updated 01:35 pm EDT, Tue October 7, 2008
Apple battery controversy
Developing European Union guidelines could force Apple to adopt a more user- and environmentally-friendly approach to batteries, reports say. The legal body is currently in the process of drafting a "New Batteries Directive," which would expand on the present set of guidelines designed to make it easier to remove, dispose of and/or recycle old batteries. The present directive indicates that companies must make it simple to remove batteries from electronics; the proposed one would insist that batteries can be "readily removed" for replacement or disposal.
If such a ruling is passed in 2009, it could force Apple to revise the design of the iPod and iPhone, both of which use internal lithium-ion batteries which typically demand specialized tools and knowledge to remove. Apple and others offer recycling programs for the handhelds, but this may not dissuade concerns that some players are being thrown out with their batteries inside.
Apple is also known to be willing to change or eliminate its products in order to accommodate regulations. In 2006, the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive made the external iSight camera illegal, and the company subsequently decided to scrap the product entirely, if partly because it was beginning to duplicate built-in iSights.