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Apple attempting to conceal iPod fires?

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I smell lawsuits....

    It's a big difference between a few (or several) iPods catching on fire, and Apple not offering to replace or cover costs (incl. medical) associated with it.

    I'm sorry, I think this is a big joke... If the iPods were a HUGE fire threat or danger, they would've been yanked a long time ago. Also, let's not forget the fact that "millions" of notebook batteries were recalled for the same thing. That's not to excuse Apple or the iPod, but if someone called Apple w/ a burnt iPod and singed jeans/legs, I doubt they would flat-out ignore it.

    The reason no-one is really talking about how "poorly" Apple handled their burnt iPod is b/c they were handled properly, and more than likely had to sign an NDA.

    Sorry, this whole thing reeks of $$$-hungry lawyers.

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Was there a 3rd party charger involved?

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm not surprised...

    ...that Apple's lawyers filed for exemptions. Media outlets are notorious for taking isolated incidents and acting as if they're endemic, all for the purposes for ratings.

    I'll bet that station ran an ad during primetime to the effect of "Could your iPod burn your house down? Are you and your family at risk? Find out at 11."

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    how about tv caused fire?

    There are plenty of fire caused by TV, so KIRO 7 must be at fault.

    Let's file some freedom of information act on fires caused by TV that might have at some time tuned to that KIRO 7 tv station.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969



    15 Fires? In Four Years? How many millions of iPods sold?

    I would assume there were more defective lamps, waffle irons, toasters..

    Did they use third party chargers (as mentioned above) leave it out in the rain? Attach to stereo, leave in hot car?

  1. Mrjinglesusa

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give me an f-ing break...

    What is that, like 0.000008% of iPods sold caught fire? I GUARANTEE a higher percentage of blenders, TVs, stereos, etc. have caught fire. NON-ISSUE.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: I'm not

    ...that Apple's lawyers filed for exemptions. Media outlets are notorious for taking isolated incidents and acting as if they're endemic, all for the purposes for ratings.

    Oh please. The act of filing the exemptions makes them look worse and trying to cover up something bigger than what they actually had. Especially since a lot of times companies are trying to cover these things up when the 'body count' is actually large and statistically significant.

    And until the documents are released, the people wanting them have no idea if there's 15, 150, or 15,000.

    And the above article seems to imply that the report was actually fair.

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    1 in 10 million

    My reading of the article is that it took a long time to get the information, but when they got it it comes down to 15 "fires" out of 175 million ipods sold. Less than one in 10 million sounds "miniscule" to me as it does to the CPSC. Move along; nothing to see here.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Breaking news

    A KIRO employee, presumably responsible for suggesting the further pursuit beyond the November 2008 complaint, has been seen scrounging through municipal dumps muttering, "there's got to be more. there's GOT to be MORE!"

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