me that being able to recycle batteries reduces a lot of chemical waste, and being able to recycle aluminum is one of the very best ROI's of any form of recycling (the energy required to refine aluminum from bauxite ore is orders of magnitude more than is required to smelt and refine previously refined aluminum)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:04AM (#40612117)

      Apple,
      Design is EVERYTHING.

      Looks pretty on the desk
      looks pretty on your lap
      looks pretty in your pocket

      now you get to see it in one piece looking pretty in the dump too.

    • Apple defended the move by saying their products are environmentally superior in areas not measured by EPEAT."

      They must mean those superior shiny rounded rectangular areas.

      No, it means: "They should stick it up their ass".

  • False Dillema (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:26AM (#40611463)

    "Will they be the first of many, or will cheaper products override people's conscience?"

    Considering Apple computers are more expensive than certified non-Apple computers; I think it is safe to say whether you are environmentally conscious or a bean counter the choice is definitely not new apple products.

    • Re:False Dillema (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sir_Sri (199544) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:51AM (#40611581)

      And if you have to do thousands of repairs* because you have tens of thousands of computers the cost of repairs is very much a big deal.

      *that isn't a criticism of apple, stuff breaks, usually due to stupid end users, but if you have enough computers a lot of things will break over the lifetime. That's what keeps half of the /. crowd employed.

      • Re:False Dillema (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @03:12AM (#40611683) Homepage Journal

        and has there been a study if it's cheaper with apple or not? apple repairs can be darn expensive, unless you plan on using the applecare insurance card - in which case you should compare it with buying insurance with the non-apple pc too.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

          and has there been a study if it's cheaper with apple or not? apple repairs can be darn expensive, unless you plan on using the applecare insurance card - in which case you should compare it with buying insurance with the non-apple pc too.

          Who buys a computer without a warranty that covers it's expected usage period? In most European countries computer vendors are required by law to offer at least a two year warranty, some offer more than required as a sales incentive. I usually sell my laptops no more than a year after the legally required warranty expires. The bargain hunters who buy them know the risks they are taking, laptop and tablet repairs are always expensive to the point of being uneconomial. But even if the warranty has expired com

          • Re:False Dillema (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Kergan (780543) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:21AM (#40612451)

            Who buys a computer without a warranty that covers its expected usage period? (...) If you skimped on household insurance as well as buying a computer that isn't covered by a warranty you are up a creek without a paddle when your device breaks down.

            Yeah... What was I thinking? I've neither, and I had to shell out €125 the other day because I broke my MacBook's top case while opening it. Surely, had I not refused to cough an extra €200 or so to extend my warrantee period by two years when I bought my Mac in 2007, they wouldn't have told me that the warranty period is long ended and doesn't cover me opening my laptop to clean it.

            Fwiw, the math is not in your favor... It is never in your interest to extend a warranty. If a PC/car/whatever maker offers you an extended warranty, you're on the receiving end of an overwhelmingly losing bet. The extended period being offered is, as a rule, the one they know carries about zero risk. When it might, they compensate by overcharging for out-of-warranty extras. And all too typically, they'll wiggle out of their obligations much like insurance companies do when you thought you were covered. If you add up the various costs that you save by not extending warranty periods, you're more than enough to cover the occasional repair, and you get to put the leftovers on a savings account.

          • Re:False Dillema (Score:4, Insightful)

            by flyneye (84093) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:54AM (#40612603) Homepage

            * Who buys a computer without a warranty that covers it's expected usage period? *

            This is /. , if anyone accidentally got a warranty, it was voided by tinkering soon thereafter. If something breaks, WE are the people who fix and usually improve it over the original design.

      • Re:False Dillema (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @03:16AM (#40611703)

        A non-Apple computer with a warranty is still cheaper than an Apple.

        • by eggstasy (458692) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @04:24AM (#40611949) Journal

          Boy, you sure have very expensive fruit over there.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jellomizer (103300)

          It really depends on what you want. Apple Computers are not overpriced! There is a limited selection of Apple computers. So you may not get what you are looking for.

          Take an Apple Computer. Go to Dell, or HP, or Lenovo. Try to find the closest model that matches the Apple computer. Match the specs up... All the specs, if you can, none of this we don't need this feature idea (If apples keyboard glows find the upgrade to make the PC keyboard glow.) You will find that their price is about the same as the Ap

          • Re:False Dillema (Score:4, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:06AM (#40613487)

            Spec for Spec Apple is vastly more expensive, atleast it is here in the UK.

            13" (resolution not advertised) Macbook Pro with a Core i5 2.5Ghz, 4GB RAM, 500GB (5400rpm) Sata HDD, Intel HD Graphics costs £999

            15.6" 1080p Dell Laptop, Core i5 2.5Ghz, 6GB Ram, 500GB (7200rpm) Sata HDD, Ati Radeon HD 7670 Graphics Card costs £569

            The 15" version of the Macbook costs £1499 and it's only improvements are an i7 which is only faster with Turboboost enabled and a Nvidia geforce GT 650M....

            The dell has the Camera, Backlit Keyboard... yes it's heavier and thicker but what they hell difference does that make? That's Apple's whole market strategy, make people buy it because it's in a shiny case, even if it's is significantly less powerful. And all that compact case really does is make it almost impossible to fix and upgrade, the new Macbook Pro has the battery glued in! Pretty much making it impossible to protect from a short if should ever spill anything on it and need to remove the battery quickly.

            • For those of us that actually value our backs and need to haul their computers everywhere they go, that is a MASSIVE difference.

              I am not arguing against you regarding price, but I am pointing out that aesthetics such as weight DO have a value. In fact, they have MORE value than the raw specs.

              Consider that the average user isn't doing more than web browsing, email, word processing, etc. An i7 and a high end graphics chip is NOT going to help that. Having an OS that lets you doing the tasks you want to do

            • You can get a Chevy Impala with a lot more power than an Acura TL and at a cheaper price. Of course, the TL is a far better vehicle, better engineered, better built, more reliable, and overall more pleasant to use.

              yes it's heavier and thicker but what they hell difference does that make

              You pay for lightness and thinness in the notebook market regardless of the brand. Check out the prices on Sony's ultra-thin notebooks. Asus has competition to the MacBook Air. It's about $200 less, but it has a slower last-g

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              You didn't list the weight and size. Shop ultrabooks vs "desktop replacement" laptops. Similar specs, $1000 difference in price (well, and the ultrabook will have a smaller screen).
          • Re:False Dillema (Score:5, Informative)

            by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:18AM (#40615089)

            Take an Apple Computer. Go to Dell, or HP, or Lenovo. Try to find the closest model that matches the Apple computer. Match the specs up... All the specs, if you can, none of this we don't need this feature idea (If apples keyboard glows find the upgrade to make the PC keyboard glow.) You will find that their price is about the same as the Apple computers price +/- $100.00

            I did exactly this comparison a couple weeks ago

            Envy 15
            Display: 15.6" 1920x1080
            Processor: 3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache)
            Graphics: 1GB Radeon(TM) HD 7750M GDDR5 Graphics
            Storage: 750GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
            Memory: 6GB 1600DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
            Height: 1.11 inches
            Weight: 5.79 lbs
            Warranty: 2 years
            Price: $1,354.99

            Macbook Pro 15
            Display: 15.4" 1440 x 900
            Processor" 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 6MB L3 cache
            Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5
            Storage: 500GB 5400-rpm hard drive
            Memory: 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3
            Height: 0.95 inch (2.41 cm)
            Weight: 5.6 pounds
            Warranty: 1 year
            Price: $1799.00

            For ~$450 less with the Envy I'm getting better graphics, more storage, more memory, better display, bigger display, longer warranty, and I'm also getting a quality build laptop with premium features like aluminum casing, slot load DVD, and backlit keyboard, and basic features not available on the Macbook pro like HDMI port, display port, 3 USB ports, higher maximum memory. The macbook pro has better battery life and is a little bit thinner and lighter. Oh and OSX of course. Is that worth $450? I don't know maybe to some but not me.

            And by the way, this price is without any of the rebate ninja magic you can pull with HP. For my last purchase, and Envy 14, I got a discount off the list price, 30% off through Bing, and another $100 off just because I asked them. I paid over $1000 less for my Envy 14 (SSD, higher memory, better processor, higher resolution display) than for a similarly specced Macbook Pro 15 (minus the display size of course, but then again my display has a higher resolution than those displays did in 2010).

            • Sorry to reply to myself but I realized maybe the comparison was unfair since I didn't spec the Macbook Pro 15 up to the Envy 15. If you order a Macbook Pro 15 specced to to the Envy 15 level in terms of memory, storage, and resolution, it's going to cost you a grand total of $2,099.00, or $744 more, and you still don't have as high resolution or as good graphics, and only a one year warranty. That's a far cry from "+/- $100"
      • Re:False Dillema (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @04:11AM (#40611897) Homepage

        In my experience Apple gear is no more nor less likely to break than other good-quality stuff. Most of the internal components are the same after all. But the recent stuff is harder to repair of course; significantly more so than Lenovo for instance. Have to love a company that actually puts disassembly and repair manuals for their products on the web for anybody to view.

        • by na1led (1030470)
          Our company had both Thinkpads and Apple laptops. The Thinkpads outlasted all the Apple Laptops. Apple computers look nice, but is shit quality. Thinkpads are very durable, and easy to fix when something goes wrong. Now the company mostly uses Thinkpad's, as people finally realize it's not worth buying Apple.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          In my experience Apple gear is no more nor less likely to break than other good-quality stuff. Most of the internal components are the same after all. But the recent stuff is harder to repair of course; significantly more so than Lenovo for instance. Have to love a company that actually puts disassembly and repair manuals for their products on the web for anybody to view.

          This, statistically a Mac is no more likely to break then a Dell, the difference is the Dell will be out of commission for a day as they've got a NBD on-site support team almost everywhere, with Apple I have to take it to an authorised repairer and wait a week for them to do it, then pick it up myself.

          BTW, It's awesome that Lenovo is publishing repair manuals, Dell has been doing the same for years. Not to mention it's dead simple to do easy repairs/upgrades like HDD, RAM or ODD's on most non-Apple compu

  • Well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LiroXIV (2362610) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:29AM (#40611479)
    Environmentally superior = You don't have to repair it (cause you can't)! Just buy a new one!
  • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:36AM (#40611515)

    As more government and private organisations move to BYOD, where there is less control over these purchasing decisions I wonder if BYOD policies will also be updated to exclude employee's using devices that aren't adhering to EPEAT, I doubt it.

    When I first heard this decision I just wondered if Apple were again abandoning the Enterprise market, because they can just attack the consumer market, which is now well and truly making inroads into Enterprise IT.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:42AM (#40611541)

    The federal government, for example, requires 95% of its laptops and desktops be EPEAT-certified.

    So, only the top 5% elite of government folks get Apples, and the other 95% normal folks just get inferior, non-cool and non-chic EPEAT made of unreliable biodegradable materials that dissolve in the rain! This just isn't fair! Why should only the top 5% get Apples!

    Occupy the federal government!

  • Wait... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jethro (14165)

    You're implying that Apple are the cheaper products?...

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:48AM (#40611573)

    Or obliviously blinding? (Gotta be one of the two! :D )

    Anyway, the deal is that apple is used to living in the reality distortion bubble.

    The reality that their design choices have political consequences, and that these consequences should and will have effects on the salability of their offerings is not respected, because they are used to altered reality where their design choices are fawned over and lauded as innovative and amazing.

    In this case, we have a clearly foolish decision (ignore the EPEAT requirements for service and recycling), so that they can enforce an ideological position (our way is best, and we won't compromise. You should just change your requirements, because our products are just so awesome that they floor the competiton in every imaginable metric, including environmental friendliness!) that is sure to come back to haunt them. (Strict fed reqs regarding EPEAT compliance means no apple products purchased, and existing ones are phased out for compliant replacements.)

    I am actually enjoying the spectacle of reality creeping into the fantasyland antics at apple. Hopefully they will learn their lesson that projecting a false reality hs consequences that they can't just wish away, and come away wiser for it.

    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:04AM (#40612659)

      ...in any practical sense. You're correct that these design choices have consequences, but your interpretation, which appears to be that Apple products are actually less green because of it, is completely false.

      The EPEAT requirements are dated, and Apple provides comprehensive recycling for all of its products, making the ability to disassemble them moot — do you really believe individuals, businesses, or government agencies are disassembling Apple — or any other — products themselves for recycling? Those parts of the EPEAT guidelines are designed that way so that all manufacturers' products are broadly recyclable.

      BUT APPLE HAS A FREE RECYCLING PROGRAM FOR ALL OF ITS PRODUCTS, not to mention leads the industry in the amount of recyclable materials in its products. In other words, even without EPEAT, Apple is still better than other manufacturers on the environment front [apple.com]. Now, it's understandable that government and institutional customers would look to such a standard, because it makes things easier and has many other benefits — but Apple not being a part of EPEAT doesn't mean Apple is "less green" in a real sense.

      For what it's worth, this is Apple's response [loopinsight.com].

      • by Aighearach (97333) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:15PM (#40616701) Homepage

        A lot of people, myself included, obviously disagree.

        Apple having their own "recycling program" doesn't solve the problem. The requirement isn't for a buy-back program, or for a company to have a disposal program with the word "recycle" in it, the requirement is to meet actual real life physical standards that recycling companies have. Those companies have worked with the government already to come up with the EPEAT standard.

        And you miss the point. We actually care about recycling, that is why we support these types of standards. Just because the glue gets in the way by the time the recycled goods have worked their way downstream into the care of foreign companies, doesn't make a bit of difference. We want it to, in the end, eventually be disassembled and recycled.

        There is also some trickery when you claim Apple "leads the industry in the amount of recyclable materials in its products." Yes it is true that they have lots of materials listed as recyclable, but that is what this is about; once you glue them together, they are no longer recyclable... and yet Apple still lists them because the material itself is still categorized as recyclable, even if the part made from it no longer is.

        • Apple helped create the EPEAT standard alongside the other stakeholders who helped define it.

          And you have missed my point: I actually care about recycling, which is why I'm making this argument in the first place. You're making the claim that, e.g., the Retina MacBook Pro can't be disassembled and recycled. But Apple has a zero-landfill recycling program for all their products — which includes the Retina MacBook Pro. So to cut to the chase, are you saying Apple is lying, or doesn't have a technique to

    • EPEAT itself has admitted that their certifications are outdated. Back in March, a board member of theirs who was acting as interim-CEO addressed the question of what the new CEO's chief mandate would be (emphasis mine):

      Part of it is expanding EPEAT's global reach through the multiple certification [process]; as well as moving into new, additional products; as well as updating the EPEAT [certifications], because they're a little long in the tooth. [Each of those] is a huge project on its own.

      Source [greenbiz.com]

      I discussed this in a response to the last article about EPEAT, but they've failed to keep up with the times. There are a number of factors they fail to consider which render many of their current arguments moot. To shoehorn a car analogy in, it'd be similar to if you were unable to g

  • I believe Apple doesn't want to comply with the EPEAT standard because it doesn't start with a lower case 'i' --> iPEAT

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @03:01AM (#40611627)

    You probably shouldn't buy any smart phones or tablets of any brand - EPEAT doesn't even attempt to certify those.

    I have to wonder how effective this will actually be. There are processes to get around this ban - they're supposedly onerous, but the city would of course claim that whether it were really true or not.

    Apple claims they'll recycle any computer returned to them. It would be interesting to pin them down on the specifics regarding how their non-EPEAT-certified hardware is recycled, piece by piece.

  • by pbjones (315127)

    cheaper computers usually don't have EPEAT certification anyway. What share of sales would SF account for? very little I would guess.

  • sigh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @03:03AM (#40611641)

    I have a really witty comment about San Francisco stopping buying Apple computers, but it's in poor taste, and would probably be perceived as an attempt at flamsterbaition, rather than the sincere attempt at being a smartass that it would actually be.

    So I'll skip posting it, but you might want to pretend I did and mod me town as a troll anyway, just for thinking of it.

    • I suspect that same "witty comment" immediately popped into a lot of our heads - whether we are Apple fans or foes. It's just too easy.

  • "Apple defended the move by saying their products are environmentally superior in areas not measured by EPEAT."

    First line from front page of the EPEAT website:

    "EPEAT is a comprehensive environmental rating..."

  • Which means they were for "select few". And I kinda doubt that those who want a new Retina MBP will not get one -- they'll probably simply expense it (instead of having the IT department buy them one).
    Either that, or there will be a new exemption soon, for "ultra-thin computers" with "has to be able to disassemble" requirement removed :)

  • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:08AM (#40612665) Homepage Journal

    Apple's problem is the EPEAT certification is required by government. If you don't meet the requirements, your bid won't even pass the first round of competition.

    Period.

    It doesn't matter how "cool" or "popular" your devices are -- you lose the bid.

    They made their design decisions knowing they wouldn't be EPEAT certified, now it's time to suck up the result: lost business.

  • by Muad'Dave (255648) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:56AM (#40612887) Homepage

    Instead of using glue that's difficult to remove, why not use the same stuff that's used in those 3M Command [command.com] removable wall hangers? When you need to separate the components, just give the little strip a tug and the glue pops right out!

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:31AM (#40613821)

    If Apple products are superior to EPEAT standards, then why stop getting EPEAT certification? Apple should re-think this. Not only will government agencies and municipalities quit buying, because they are required to meet EPEAT, the environmentally concerned will, too. I can see the MIcrosoft slogan now: Save a tree, buy a Windows PC.

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