Retina MacBook Pro earns EPEAT Gold, iFixit not happy

Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit:

Apple’s Retina MacBook Pro—the least repairable, least recyclable computer I have encountered in more than a decade of disassembling electronics—was just verified “Gold”, along with four other ultrabooks. This decision demonstrates that the EPEAT standard has been watered down to an alarming degree.

Kyle writes a strongly critical piece about the EPEAT ratings and I agree with some of the points he raises (on environmental impact) but I just get the vibe that his shouting “greenwash” and complaining about how much of a travesty it is might be because he’s worried about the future of iFixit than of the EPEAT ratings. Think about it, iFixit provide free disassembly instructions but they make money selling parts and tools. The more portables that are like the Retina MacBook Pro, the less money iFixit makes with it’s existing revenue streams.

The problem with the Retina MacBook Pro isn’t that it’s unrepairable – it’s that it’s not cheap to repair. If it breaks or develops a fault in a couple of years, you aren’t left with a doorstop. You can still take it to an Apple Store or Authorised Repair Centre but it’ll cost quite a bit more.

When the time comes to recycle it responsibly, just give it to an Apple Store or use a service like Gazelle. iFixit took the Mac apart blind, if you knew how to dismantle it then you can recycle it responsibly.

I think Kyle knows which way the wind is starting to blow.

Responsibility

Warning: contains opinions and points of view.

There was a tweet posted by a Scottish writer and broadcaster (I’m not linking to them or their post) that said:

Starbucks avoids paying UK taxes and they oppose gay marriage. Makes choosing my coffee shop so much easier.

Wow. Starbucks doesn’t pay UK taxes and don’t support gay marriage? First of all, they’re two strange points to combine together. Secondly, no citation. No source or article was mentioned1.

The tax thing is true, they have paid almost no UK tax due to yet another tax loophole. But don’t support gay marriage? That’s not only false but the complete opposite.

Starbucks have been a strong proponent of gay marriage for a long time – to the point that there are anti-Starbucks websites set up (I’m not giving them the satisfaction of a link, but search for Dump Starbucks if you must).

I knew Starbuck’s stance on gay marriage already so I instantly knew the tweet was utter rubbish – but for someone who didn’t it would take a mere 30 seconds on Google to find out.

So why am I writing about this? It isn’t Apple or tech related in any way? Well it sort of is.

This tweet got retweeted a lot of times. I saw it this morning as a few people I follow retweeted it. Most people using Twitter retweet something they find funny, interesting or that they agree with. To a lot of the people who retweeted it, it was to share this bit of “information” that they stumbled across. To be fair, I wouldn’t expect everyone to fact-check any tweet they wanted to retweet before doing it – that’s a lot of work for 140 characters. Why would you? If it were the BBC News Twitter account, you’d accept it as fact. From a journalist or broadcaster, why assume otherwise?

Twitter is a source of information and news for a lot of people (and should be treated as such). Journalists, broadcasters – in fact anyone working in the media of news – has a responsibility to make sure they aren’t tweeting utter garbage. If BBC News broke this on the air with no source, no fact checking, they’d be ripped apart.

  1. I don’t believe for one second that the user had any personal agenda when writing and a later tweet from them (which I can’t find but did read on their timeline before being blocked) appeared to suggest they had seen an article about Starbucks opposing an anti-gay bill and didn’t correct for the double negative in the headline. 

New Mac mini at Apple’s latest media event

Jordan Golson @ MacRumors:

9to5Mac is reporting that Apple will announce a new version of the Mac Mini at next week’s rumored media event, alongside the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro and the iPad mini.

I’m filing this under “no shit, Sherlock.” It’s been over 450 days since the last Mac mini update. If Apple didn’t have a new Mac mini, I’d expect them to drop it.

After last week’s iMac leaks, I expect the rest of the Mac range to get a decent update… well, except the Mac Pro.

New iPod touch doesn’t contain an ambient light sensor

Kevin C. Tofel @ GigaOm:

I found this out the hard way. Typically, I keep my device brightness at low levels while indoors but still use auto-brightness, mainly to save on battery life. So when I went for the mail this past Saturday while reading an article on the new iPod, the screen quickly became unreadable when I stepped outside. I figured I either didn’t have the auto-brightness setting on or it wasn’t working — actually, that was my first thought: The sensor was broken. Unfortunately, since I couldn’t read the screen, it was impossible to even find the Settings icon.

After getting the mail and coming back inside, I went into the Settings and noticed this: No auto-brightness setting, just a manual slider.

Well, that sucks a little. One of those unsung features of the iPhone and iPod touch I love is the ambient light sensor, and I rarely ever change the brightness of my iPhone. Kind of a shame that the iPod touch has now lost this functionality.

New iMac will potentially have 2.5″ hard drive

MacRumors:

A forum thread [Google translation] posted to Chinese site WeiPhone.com earlier this month claims that Apple is planning to introduce its next iMac at a press conference either this month or next month, with the new iMac offering a redesigned body with a thinner profile. The report includes a photo of what is said to be the logic board and other internal components of the new iMac.

In the leaked photos there’s what appears to be a 2.5″ hard drive. They’re limited in size and usaually not available in the sizes 3.5″ drives come in, though the current iMac can be built with a 2TB option (as well as a 246GB SSD), and you can get 2.5″ drives in that size but speeds would be a drastically lower. The Retina MacBook Pro is a perfect example of Apple’s idea of the future – pure SSD and a fast (as well as versatile) external IO in the shape of Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.

This makes me wonder if Apple wouldn’t be including mechanical drives but would actually be moving the iMac to SSD. There’s too many disadvantages to warrant moving the iMac range to 2.5″ mechanical drives as performance would be hugely impacted.1

On the other hand, Apple’s argument would be that they include Thunderbolt and USB 3.0, which means there’s a growing range of high performance and high-speed storage devices that can easily be used. They’d be right, but they won’t be cheap and moving to 2.5″ SSD or mechanical drives will only increase costs.

  1. I changed the drive in my old 2009 MacBook Pro and it genuinely felt like a new machine. 

Apple Licenses Swiss Railway Clock Design for iPad’s iOS 6 Clock App

Glad to see this was resolved but it should never have happened in the first place, especially after Apple just took Samsung to the cleaners on design and patent infringement. The Swiss Railway Clock design is as established as the iPod or iPhone so someone in the iOS design team would’ve (or should’ve) known it couldn’t be used without license.

I don’t think Apple did this deliberately. As the old saying goes: “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. I suspect it was just hubris within the design team that lead them to assume that the SBB would be happy that Apple “implemented” their iconic clock into iOS.

The Magazine

Marco Arment’s latest iOS app is a periodical for Newsstand.

Introducing The Magazine: a modern iOS Newsstand publication for geeks like us that’s loosely about technology, but also gives tech writers a venue to explore other topics that like-minded geeks might find interesting.

Playtraq updated with email notifications

From the Playtraq Blog:

First off, we’ve introduced email notifications. You can signup to be notified of emails of new game releases for each platform. You can specify which platforms you wish to be notified so if you’re wanting to get emailed the latest Xbox 360 and PC releases, you can! Hit the subscribe button and sign up to any platform (Don’t worry, you can change your preferences at any time as well as unsubscribe).

I’ve been hard at work on updates to Playtraq the last week and have implemented email notifications so you can subscribe via email as well as RSS, calendar or through the website.