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Apple & Standards

July 09th, 2012

Guy English is asking for commentary on Apple removing all their products from the EPEAT registry.

I have no special insight into the matter. I just observe Apple and notice patterns. How Apple deals with standards bodies is a well established pattern.


Gruber laid it out in one of The Talk Show episodes covering the iBooks Author release. Apple is happy to use, follow and contribute to a standard as long as it aligns with its business interests.

eBook standards didn’t provide enough features for Apple to ship the iBooks Author product. Apple added proprietary extensions and shipped. They then retroactively help pushing the standard along so they don’t have to fork it forever.

The key point is: Apple don’t wait for standards.

Another case: web standards and WebKit-only CSS extensions that then later get amended to the standard. Same story as above, manifold and all publicly documented.


I take it as a given that Apple considers eco-friendliness of their products to be a competitive edge. I also take it as a given that they will continue to see it that way.

Now Apple is moving their products in a direction that isn’t reconcilable with EPEAT standards. I do not know what any of this entails. However, I fully expect that Apple is working on a better-than-the-standard (in their eyes) way to recycle their machines.

I don’t suggest they have that today (they may or may not know how to get these screens and batteries out of the machines), but I have no doubt that Apple believes they can do it. And that they can use their PR machinery to communicate this as a “fuck the standards, we are better than the standards” message.

UPDATE, 24.07.2012: Apple is back with EPEAT.