After coming under attack by pro-environment groups, Apple has tried hard to burnish its green image. But its latest laptops could ruin its reputation among the carbon-conscious. Apple has touted the innovation of its new "unibody" laser-manufacturing process, which carves the MacBook's body out of a block of aluminum. "The process uses a huge amount of energy to machine each case and then to recycle the material removed," an expert on computer supply chains tells Valleywag. "It's a much less efficient and there's a huge amount of waste than any other process to make the housings." The charge could be electrifying, if proven true.Apple has devoted an entire page to the MacBook's environmental merits. The company has taken considerable steps to lower the amount of energy used by the MacBook's display, hard drive, and processor. But Apple is vague about the energy consumed by making the MacBook's laser-carved unibody, and recycling the wasted aluminum. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that 3 percent of the world's electricity goes towards manufacturing aluminum — and China, where most of Apple's manufacturing is done, gets most of its electricity from dirty coal plants.
Vive la résistance! We don't know if Apple France intentionally tweaked their American overlords, or just screwed up. But for a while, Apple's French website described the newly launched MacBooks as "parfaitement con," for which a very polite translation is "perfectly idiotic." The page now reads "parfaitement conçu," or "perfectly conceived." If you thought Apple was all about obsessive attention to detail, be aware that product promise only applies to English-language material.
A photo posted to a Chinese forum site (and thence to MacRumors) shows what appears to be a MacBook case made entirely in one piece. Open thread: How does this actually make it better for me? Will it reverse global warming, or at least get me aboard Google's escape rocket? And why can't I stop staring at it? I need to stop reading Arthur C. Clarke at lunch.
AppleInsider's network of loose-lipped leakers claim they've seen the new MacBooks about to go into production. Gone are the plastic casings that nagged Greenpeace — and scratched way too easily. Like the new iPods and the MacBook Air shown here (I'm skeptical about this alleged spy shot of the new Macbooks), the new notebooks are reportedly slim and round-edged, with downsized adapter ports replacing the largest standard jacks on the side. I've already ordered our aluminum Xmas tree, honey. (Photo by AP/Jeff Chiu)
"A MacBook is in the same ballpark as a roughly similar Dell or HP, and less than a Sony." That's the conclusion of Technologizer editor Harry McCracken, after running the numbers several different ways on competing notebooks. The MacBook didn't win most hardware categories, but it came out well-rounded, with superior warranty service and media software. McCracken, until recently the editor in chief of PC World, was infamous among local tech journalists for toting Apple laptops to work.
Many blogs are writing up a recent lawsuit against Apple as if it's a big deal. Too bad it isn't, because it's more entertaining than any April Fools' joke we've seen today. The lawsuit alleges that Apple falsely marketed its 20-inch iMac as being capable of displaying "millions of colors" when it can only display "hundreds of thousands" of colors. The difference is imperceptible to the human eye. Apple recently settled a similar lawsuit over its MacBook notebooks. That lawsuit went away out of court after the plaintiffs found it "difficult" to locate clients who purchased computers solely on the "millions of colors" claim. We're waiting for a clever lawyer to start asking Apple customers if they bought computers under the belief the machines would help them get laid.
Central City, Iowa, is giving MacBooks to all students in 5th through 12th grades. Now, we're all for giving laptops to students — maybe some of them will read Valleywag — but let's be realistic. "The laptops will be strictly for school subjects, and will come equipped with filters and blockers." Yeah, right. It will be mere days before some enterprising student gets caught reading one of Melissa's informative posts on high-class escorts. Why not just let them get sex ed via YouPorn? That seems easier. (Photo by AP/Michael C. York)