Apple really snuck this one into a press release yesterday.
Yesterday, the company announced the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, Apple Watch Series 9, and Apple Watch Ultra 2. One of the big things — especially with the Apple Watch — that Apple touted was its advancements in the environmental impact of its smartwatches. The company announced that both the Series 9 and Ultra 2 are its first carbon-neutral products.
It also revealed its progress in a number of areas regarding the company’s environmental initiatives. However, one of those areas actually wasn’t touched on during the keynote and found itself buried in one of its press releases from yesterday. Apple has announced a new feature called Grid Forecast for the Home app that tells you when the electric grid you are connected to is more likely to use clean energy.
Grid Forecast is a new tool in the Home app on Apple devices that shows when a user’s electrical grid has relatively cleaner or less clean energy sources available. For example, there are times when wind and solar projects produce more energy than the grid can use, leading to some of it being wasted. There are also times when electricity is being generated with lower emissions. By using electricity during these cleaner times, customers may lower the climate impact of the electricity they use at home.
The company says that it is able to project the availability of cleaner energy using data that “combines grid, emissions, and weather information into one, easy-to-follow signal.” At launch, the feature will only be available in the United States.
This can help people make decisions about the best time to run large appliances and charge electric vehicles or devices throughout the day. In the contiguous United States, Grid Forecast is available in the Home app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, and can be added as an iOS widget or a watch face complication. As additional data becomes available through ongoing industry collaboration, Apple will continue refining Grid Forecast to maximize impact.
This is a really cool idea. As someone who tries to continue to educate myself on my environmental impact, I’d want to know when it is a better time to charge devices in my home or, for example, run my dishwasher or laundry machines. While I thankfully am able to access renewable energy through community solar and wind energy programs — even as a renter — using energy when it is inherently cleaner means that I don’t have to offset as much dirty energy through credits.
I’m excited to start using Grid Forecast when it launches with iOS 17 and the rest of Apple’s software updates next week. But, if I’m honest, I will probably download the public betas this week since I just can’t wait anymore. Welcome to Techtember!