In an open letter describing Apple's approach to environmental concerns, the company's CEO Steve Jobs said that "Apple plans to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays when technically and economically feasible."
Apple is already familiar with the use of LEDs, since all its iPod displays use LED backlighting. Now, it will be looking to make the switch to LED backlights in larger displays. Laptop-sized LCD panels are likely to be the first to be considered "technically and economically feasible."
To help drive the switch, Jobs emphasized that Apple is looking for further developments from the display industry. "Our ability to completely eliminate fluorescent lamps in all of our displays depends on how fast the LCD industry can transition to LED backlighting for larger displays," he said.
The latest announcement is motivated by environmental concerns. "To eliminate mercury in our displays, we need to transition from fluorescent lamps to LEDs to illuminate the displays," said Jobs.
The letter began by acknowledging that Apple has been criticized by some environmental organizations for not being a leader in removing toxic chemicals from its new products, and for not aggressively or properly recycling its old products. Jobs then went on to describe how Apple is already addressing such issues, with the removal of mercury being one such approach.