Apple touts lightweight, greener iPad Air

Apple touts lightweight, greener iPad Air

iPad Air image courtesy of Apple.

Apple last week unveiled the lightest full-sized tablet computer in the world, hailing the device as a major milestone in its drive to produce more resource and energy-efficient products.

The company said the new iPad Air, unveiled last week, is thinner, faster and more energy-efficient than all of its predecessors.

The new tablet is 20 percent thinner than the previous generation iPad 4, and features a border that is 43 percent smaller, even though the screen size remains the same size.

At 454 grams, the iPad Air is also 181 grams lighter than the previous model, which, according to Apple marketing vice president Phil Schiller, makes it the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.

"To make an iPad this thin took a huge amount of work over years; the team has just been remarkable in finding every tenth and hundredth of a millimeter from every level of the system from the bezel, to the multi-touch surface, to the display and battery and enclosure," he said at the launch event.

"The benefits are not only making it thin, but lighter, too. The new iPad Air weighs just one pound. That makes it the lightest full-sized tablet in the world. When you hold it, it will be a dramatically different experience to the previous iPad."

Apple said the compact size would help to reduce shipping emissions, energy consumed during production and the waste generated at the end of the product's life. Each iPad Air requires just 86 grams of aluminium, compared to the 135 grams used in the iPad 3.

Significantly, Apple also revealed that the new Air model consumes 20 percent less power in standby mode than the previous model, and, although the device has a significantly smaller battery, it still delivers a 10-hour battery life.

The product is the latest example of a leading brand seeking to reduce the resource footprint of its products as firms respond to raw material constraints that have led to rising commodity prices in recent years. The trend has prompted a wide range of companies to design lighter, smaller and more recyclable products, as they attempt to move towards the development of a so-called "circular economy" where resources are consistently reused.

The new iPad was unveiled after Apple recently announced a new trade-in service designed to encourage customers to recycle their old devices.

Editor's note: In the video below, Apple's sustainability chief, Lisa Jackson, tells GreenBiz about the company's push to use renewable energy.

This article originally appeared at Business Green.

iPad Air image courtesy of Apple.