The big news officially broke this week — Apple is selling a tablet computer named the iPad.
One thing that caught my attention (besides the terrifically terrible name): it looks like the iPad will have some greener features, namely that the energy-efficient LED-backlit displays will be free of arsenic, mercury, PVC and BFR (brominated flame retardant) as well as being "highly recyclable", which I assume to mean that it's built to be easily taken apart at the end of its life.
During the press event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed the opening of an iBooks store which will be entry point for those using the iPad as an e-book reader for books, newspapers and magazines. Like the Amazon Kindle, the growing trend of switching to digital ink instead of cutting down entire forests of trees for the printed word is certainly a good move as far as the environment is concerned.
We don't have any more eco-details yet, but I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more soon enough about the iPad's greener cred. It's good to see Apple thinking more and more about the environment with each new gadget and round of updates. They have a section of their site dedicated to the environment with information about product usage impact, eco-reports for each of their gadgets, and overall energy saved from their new initiatives —not to mention their program to recycle old Apple computers.
Apple has taken some lumps in the past, particularly from groups like Greenpeace, for using toxic substances like mercury and arsenic in their products. With e-waste being as big a problem as it is considering the huge number of products Apple and other tech companies produce every year, the decision to stop using these poisonous chemicals is a big one. The iPad (and nearly ever other electronic device) have a LONG way to go before they can truly be called green, but they're getting greener and greener every go around.
On a personal level I can't honestly say I'm super excited about the iPad as it's configured right out of the gates. There are some fundamental issues that will be preventing me from buying one for now. I said the same thing about the iPhone though, and Apple ended up fixing most of those deal-killing problems, so who knows? I'm bummed out by the iPad's inability to run more than one program (sorry ... app) at a time, the non-widescreen 4:3 screen, and the lack of Flash support. Check out Gizmodo's 8 Things That Suck About the iPad for a few more reasons why the iPad might not (yet) be "the greatest device ever" (or solar powered — well-played Mr. Calacanis, well-played).
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