Apple Unveils 'Cleanest' iPod Yet

Steve Jobs today revealed several new products, including a "toxic-free" Nano.

ByABC News
September 9, 2008, 3:57 PM

Sept. 9, 2008— -- In a highly anticipated event today in San Francisco, Steve Jobs unveiled a new iPod Nano that he said was Apple's "cleanest" and most "toxic free" yet.

For environmentalists who have been campaigning against "e-waste" for years, this is a sign of progress.

The Apple chairman and CEO said the new Nanos use arsenic-free glass, are free of BFR, mercury and PVC and are highly recyclable.

"This is great news," said Casey Harrell, a toxics campaigner for Greenpeace International. "They've been moving this way on the design side of their products."

In 2004, Greenpeace started targeting the technology company with a "Green My Apple" e-waste campaign. When Jobs publicly committed to creating more environmentally sustainable products in the spring of 2007, Greenpeace dropped the campaign.

Harrell said Jobs agreed that, starting Jan. 1, 2009, the company would create products free of BFR (brominated flame retardants) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride).

"They're beating their deadline, hopefully," he said, adding that Greenpeace will still be watching to make sure that subsequent iPhones, MacBooks and desktop towers will be as clean.

Independent analyst Rob Enderle said Apple's new announcement signals that the company is "finally stepping up and starting to embrace the green movement."

"This was a huge embarrassment, continually highlighted by Greenpeace," he said, adding that the situation looked even worse because former Vice President Al Gore is a member of Apple's board of directors.

Despite this victory for environmentalists, analysts said the presentation included few surprises.

"[There was] no revolution," said James McQuivey, a principal analyst with media research firm Forrester Research. "There's obviously evolution in that the devices are moving to a better experience, but there's nothing here that changes the game."

"Anyone expecting Apple to make any move that would dramatically alter the field would be disappointed."

Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, also said that many of the features Jobs revealed today had already been seen on rumor blogs.