When you bring home that brand new MacBook, expect it to be your loyal companion for the next four years. At least, that's how long Apple expects that you'll use the laptop before moving on to a new device.
That tidbit comes from an FAQ Apple posted on its site (opens in new tab) about its environmental efforts, part of the company's overall push to promote its green credentials as of late.
In the FAQ, which discusses how Apple executives oversee environmental efforts, the company's carbon emissions reports and its recycling program, Apple also reveals how long it expects consumers to use its products. That's not how long the product is expected to work, mind you, but rather how long you'll keep an Apple device. It's part of how the company measures power consumed by its wares.
For MacBooks (and Mac desktops — anything that runs OS X), that's four years for the products's "first owner." Presumably, Apple expects users to pass on laptops to others before turning around and buying a new one.
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The least expensive MacBook currently available is the 11-inch MacBook Air for $899, which translates to $224.75 per year of expected use. The most expensive MacBook is a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display updated to a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7 processor and a 1TB PCIe SSD for $3,199, or $799.75 per year of expected use.
Apple also assumes that devices running tvOS will be used for four years, while iOS and watchOS owners will get three years out of their devices before moving on.
(For a fun tidbit within a tidbit, the Guardian reports that an early version of the FAQ referred to OS X as "MacOS." That could mean that Apple is considering renaming its desktop operating system to fall in line with what it calls its other OSes.)
The periods of time are, of course, estimates, and your MacBook may very well last longer than four years. Last year's OS X update, El Capitan, runs on some Macs introduced as far back as 2007.
If you are looking to recycle your Mac, you can do so at an Apple Store. You also can check out our guide to getting rid of your old laptop.