How to make a greener Apple: Change the batteries, Steve

I read with some amusement an article published by BusinessWeek highlighting Apple's (AAPL) big plans to become a more green company. Apple CEO Steve Jobs pointed out in that article that his company was releasing more information on its total carbon footprint. That omission had earned Apple raspberries from the environmental community and low ratings in big green company rankings from the likes of Newsweek, among others. Jobs also argued strenuously the carbon-footprint rankings were missing a piece by leaving out the actual downstream carbon impact of the phones, computers and music players once they left the factory.

I couldn't agree with him more. Which is why I was so amused. The easiest way for Apple to reduce its carbon footprint would be to encourage customers to buy less hardware. Instead, they could pay for software, or so-called firmware upgrades, that would improve devices like iPods and iPhones. But Apple pushes for the opposite, driving customers to swap out old products for new ones every 18 months.