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Apple faces pressure over replaceable batteries

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hard resets

    I want a replaceable battery for one reason: hard resets. Twice I've run into a situation on the iPhone where it was still functioning however it seemed to be "confused" as far as touch screen functionality was concerned. It's a very weird situation where it's sort of responsive (double clicking the home button would bring up the ipod controls on the lock screen) but the backlight would not turn on, nor would it respond to any other buttons.

    It was impossible to force a reset by holding down the power and home buttons at the same time. The thing is, it reset on its own eventually after about an hour of just sitting in this state. A removable battery would have saved that whole frustrating hour.

    (BTW, two different iPhones, with different application sets. This only started happening with 2.0 OS so it's software related.)

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So instead of having one company be responsible for replacing the batteries, thus insuring that they get recycled, we should let anyone do it... Cause you know damn well that everyone would remove the old battery and take it to a recycling center.. HA! Sheer brilliance!!!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. OS2Guy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Only Outside The US

    If the EU were to make this requirement it would only affect iPhones outside the US and would result in a bulkier less featured iPhone for the European marketplace. US users would retain the sleek feature-laden iPhone and be the envy of the European iPhone owners. That's ok with us.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Monstermind

    Joined: Dec 1969


    f*** the Euros

    The place is overrun with Muslims. Let them sort THAT problem out before bitching about their precious "environment".

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Design vs. Function

    Blackberries and other devices have removable batteries. One HUGE advantage is that the user can keep an extra (charged) battery to replace when the other is low. For example, if you are at Disneyland or someplace without a charger nearby.

    Blackberry's (blackberries??) are relatively sleek with removable battery, as is the abysmal to use blackjack. I am not sure that a removable battery on the iPhone would make it significantly thicker.

    I for one would prefer a removable battery; That said, not sure that this would be the best feature for the environment, since users may be encouraged to consume more batteries.

    Oh, Monstermind should be ashamed for the embarrassed and ashamed of his horrible statement. I truly cannot believe that there are people like that in the world.

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Replaceable batteries

    With the batteries fixed in place as per the current iPods and iPhones many people throw them out and buy a new one rather than just replacing the battery. I think this is a good thing. Having an easily replaceable battery in no way means the product will no longer be sleek.

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And stop acting as though anything that means Apple will have to do something someone else says is a bad thing.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wait, the iSight?

    Wait, THAT is why Apple dropped the iSight, and instead started putting useless internal iSights into everything? I thought it was just another case of style over substance. Apologies, Apple, you're not guilty this time.

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    deliberate decision

    The non-replaceable battery was a deliberate decision. The iPhone would have been bigger/thicker for the same sized battery. Apple looked at how many people actually replaced batteries in cell phones (pretty close to 0) and decided it was not worth it. I agree.

  1. revco

    Joined: Dec 1969



    C' people replace their phone batteries. Then thank goodness Apple doesn't make flashlights, remotes, cordless phones, clocks, etc. Because I'm sure Apple would find everyone replaces these when their batteries run flat. Honestly, some of the comments you come across.

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