I've just got back from the Apple store, minus one PowerBook G4 top case. They threw it away, since apparently it's impossible to recycle them here... weird, since I recycled about 100 beer cans made from exactly the same substance last week (and no, I did not drink them all myself before you rush to report me to AA).
I went into a polite diatribe about Apple's lack of recycling (and a cathartic side-rant about the failure of my much-loved pink iPod mini to function after just 2 years of less-than-industrial use). My Mac Man was very sympathetic, but I bet there's a poster of me under the counter now - "WARNING - Do not serve this woman!". Then again, looks like Apple will have to serve me, since they need all the European customers they can get: through my sympathetic Mac Man I learnt that Apple has had to withdraw certain products from the EU market (forgive me if you already knew this, but I didn't and had been scouring the shops in vain for an iSight webcam so I can Skype my mum!).
The inside word is that this has quite worried Apple despite their arrogant appearance. So it's pretty amazing that Steve Jobs can call our concerns "bullsh*t" when Apple has already been forced to withdraw products from the EU because they fail to meet EU standards on hazardous substances. Why aren't the alarm bells on their iCal applications going crazy??
In a blatantly cynical PR move, Apple's website has this to say about the European Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) directive, which came into effect mid-2006.
Apple and RoHS
Apple products are compliant with the European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, also known as the RoHS directive. Examples of materials restricted by RoHS include lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and PBB and PBDE flame retardants. As a result of our precautionary approach to hazardous substances, Apple met many of the RoHS restrictions long before the July 2006 deadline.
What they forget to mention here, is that "many" of their products did NOT meet these standards. Wanted to buy an iSight for Christmas? Forget it. Apple decided it was cheaper to withdraw the iSight, AirPort Base Station (modem), AirPort Base Station (PoE), iPod shuffle battery pack, and the eMac from EU markets.
The very Americo-centric Infinite Loop complains that "this is all well and good for Europeans, but what about Americans?" I think the question is bigger than that. What happens if the EU gets stricter on all the other nasty stuff in Apple computers? Is it possible that they will be forced to listen to us then - on ALL markets? Can't wait to say "I told you so" ...
In late September AppleInsider reported that they'd launch revised versions of the banned products back on the EU market. They're still not here.
The long and the short of it is, it's not like we're making isolated, completely weird demands here, and as the EU begins to crack down on toxic substances as quite a large and unified market, I wonder if Steve will finally admit that this isn't all bullsh*t, and it's certainly not going to go away.
Note for Steve's iCal: "Contact production department re toxic substances. Make sure repaired parts are recycled in all markets. Make some greener pink iPods with user-replaceable batteries and a takeback program. Oh - and let that nice Adele girl back into the Apple store."