The iPad, one of the most anticipated consumer electronics devices since Apple’s own iPhone, goes on sale this weekend. Demand is brisk, reviews are generally positive, and it looks like Steve Jobs has another hit on his hands. But the positive reaction muted a little for greentech geeks this week when Greenpeace released its Make IT Green report (PDF).
As Katie noted earlier this week, the report, which singled out the iPad as a “harbinger” of a new generation of cloud-dependent web tablets and mobile devices, forecasts that the cloud will consume 1.96 trillion kWh of energy by 2020, three times the 622.6 billion kWh consumed in 2007 — and the majority of that energy will be sourced from coal-fired power plants.
The report threatens to dull cloud computing’s green sheen, but here are four reasons why you shouldn’t fear the iPad.
Apple’s (Green) Data Center: Officially, Apple hasn’t divulged the purpose behind its massive data center build in North Carolina, but the writing’s on the wall: the company is betting big on cloud services. Add to that the fact that green data center guru Olivier Sanche is on the company’s payroll as Director of Global Data Center Operations, and its likely that its a green data center that will serve up media (and apps, lots of them) to iPad users.
Data Center Renewable Energy on the Rise: Greenpeace rightfully calls on web giants to wield their clout and insist on renewable energy for their data centers (much like my colleague Derrick has in the past). Guess what? They already are.
Accelerated Dematerialization: According to the Cleantech Group, each one of Amazon’s e-readers, on average, delivers an estimated savings of 168 kg of CO2 per year. Strong iPad sales will help grow the e-book market (via its iBookstore), accelerate the dematerialization of dead tree books, and shift consumption to the cloud. Coal powered or not, that’s likely to deliver a net environmental benefit.
Image courtesy if Apple