Apple not far from the tree: New product release announces 'greenest ever' Mac computers

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Tech giant Apple has this week unveiled what it claims is its "greenest Mac ever" as part of a major product release designed to cement its market dominance in the world of consumer technology.

Apple has overhauled its MacBook Air product for the first time in more than seven years, with Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing the ultra-light laptop will feature a motherboard made with 100 percent recycled tin and 100 percent recycled aluminum in the laptop's alloy shell. More than one-third of the plastic used to make the Air will be post-consumer, he added.

Together, the changes in material use slash the laptop's carbon footprint by 50 percent, making it the "greenest Mac ever," according to Cook.

Apple also unveiled a new Mac Mini computer, also made using 100 percent recycled aluminum.

The launch is Apple's boldest move yet towards its target of using 100 percent recycled materials to make its iPhones, MacBooks and other electronics products — a pledge first made back in April 2017.

The firm also has been working hard in recent months to boost recycling rates of its own goods at the end of their life, launching its latest materials recovery robot Daisy this spring.

Meanwhile, Apple runs on 100 percent renewable electricity, and 23 of its suppliers also have committed to running solely on green power, as part of its mission to become one of the world's leading green firms.

But challenges to Apple's green credentials remain. Earlier this month, Apple was fined $11.4 million by the Italian authorities for failing to provide customers with information on the batteries in its products, and also for releasing updates to operating software that would slow older devices down and force users to upgrade — which Apple said was a "misunderstanding."

Rival tech giant Samsung also was fined $5.7 million for forcing through a similar firmware update that led to malfunctions on older phones.

Campaigners say this type of practice by tech companies means consumers are forced to upgrade their devices more often than necessary, wasting the valuable energy and resources that go into making electronic goods.

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