In this case, the seemingly subtle design alterations of the iPhone 5 will lead to a massive — and expensive — overhaul of the entire iFamily, adding to the already 20-30 million tons of e-waste generated each year. However, with a little creative repurposing, we wastehaters can avert some of that trash. Here’s the scoop.
Goodbye 30-Pin Connector
Among the iPhone 5’s many new features, Apple replaced its 30-pin connector with a smaller 9-pin version. The so-called Lightning connector will also be used for the new iPod Touch, iPod Nano, and most likely all future iFamily products. While it’s great that this new technology is sleeker, sturdier and reversible, all pre-iPhone 5 devices can’t use it.
What does this all mean?
Those alarm clocks with iPhone 4s hook ups that are in nearly every hotel room across the country are now outdated. Those speakers that blast music from your iPod will need replacing. Everything from car chargers to medical devices will become obsolete — yikes!
Thankfully, Apple is also releasing an adapter so that the iPhone 5 can connect to the old accessories. It costs $29 and is sold separately from the smartphone. However, the adapter will not support all 30-pin devices. Some accessories will need to be completely replaced which you guessed it, means more waste.
If you do plan on upgrading to the iPhone 5, you can receive an Apple store credit by turning in your old iPhone to Apple’s recycling program.
Old Covers, But Not New Waste
The second feature of the iPhone 5 that will lead to more trash may not be so obvious. While the smartphone’s new size makes it the thinnest phone in the world, it also means all those plastic covers we bought to protect our iPhone 4s and previous generations will no longer fit. With the iPhone 5’s thinner, lighter, and a drop longer size, our old covers will have to be replaced.
But that doesn’t mean they have to wind up in the local landfill!
Wastehaters that we are, we’ve been dreaming up some new uses for the soon to be obsolete generation of iPhone covers.
For instance, how about a nifty little tray to hold votives?
They’d make a great “coaster” to prevent furniture from scratching the floor.
Or an easy-to-clean place to put your salt and pepper shakers.
What about you?
How might you repurpose your own soon-to-be-outdated iPhone cover? Let us know. We’ll publish the best ones next month.