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Wednesday, May 21, 2008, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

All Apple MacBooks to use LED backlighting by 2009

Apple plans for all of its MacBooks to use LED-backlit displays by 2009, completing a transition across its notebook lines away from mercury-laden panels that began last year with an update to its MacBook Pro.

According to a report in the Wednesday edition of the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, back light unit (BLU) maker Kenmos Technology will be the primary beneficiary of the move. The Taiwan-based firm is said to have been the Mac maker's primary supplier of LED BLUs in 2007 when it introduced BLU technology on the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Since then, Apple has gone on to make LED-lit displays standard on its 13-inch MacBook Air. It also offers them as a build-to-order option on the more generously proportioned 17-inch MacBook Pro.

The movement is part of the company's charge towards "a greener Apple," which kicked into overdrive last year amid increased pressure from shareholders and environmental organizations who accused the electronics maker of dragging its feet when it came to removing environmentally harmful toxic chemicals from its products.

As part of an open letter on the matter, chief executive Steve Jobs said plans to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays when technically and economically feasible.

"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 explained.

Jobs in the same letter added that Apple also has a plan to completely eliminate the use of arsenic in all of its displays by the end of 2008.