Changing the Lightbulb in System Preferences


I was comparing settings on a new unibody MacBook Pro and matte display MacBook Pro recently, and something caught my eye. Apple made a subtle change in System Preferences that just might be part of a much bigger statement.

Here's the difference: The Energy Saver icon in System Preferences on the previous model MacBook Pro is an incandescent light bulb. On the new glossy display model, it's a compact florescent light. Both Macs are running Mac OS X 10.5.6.

Energy Saver then (left), and now (right)

Sure, the Preference Pane icon change could simply be cosmetic, but it could also be a subtle message about the company's stance on environmental issues -- and it appears only on Apple's glossy display laptops.

Compact florescent lights are seen by many as an environmentally better alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs because they use less electricity to produce the same amount of light. Maybe Apple is using the symbol as a little reminder that it is working to make its products "greener" and more environmentally friendly.

Apple has also been claiming "green" bragging rights over the components used in its laptops such as unibody construction for less production waste, fewer potentially hazardous chemicals, and smaller product packaging.

Those are all features worth touting, and maybe that little compact florescent icon is another part of Apple's self promotion scheme. Or maybe it's just a cool icon.