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Will the Apple Watch be a recycling disaster?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 12:10:29

This week the Apple Watch officially arrived in the UK, prompting a mass of press coverage and much debate about whether it is worth buying. But one issue which this device should also raise is whether its environmental impact will be a negative one.

The problem posed by the Apple Watch is that it could make wrist wear disposable. So rather than holding onto watches for years or even decades, people may feel compelled to upgrade their smartwatch once every two years or so.

Of course, it is worth pointing out that this prophecy has not played out in the tablet market, where manufacturers are seeing a slump in sales growth due to tablet life cycles not being as short as originally predicted. But even so, the Apple Watch is simply different from traditional watches, with its technical advances also being disadvantages when it comes to longevity.

The battery is perhaps the biggest issue, as rather than allowing years of operation from a single small cell, it will get through its allocated power in a day or two. So recharging the Apple Watch and your iPhone at the same time will be a necessity and, like other mobile devices, this will put strain on the battery, eventually leading to its demise.

People who invest in the Apple Watch will have to remember to use it responsibly and dispose of it at the end of its life by recycling it, just as they can already do with an old mobile phone. This will allow consumers to commit to yet more portable gadgetry, while still behaving in a sustainable way.

The Apple Watch may not manage to even launch the smartwatch market into the mainstream, so perhaps this particular avenue of the wearable market will become a dead end.




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