updated 11:00 am EDT, Mon August 3, 2009
Liverpool iPod explodes
Apple is continuing to use legal tools to silence talk of iPod fires, according to UK publication The Times. The newspaper points to an incident in Liverpool last month, in which an iPod touch, belonging to 11-year-old Ellie Stanborough, exploded. Her father Ken was holding the player just prior to the eruption. "It made a hissing noise," he says. "I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapor."
Before it could inflict any injuries, the elder Stanborough says he threw the iPod out his back door. Within just 30 seconds, he notes, "there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10 feet in the air."
He then attempted to contact Apple, and Argos, the retailer which sold the iPod. Interactions ultimately reached an Apple executive, who had a letter sent offering a refund, but denying responsibility. The letter further imposed strict conditions on the refund, insisting that the Stanboroughs "keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential," with the possible penalty of "injunctive relief, damages and legal costs" sought in court. As a result, the letter went unsigned. "We didn't ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back," says Mr. Stanborough.
The problem may be poorly timed for Apple, which was recently revealed to have used legal interference to fight a TV station's investigation into earlier fires. The end result was over 800 pages of information, covering 15 American incidents which occurred between 2005 and 2008. Apple has allegedly attempted to downplay the fires, for instance denying knowledge of other cases when addressing complaints.