At its media event on Monday, Apple kicked off by discussing its efforts to reduce waste and improve its renewable energy infrastructure, marking a heightened focus on the company's environmental responsibilities.

As part of the presentation, the company also unveiled a robotic system it has developed that can disassemble old iPhones and recover recyclable materials.

The robot, called 'Liam', was introduced in a video showing how it deftly deconstructs an iPhone in order to repurpose a range of materials.

Liam is seen in the video rescuing cobalt and lithium from the battery, separating gold and copper from the camera, and extracting silver and platinum from the main logic board.


Apple revealed that the Liam system went into full-capacity service last month after nearly three years in development. It consists of 29 robotic modules on a single site near Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, and is capable of taking apart an iPhone every 11 seconds. A second robot is being installed in Europe.

The company said that Liam will initially focus on recycling junked iPhone 6 handsets, but Apple plans to modify and expand the system to deconstruct different models and recover more resources.

The robot appears to be a response to criticisms that components used in Apple's devices can be difficult to disassemble, refurbish and reuse. However, according to Reuters, Liam can likely handle no more than a few million phones per year, which is a small fraction of the more than 231 million phones Apple sold in 2015.

Greenpeace welcomed Apple's initiative as a good example of the company's environmental commitments, but the group questioned how much of an impact the Liam robot would actually have on overall iPhone recycling volumes. The bulk of discarded iPhones go through independent e-waste recyclers, which will not have access to Liam.

"If it's easy for a robot, that's great," said Greenpeace IT analyst Gary Cook, speaking to Reuters. "But making it easier for a human, who will be doing most of this, is part of the solution."

Last May, Apple received a perfect scorecard in Greenpeace's Clean Energy Index report, topping Amazon, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Yahoo for its commitment to renewable energy initiatives.

Yesterday's media event also saw the debut of new products, including the iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and new Apple Watch updates.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

Benjamin Frost Avatar
107 months ago
The best thing Apple can do for the environment is to make products that last for a very long time.

The best thing we can do as Apple users is to buy their products as infrequently as possible, and make them last a long time.

It's not what Apple would want to hear, but it's the truth. If it leads to lower profits, so be it.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
soupcan Avatar
107 months ago
I wanna point out that the iPhone in the video isn't an existing iPhone. It has the 6(S) design with one big difference: no protruding camera. Which brings up the question: what was going on behind Apple's walls when making this video? It's their video showing off a product with their logo on it that does not exist.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shareef777 Avatar
107 months ago
I wanna point out that the iPhone in the video isn't an existing iPhone. It has the 6(S) design with one big difference: no protruding camera. Which brings up the question: what was going on behind Apple's walls when making this video? It's their video showing off a product with their logo on it that does not exist.
It's a marketing video. I wouldn't put too much thought into it. Most of the video shows the dismantling of an iPhone 6 based devices, yet they show an iPhone 5 devices for the sim tray removal. Why? Maybe cause it looks nicer on camera?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DUCKofD3ATH Avatar
107 months ago
I wonder what the meaning behind the name "Liam" is.
Likes Imagining Annihilating Mankind
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0007776 Avatar
107 months ago
Why is this in PRSI? It's just a recycling robot, what is controversial about that?
Probably because recycling is good for the environment and some people think that protecting the environment should be controversial.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sulpfiction Avatar
107 months ago
All this technology and we have a camera bump on the new iPads. I'm not one to say "SJ would never do this", etc. But I do know with 100% certainty that if SJ was still around there would be no bump on the iPad, or the iPhone 6. And truthfully the bump doesn't bother me at all. But it does show me that Apple is forgetting the SJ philosophy that made Apple what it is today. And that's a scary thought to me. That little bump speaks volumes.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...