The hidden cost of Apple.

The hidden cost of Apple.


This video is sponsored by Brilliant, if you
stick around until the end, I’ll give you a link to get 20% off a premium membership! The 1984 Super Bowl wasn’t a particularly
exciting moment in sports history. The Oakland Raiders trounced the Redskins
38-9. But that game was memorable, not for any particular
play or touchdown. But for an ad. A call to revolution from a young and scrappy
tech company from California. That company was none other than Apple, and
that commercial would be praised as one of the more iconic advertisements that ushered
in the new personal computing era. Apple may have started a revolution in 1984
with that ad and their personal computers, but fast forward to 2019 and they seem to
be a lot more like Big Brother on the screen then the woman throwing the hammer. They’ve become a $750 billion dollar behemoth
that has consistently innovated in the realm of personalized tech. Recently, they claim to be innovating on another
front as well: sustainability. So, I’m curious whether Apple is as environmentally
friendly as they say, or whether there are environmental costs hidden under their sleek,
shiny surface. One of the biggest claims Apple has made in
the last couple of years is that it now runs on 100% renewable energy. But what does that actually mean? According to Apple’s most recent 2019 environmental
report, approximately 66% of that renewable energy comes from projects owned by Apple,
like their headquarter’s massive solar roof. The other 34%, however, is a mix of direct
purchasing from renewable utilities and buying renewable energy certificates or RECs. RECs are essentially a carbon credit for renewable
energy. If you buy them from a utility, somewhere
in the grid the equivalent amount of renewable electricity will be created. So theoretically, Apple could be using a percentage
of fossil fuels in its energy mix, but this made up for somewhere else in the utility
grid by generating the equivalent amount of energy with renewables. That being said, this 100% renewable claim
only covers a certain subsection of Apple’s total operations. This includes offices, retail stores, and
data centers around the world. All of those together, as Apple admits, only
account for 2% of their total carbon footprint. The majority of Apple’s carbon emissions,
some 74%, come from the manufacturing of their products in third-party factories. In Apple’s 2019 environmental report, they
claim to have emitted 25.2 million metric tons of Carbon dioxide, which is roughly the
equivalent of putting 5.3 million new cars on the road each year. While Apple has made strides in terms of their
energy usage and working with third-party suppliers during the manufacturing process,
there seems to be a disconnect between that work and their release of yearly models. By constantly churning out slightly upgraded
phones and computers, Apple and other tech companies have given rise to a desire for
new tech, even though people might not actually need a replacement. This quick cycle, paired with planned obsolescence,
has led to the subsequent trashing of perfectly good pieces of hardware. The Global E-Waste Monitor states that 44.7
million metric tons of e-waste was thrown out in 2016, and that number is predicted
to grow to 52.2 million by 2021. Just think about how many phones or old laptops
you have sitting in a random, forgotten drawer. Needless to say, we buy phones and computers
way more often than we should or need to, and the rate at which Apple announces new
products (and the rate at which their old products wear out) only hastens this cycle. This is also in part due to the lack of customizability
and fixability of Apple’s hardware: It’s not very intuitive to just switch a battery
in an Apple computer if its dead. The repairability of Macs is so bad that the
repair website iFixit gave the new 2019 13 inch Macbook Pro a 2 out of 10 for repairability
and the 2019 Ipad Mini and Ipad Air also got a 2 out of 10. But if you’re Apple, this makes sense. They are a for-profit company constantly in
need of beating out the encroaching competition in order to make a bigger profit than last
quarter. The harder it is for customers to repair Apple
tech, the more likely they are to buy Apple’s newest models. In comparison, a company like Fairphone is
bucking this trend. They seek to create a more environmentally
conscious and ethical phone by making their models easily repairable, modular, and longer-lasting. That being said, Apple has created a token
robot called Daisy that can apparently take apart and recycle 200 used Iphones per hour. But that will nowhere near scratch the surface
of trashed Iphones let alone address computer waste. It does, however, point to Apple’s interest
in implementing a sound recycling program for their phones. Apple does have flaws like many other tech
companies, but compared to its competitors in the field, it seems to be actively working
to create the smallest carbon footprint possible for a phone or computer. However, I think an even bigger question to
ask is whether it’s actually possible to innovate environmentally within the bounds
of a for-profit system. Should we be patting Apple on the back for
their environmental efforts, despite the fact that they are a hundred-billion dollar company
and could definitely be doing more to mitigate climate change? According to Apple’s environmental report,
they have curbed their emissions by 35% since 2015. That’s substantial, but they still emitted
the equivalent of 25.2 million metric tons of C02 in 2018. Because their main focus is not environmental
health or climate change, those issues will never be prioritized over selling more products. So while we should appreciate the fact that
Apple is aligning its systems in a more environmentally conscious way, they still have a long way
to go. At the end of the day, should you buy something
from Apple? In terms of the environment, the best thing
you can do is to buy a used computer or phone. But if you absolutely need something new,
then yes, Apple is a pretty decent choice. They are proving to be a leader in the tech
field when it comes to sustainability and renewable energy. But in reality, the bar that they have to
pass in order to gain that praise is pretty low, and supporting a more environmentally
conscious company is never a better option than buying used or not buying anything at
all. When we’re trying to understand Apple as
a company, we need to look beyond its flashy aesthetics in order to uncover the truth of
their claims. Indeed, some degree of scientific thinking
is necessary in order to evaluate their environmental impact. Luckily, Brilliant has an amazing course that
uses puzzles to hone your critical and scientific thinking skills. Brilliant is a problem-solving website that
lets you explore the realms of math and science through storytelling, code writing, and problem-solving. Which is exactly what you’ll get when you
dive into their new Scientific Thinking course. This course is awesome because you’re not
just sitting back and reading, instead Brilliant peppers in all sorts of quizzes to keep you
engaged and learning. Ultimately, if you’re like me and always
looking for new ways of understanding the world or just want to simply explore topics
like geometry or physics through interactive courses, then Brilliant is the way to go. So, if you want to start thinking scientifically,
go to brilliant dot org slash OCC, or click the link in the description, and sign up for
free. As a bonus, the first 200 people that go to
that link will get 20% off their annual premium membership. Hey everyone, Charlie here. Thanks so much for watching. I want to give a quick shout out to Chris
Lam for his generous support on Patreon. He is one of many patrons who’s supporting
me on my video making journey. So thank you so much! A quick note, there will not be a video in
two weeks, because I’m taking a break, but I’ll see you very soon.

67 Comments

  1. Our Changing Climate says:

    How do you feel about Apple? Do you own any Apple products? If not, what do you use?

  2. John Jacobs says:

    “Whether it’s possible to innovate environmentally within the bounds of a or profit system.”

    This video literally disproves this statement. It’s clearly possible to innovate environmentally in a for profit system, specially when consumer demands and cost make it more profitable to be environmental. If you properly tax carbon, you make the profit incentive to decrease carbon. Incentivizing companies to reduce carbon by properly pricing their products will create more environmental innovation than any alternative.

  3. Tyler Simpson says:

    The leasing/payment plans that American carriers (as well as Apple) have pushed since T-Mobile started the trend around 2014 might be the most significant contributer to the e-waste turnover. Apple now charges $1000 to actually buy their phones, which is completely inaccessible for 90% of Americans. So instead they and carriers rent them for an extra $30/month on top of the cell bill, plus required insurance of $10/month, but you never actually own the device. Some carriers, like T-Mobile, even push you to upgrade every THIRTY GODDAMN DAYS.

    I bought my 6S used and unlocked in 2016 for $200, it's still super fast, I've replaced the battery once for $30. No problem with it. If I had instead gone with the program every sales team is pitching, I could've gone through 42 different cellphones in that time, and spent an extra $2,000 while coming away with owning zero of the devices.

  4. Valeria Carrasco says:

    Which is the most durable phone? Pls I think I could change from apple to it when all my idevices are dead 🤔 (I’ve had an iPad for 4 years almost)

  5. Jade Damboise Rail says:

    I used my ipod until the screen was so f**ed up I was afraid if I spilt water on it it would go boom. I had that thing for YEARS. My next iPod I lost is so hopefully the new owner used it for a long time.

  6. John Smitherson says:

    Yup, it's ironic Apple because the Big Brother they were not when they started.

  7. TerribleTonyShow says:

    2.99/lb at my local supermarket, I think they buy it at 0.99/lb per import

  8. Alexandros Goulas says:

    5:52 "can a for-profit truly be environmentally conscious?". This is a big, big question, and I'm afraid that the answer is going to be not very pleasant. Now more than ever we need strong governments and institutions to watch over corporations and to stand for everyone's wellbeing

  9. Josip Jagic says:

    4:01 "we buy phone more hen we should", I have a phone from 2014

  10. MrRainKane says:

    While I appreciate the value, you're forgetting that most Apple products are used for far longer across the life of the product than pretty much anything out there. My Mac is 6 years old. It's still going. How many PC's have you had?

  11. Jerome Ley says:

    What if buying a macbook could give someone access and study that eventually leads him to solving big problems like strives in cancer reaearch, or even strives when it comes to climate change?

  12. Daniel Iles - Small Business says:

    The true cost is you have to get all matching devices. What starts as just a 1k iphone turns into a 20k cheese grater desk flex

  13. xyetian says:

    they don't even like independent repair shops replacing the batteries of the latest iPhones

  14. Käse Vernichter says:

    Could you talk about Shiftphone ?

  15. Devansh Jangid says:

    Honestly, who cares? The only people who choose to buy things from that company turned money robbing hypocrites are just Sheeps. Smart customers never buy shitty products anyway. And as for that net worth, all of us know that they're now declining faster than ever and there's nothing they can do about it.

  16. Kingston Modiselle says:

    I own and use Apple products on a daily basis and given the opportunity to buy new tech that I need I would stick to purchasing from them. Among a plethora of other reasons, one of the main ones being their approach to sustainability.

  17. riccccccardo says:

    My misses has Xs max she was shocked after all money spent apple didn’t provide crappy headphone dongle. 😐

  18. Synerrox says:

    I liked the last part of the video. Don't go easy on anyone.

  19. starlight says:

    Oof I just got a new iPhone :/ but I’ll probably keep it till 2023 to be honest. I’m not spending near €1,000 on a phone ever year haha

  20. FluFF mallow says:

    But what about the child labour

  21. S D says:

    Can you please do a video about the company “imperfect produce”

    Also you have a great channel.

  22. lost girl says:

    Apple should release new phones every 3 year

  23. firewordsparkler says:

    Pleasantly surprised by this. While I hate a lot of their business practices, I'm glad they're leading the effort in the tech field to combat climate change. I doubt my next computer will be another apple product, but I've been using the same Macbook Air for about 4 years, and don't plan on buying a new one anytime soon.

  24. Martin Taylor says:

    3:30 Don't get why people say that I'm sitting here watching this video on a 2009 Macbook Pro

  25. DrEiarmig says:

    Apple is still supporting the iPhone 5s from 2013, which is great! I don‘t think there‘s a single android smartphone from 6 years ago with the latest os. So they are trying to keep their phones alive for longer than any other company. But we have to push Apple on other issues, like the right to repair movement. If sustainability really is important to them, then they should allow third parties to repair their products and even design their phones/tablets/pc etc with repairability in mind. While a glued in battery might shave half a millimeter of a device, I‘d rather have a slightly thicker device with a replaceable battery, screen or what ever. I think that a lot if not most people would subscribe to that idea. As the biggest tech firm we have to push Apple harder on these issues because they lead the way and they could do a lot better.
    Thanks for the great video.

  26. Marcus Armitage says:

    Good to get clarification on how the “100% renewable energy” figure actually breaks down.

    Its true that Apple does put a lot more effort in than other companies to recycle their customers’ old devices. They offer a free recycling service and discounts on new products if you trade old ones in. You can also very easily get consumable parts like batteries replaced very easily by visiting their stores on contacting their technical support.

    And as for planned obsolescence, Apple guarantees software updates and technical support for at least 5 years after a product launches. Not sure how many other companies go that far! 🤷‍♂️

  27. CamrynTheAce says:

    Can u do rareform? V curious if its even good for the enviorment.

  28. KarolaTea says:

    We're 100% renewable now!* (*100% of 2%) wow.

    That tech company rating is interesting. Which source is it from?

    Great video as always 🙂

    Enjoy your break!

  29. Eileen de Sousa says:

    Could you please do a video on 'is offset earth legit?'

  30. Il Capitano Alexandr says:

    You deserve those two weeks.. cheers pal)

  31. maxroman2010 says:

    Something a little unfair in this video can be seen from my example… I got iPad 3 in 2012. And it’s battery doesn’t need to replaced))) as its usability and speed is the main concern) it is on the shelf now, but because it has gotten really slow and can’t keep up with the new technology.))) not because it is cheaper to buy new one instead of replacing the battery)) the battery is still amazing! And my girlfriend still uses her iPad 4 everyday. The battery is great

  32. David Hood says:

    Can it not be argued that since iPhones last longer, there are less phones to be made each year, thereby reducing Apple’s carbon footprint?

  33. Claudio Cappadona says:

    Please do a video like this also for the others major tech companies like Microsoft Google Amazon etc 🙏

  34. retepsparky says:

    Go team Android

  35. Aaron Billow says:

    Funny how this video is sponsored by a service that only runs on computers. I love this channel don’t get me wrong, but innovation and repairability are much different than textiles talked about here.

  36. George I says:

    While I do not like of buy apple products I do not think they are dumb. There is a reason they are one of the biggest brands in the world and this doesn't just happen if you give away money.

  37. jonathan berg says:

    No capitalist profiteering isn't good, now a word from our sponsor…

  38. Fernando L. R. says:

    You hit the mark when confronting profitability vs. sustainability. Just look at the AirPods, a device with a life cycle of 2 years at best, making it one of the most disposable bestselling pieces of tech ever.

  39. Darcy Fitzpatrick says:

    Still using my iPhone 5s. Apple makes devices that last and they support them with software updates twice as long as other leading tech companies. I think you missed that fact when inferring that annual release cycles promotes waste. Apple have actively worked to encourage customers to keep using older products. And repairability is less a factor in prolonging the use of a device than build quality is. Apple products last longer than other products that are more repairable but less useful over time.

  40. Jan Seidler says:

    Buy „Librem 5“ Phone.

    – Privacy-oriented
    – Freedom-oriented
    – Security-oriented

    Research „Resource-Based Economy“

    – Priority on human well-being and enviromental sustainability
    – Upgrade our socioeconomic system to one more fitting for an economy of abundance and emergent social systems

  41. HanaTNT says:

    Apple products are known for their longevity snd software upgradability. iPads, iPhones, laptops and Macs can be used for many years if you take care of them. This is one of the main reason for their high second hand price, unlike windows laptops and other phones.
    This is good if you buy them and keep using them until they give up. However, I do think they should be easily fixable and upgradable (the laptops) because right now apple is trying to glue everything to the motherboard.
    Another point, all though I don’t like it; that premium price is making a lot of average consumer hold on even more to their devices without upgrading, which is better for the environment.

  42. Gerald Monton says:

    when others companies create plastic phones

  43. Garry Reyom says:

    Not even watched yet, I’m going to say no. Apple designs their products to be disposable, they don’t want you to stick with a device longer than a year.

  44. m.manfro says:

    Hey I really like you videos and find them both relaxing and informative, but I’d like you to talk about cigarettes impact on the environment (it may not be a big problem in the us but it is in the rest of the world) I always heard about the fact that cigarettes butts are very bad but what’ actually the problem with the smoke

  45. Lucy Lushie says:

    What microphone do you guys use? It's fantastic quality 🙂

  46. Jordan Warne says:

    Android nougat is now called long lasting…

  47. Micah Luna says:

    Please make a video about metal straw impacts.

  48. Rachel Clapper says:

    You should do a video on this article: https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/eat-microplastic/.

  49. Yassir Rossel says:

    this video is pointless…

  50. willinton06 says:

    For a moment I thought they meant financially, and I was like, isn’t Apple the most profitable company in the entire world? But this I get

  51. SOME TECH CHANNEL says:

    It’s no different from Samsung, Google or any other tech company

  52. SOME TECH CHANNEL says:

    I don’t believe there is planned obsolescence, I think it’s just that there is no business interest in making devices more long lasting

  53. SOME TECH CHANNEL says:

    Samsung’s S10 got half the reparability score of the iPhone Xs

  54. SOME TECH CHANNEL says:

    Fairphone might make renewable phones but they are also rubbish at everything else

  55. SOME TECH CHANNEL says:

    Well except for Apple might want to be more sustainable so they can make more profit in the future

  56. SOME TECH CHANNEL says:

    Apple is owned by investors, and those investors are interested in the environment because they don’t want their grand-children to die of climate change

  57. Eleni Hadjicosta says:

    At 3:40 I j was hoping you’d put a comparison of how much e-waste production has increased in comparison to previous years in order to emphasise the immoral idea of pumping out new tech and people feeling they need to buy the latest tech

  58. Patsy says:

    Yeah sure it is important to keep carbon emissions low, but what about other environmentally degrading practices, such as mining, water pollution etc???

  59. Wakosnif says:

    The best thing about Apple products is that they have a huge used market and they retain their value very well.
    Personally I like to buy a used MacBook that fits my budget and resell it when I want to upgrade: this way I don't produce any unnecessary waste and I minimize the expense.
    I'm planning on doing the same with my smartphone the next time I'll upgrade

  60. Ari Foster says:

    i think apple is being weird with their wireless charging, no headphone jack, and facial recognition. those things all make using it so much slower. if i could, id be on a samsung but the problem is, im so accustumed to apple products, icloud, and apple music, that i just cant switch now. i grew up with it so i guess im sticking with it. i do always buy used iphones tho so that im not stuck on their plan

  61. Silvana De Paola says:

    Hi! would you make a video about Addidas and their initiatives on recycling plastic, I saw a video on Insider Tech, apparently they will also have a new product which will be 100% recyclable the 'Futurecraft Loop' is called, it would be interesting to see your research on this brand… love your videos! 🙂

  62. Dexter Pellew says:

    These videos are so bias

  63. o w a m i says:

    futsek bitch boy

  64. pandah says:

    Love your videos! Could you do a video on TOMS shoes?

  65. Habib Ikram says:

    Apple is still scrappy, ik this, im commenting using a mavbook pro rn.

  66. Sarah says:

    Hi can you do a video looking into the company fairphone?

  67. Jonathan Berth says:

    what is the name of the font you use in the video?

  68. Naiuhz says:

    What's the name of the music used in this video?

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