“The European Union is preparing new directives that could have an impact on Apple’s future products, including ‘the New Batteries Directive,’ which proposes to mandate that batteries in electronic appliances be ‘readily removed’ for replacement or disposal,” Prince McLean reports for AppleInsider.

“While the Battery Directive now in force states that it must be easy for consumers to remove batteries from electronic products, the ‘New Batteries Directive’ now being drafted over the next year goes even further to state that electrical equipment must be designed to allow that batteries be ‘readily removed’ for replacement or removal at the end of product’s life,” McLean reports. “Gary Nevison, writing for New Electronics, said ‘the requirement is clearly intended to ensure that users can remove batteries by opening a cover by hand or after removal of one or two screws. The producer will also have to provide the user with details on how to remove the battery safely.’”

McLean reports, “Such a regulation would seem to impact Apple’s integrated battery design of its iPods and the iPhone, which are somewhat unique in that their batteries are not designed to be user replaceable and typically require special tools or professional assistance to remove them. At the same time however, the directives are not yet completed or ratified, and subject to both modification and exception.”

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Brawndo Drinker" for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Note:

iPod Owners: Your one-year warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. You can extend your coverage to two years from the date of your iPod purchase with the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPod. During the plan’s coverage period, Apple will replace the battery if it drops below 50% of its original capacity. If it is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery replacement for US$49 (iPod shuffle), $59 (iPod nano and classic), $79 (iPod touch) plus $6.95 shipping, subject to local tax. Apple disposes of your battery in an environmentally friendly manner. More info on iPod battery replacements here.

iPhone Owners: Your one-year warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. You can extend your coverage to two years from the date of your iPhone purchase with the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone. During the plan’s coverage period, Apple will replace the battery if it drops below 50% of its original capacity. If it is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery replacement for $79, plus $6.95 shipping, subject to local tax. Apple disposes of your battery in an environmentally friendly manner. More info on iPhone battery replacements here.

MacBook Air Owners: Your one-year warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. You can extend your replacement coverage for a defective battery to three years from the date of your notebook purchase with the AppleCare Protection Plan. Apple also offers a battery replacement service for out-of-warranty units for $129. The length of time to complete the repair will depend upon the repair location and availability of service stock. In general, the following replacement times apply: Apple Retail: same day repair with an appointment, Apple Mail-in repair: 3-4 business days after shipment of unit to depot. More info here.