updated 01:55 pm EDT, Wed July 22, 2009
Apple fights iPod probe
Apple has been working to conceal the extent of incidents involving iPods bursting into flame, a Seattle TV station claims. Following a viewer complaint in November 2008, related to a burn caused by an iPod shuffle, KIRO 7 says it began an investigation, which discovered online accounts of other incidents. The station then filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, seeking a collection of all American complaints involving fires and burns caused by iPods.
The delivery of documents is said to have taken over seven months, as result of repeated attempts by Apple lawyers to file for exemptions. KIRO was ultimately presented with over 800 pages covering 15 fires, ranging as far back as 2005 and as recently as 2008. Aside from burns, affected iPods have generated smoke, sparks and damage to furniture.
Apple has also allegedly feigned ignorance when contacted by customers, for instance denying knowledge of fires in the case of an iPod gifted in December 2007. The CPSC has not taken action, KIRO notes, primarily because the number of reported incidents is said to be minuscule compared to the number of iPods sold, totaling over 175 million. Problems are argued to be virtually non-existent with modern iPods, in spite of a March lawsuit involving an exploding Touch.
The CPSC has warned Apple that it has a duty to disclose defects which could "create a substantial product hazard." Should more fires arise, the government body could reverse its decision and order products taken off the market.