Apple launched the iPhone SE and the iPad Pro 9.7-inches yesterday at a year-end event and gave us quite a surprise with a high end device clothed in the iPhone 5s persona and the cut down price. Though for Indians the relief did not end as the iPhone is nowhere priced even close to affordable – no Rs 39,000 for 16 gigs is NOT affordable, no matter what core or processor inside. Indians will still flock to the store for the iPhone 4s skipping the new iPhone SE as it is just cheaper and so much more affordable. But then no, that’s not the reason for writing this post – criticising the iPhone or Apple. The reason is precisely why Indians might need Liam the most. Who Liam, you ask?

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Liam is Apple’s robot who dismantles iPhones. The one thing very, very different about Apple’s this launch was the focus Apple paid to recycling and their sudden stress on being environment friendly. And that’s where Liam the robot fit in. The keynote It felt like the moment when Leo finally ascended the stage to accept his Oscar and he gave the world a beautiful message – the Earth is dying and we need to do something about it. While coming at the Oscars it felt powerful, at Apple’s iPhone SE keynote event, it just felt kind of weird with it being Apple’s first time trying such a gimmick. However, Apple did introduce us to Liam, their in-house robot who is responsible for dismantling and recycling the iPhone.

[ALSO READ: Apple iPad Pro 9.7 – Complete specifications and Pricing]

What exactly is Liam? Liam is a robot who dismantles iPhones and pulls their materials apart, knowing exactly to dispose of what and how. So that means that the dangerous and chemical laden batteries do not go to the same place as the back or the glass screen do.Apple developed Liam after 3 years of intense research and mainly to counter the constant criticism that though sleek and compact, the phones were difficult to recycle owing to their compact parts. Liam will not only identify each part of the iPhone and send it for recycling individually but also prevent any mishaps from bad parts or parts that cannot be reused at all.

 

[ALSO READ: Apple iPhone SE to launch in India in the first week of April and cost Rs 39,000]

Liam can pull apart an iPhone 6 and its components every 11 seconds and this means that if worked constantly, Liam can handle a few million phones per year. However, the need for Liam is much greater as more than millions of Apple devices are used by ardent fans each year. Also, Liam is currently being tested out only for the iPhone 6 – which is pretty recent and previous iPhone models like the 5 and 5s need  recycling too. Apple plans to expand to other models in due course. However, the challenge for Apple is to not use a robot in dismantling iPhones – it is to make iPhones using reconstructible material.

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While Liam can definitely help Apple, not every Apple user visits an Apple store to recycle their products. Most of the recycling is done by human recyclers who take the iPhones and dismantle them by hand. Thus, while Liam might be a great effort, the challenge is for Apple to create the device that can reach to multiple devices and be used even in the smallest of recyclable factories or by humans. However, Liam is a great introduction to the Apple family with the brand slowly moving towards a more sustainable future.