Apple tried to silence family over exploding iPod

According to a report by The Times, Apple attempted to silence a father and his daughter after the child's iPod exploded and the family sought a refund from the company.

Ken Stanborough said "It made a hissing noise. I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour". As a precaution, he threw the device out of his back door, where "within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air". He contacted Apple and Argos, where he had bought the device for £162. After speaking to an Apple executive on the telephone, Apple sent a letter to Mr Stanborough denying liability but offering a refund if he signed a confidentiality agreement, agreeing not to disclose any information about the incident.

Part of the letter said "agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential, and that any breach of confidentiality may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties". Mr. Stanborough found the letter appalling and refused to signed it.

This isn't the first time this has happened; an investigation by KIRO TV found that "an alarming number of Apple brand iPod MP3 players have suddenly burst into flames and smoke, injuring people and damaging property". It took reporter Amy Clancy more than seven months to get documents concerning the issue from the Consumer Product Safety Commission because Apple's lawyers kept filing exemptions. In the end, the CPSC released more than 800 pages which reveal a number of iPods suddenly busting into flames. The documents showed 15 "burn and fire-related incidents" that iPod owners blamed on the device.

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I think people should approach those stories with caution. Reminds me of those Wii stories of people breaking their TV with their Wii controller. But when you taken the time to look at some of the pictures the damage to the TV was not logical.

I don't say those stories are false. But some of the pictures seem excessive to me. I had a TV remote batteries burning on me. It did hurt but it was not even close to the pictures posted here.

2x AAA batteries that are in a TV remote doesn't even come close to the power in a LiPo cell.
I once accidentaly shorted a fully charged 11V LiPo battery, and with a huge jolt the contacts almost welded themself together from the heat of the current and the battery catched fire.

Search for LiPo Fire or Explosion on youtube, those things should be treated with respect.

It's not unusual for any legal settlement to be accompanied by an NDA, have you ever read the terms of any of MS numerous legal settlements? Right, you haven't. More senstaionalist headlines from Neowin.

But it is different to a NDA, a NDA is a real contract that put some obligation to one or both part of the contract, while the CLUF is just a warranty policy + liability statement.

For all the people saying "I'm scared of my iPod/iPhone" etc...

I guess you should stay awake 24/7 because ANY appliance/electrical outlet in your house/car could blow/start a fire at ANY time.

Better get those energy drinks lined up!

"In the end, the CPSC released more than 800 pages which suddenly burst into flames."

Note to self, don't skim over a sentence, can result in unintended "wtfs!!" :p

Oh and typo in the article (busting) now that I really pay attention.

Tbh, when you've sold 208,000,000 iPods (as of April 2008, Wikipedia) and 15 (reported) have exploded I think you're doing reasonably well... That's roughly a 0.00000007% explosion rate.

Yeah, but compare that to the 400 zunes sold, none have ever exploded (i mean that fact that the users keep them locked up inside there basement with themselves), none have ever exploded. that is a 0.0% explosion rate.

Cue the posts about how all the neowins bought 500 just for themselves.

Wow, this is really scary. I mean, they want someone to sign a confidentiality agreement for a $ 200 refund?? That's just outrageous... There should be a legal minimum settlement to warrant a confidentiality agreement even coming into play.

Just upsets me to see how easily some dismissed my concerns with the last case that was reported. It was with a young boy in the other case, and I can only be thankful that the iPod didn't explode in a literal manner as it did here. It merely caught fire in his pocket.

As I stated back then, companies are responsible for their product in its entirety, and should be punished for using defective and/or components that are of poor quality. People shouldn't have to worry about being injured, much less their home catching fire or something just because they bought an mp3 player or something.

i am glad that he did not sign anything that crap apple sent him as they should accept responsability for the products they make and if they cannot honor it then seriously apple should be forced out of business, if a company makes a product and assuming you use it for what it's intended for and something happens then it's the companies fault and should either do a full refund or a product replacement or give the customer a few choices on how to rectify the situation without question and this is just another example of why i avoid apple products like the plaque.

Have Apple forgotten peoples legal rights?

They might get away with crap like this in the states but in the UK it's very different.

This is blackmail as far as I'm concerned.

this is big problem with big and huge companies. they have faults and they try to keep the noise quit by telling people that they must sign really shady stuff much less a crime against ones' consumer rights. shame on any company that tries to do this.

Quikboy said,
Another reason why I'm going to avoid Apple products when I can.

I know, this has never ever happened to anyone else but Apple. Does anyone else find this a little suspicious? Are Apple trying to kill us, one by one. Is this an insidious plot to destroy all people with good taste?

Why they don't add something which just shutdown the product if heat exceed the "safe" limit ? It will cost them nothing relatively to those disasters !

It's the chemicals in the battery that cause it. It's not easy to shut down a chemical reaction once it's started.

kInG aLeXo said,
Why they don't add something which just shutdown the product if heat exceed the "safe" limit ? It will cost them nothing relatively to those disasters !

most of the time, something else is causing the temperature rise, so merely detecting the temperature isnt solving anything
and if a battery is doomed to blow up, it will do so in a thermal runaway, that is the chemical reactions raises the temperature, which in turn speeds up the reaction even more

the only real way of keeping it safe is to somehow prevent any oxygen from coming into contact with it before the casing gives way to the pressure build-up

kInG aLeXo said,
Why they don't add something which just shutdown the product if heat exceed the "safe" limit ? It will cost them nothing relatively to those disasters !

I know, just like chernobyl, or 3 mile island. Why didn't they just shut it down when it got out of control. What does it take, a genius or something. Sheesh, you should be in charge of this stuff, you certainly have all the answers. And the titanic, why didn't they just stop it sinking when it started to sink. Stop it sinking, problem solved, everyone lives. And the shuttle disaster, just stop it exploding, when it started to explode. What are these people, on holiday? Use your brains sheeple!!

kInG aLeXo said,
Why they don't add something which just shutdown the product if heat exceed the "safe" limit ? It will cost them nothing relatively to those disasters !

A warning screen that says "Im gunna blow throw me away now"

How hard would it have been for them to just issue the family a full refund and send them a free complimentary gift? It wouldn't have cost them anything near as much as what the bad press has now. Chances are they wouldn't have went to the newspapers about it. Instead they find it more suitable to issue the family with a NDA which they must sign in order to get a refund their already entitled to. Seriously, whoever made the final decision on it should just be fired, there obviously overpaid.

JamesWeb said,
Why anyone buys any Apple product at this point is well beyond me.


I didn't mine was sent free when I upgraded my Windows Mobile handset hahaha

Quikboy said,
More like downgraded...

I could either laugh or query do you mean I was downgraded because I got a new WinMo device or because they sent me my free 1st gen touch??? I would have to disagree with both statements.

I love WinMo as my main operating system on my phones, I've tried everything except Android though

I would understand the NDA if there was a settlement involved. But a simple refund for an obviously faulty product does not merit an NDA. The faulty product merits an investigation for a recall and the inappropriate NDA merits a report to the BBB.

If apple wants to silence the family they should just send them another faulty ipod and hope they are in close proximity to it went it goes off.

chaicka said,
"Made-in-China"

What's new with sub-quality products from that country...

The only thing cheap in that country is the work force. There is no difference between an Apple product made in USA and an Apply product made in china regarding material quality.

Danmit! My iPod exploded 2 months ago, I thought it was somehow my fault for using it 24 hours a day. I went to FutureDhop to see if I could get a refund or something (I had it for 3 months so it was past the 30 day F.S. warrenty) and they told me I did it and that Apple would no be held responsible. FML

NoctheniK said,
Danmit! My iPod exploded 2 months ago, I thought it was somehow my fault for using it 24 hours a day. I went to FutureDhop to see if I could get a refund or something (I had it for 3 months so it was past the 30 day F.S. warrenty) and they told me I did it and that Apple would no be held responsible. FML

Woohoo thank god for the UK legislation, we have 6 years in this country, for faulty electrical products yay - Man twice in one week we get something to shout about hahahaha

To hell with Apple, I would counter sue for threatning behaviour I would also be claiming for mental distress brought on by anything that looks like an Apple. Before the fanboys start I own an iPod touch 1st Gen. I hope mine blows up and they send me a letter like that I'll be rich hahaha.

For the protection of Neowin if Apple contact you demanding my contact details you have my full permission to provide the information you have for me I welcome any such intimidation, I'm in a fighting mood today, can you tell :)

All seriousness aside this behaviour is disgusting and beyond reprehensible. Even if I put my business head on I can't even see why they would consider this to be an acceptable policy. Yes request you to sign a NDA but to threaten legal action against someone is actually infuriating me, so I'm going to stop now.

Chris4 said,
(The girl in the photo is the one mentioned in the article.)

hmm who would hold something like that so close to your face without at least a mask on...

carmatic said,
hmm who would hold something like that so close to your face without at least a mask on...

You realise it isn't going to explode again??

Why does it always take a serious injury or death before we do something? Someone is going to end up getting killed, probably a small child and that's when we'll finally decide, "Hey, maybe something should be done about this problem?"

Ridlas said,
Reason why I love my non exploding Zune ^^

anything with a lithium-ion battery can explode, even your zune.

Ridlas said,
Reason why I love my non exploding Zune ^^

Electronic product failure happens in every product line. Actually, if Apple truly had a design issue it would be widespread news by now. I bet there are Zunes that have had some kind of thermal failure. There has to have been. So many units, so many things that could go wrong in so many places. Nevermind abusive users.

Ridlas said,
Reason why I love my non exploding Zune ^^

Why do you think that you never hear about Zunes exploding? Apple send a team of lawyers, Microsoft send out a disposal unit, to dispose of the evidence, human or not.

But seriously, this can happen to any device, so be careful leaving it out in the sun, or mistreating it.

This story came up on Slashdot a couple of weeks ago and the general consensus was that out of however many hundreds of millions of devices that have been sold 15 is a pretty good number for unpredictable explosions. I would probably still agree.

That being said attempting to essentially bribe a family to cover up a life threatening accident with £162 is reprehensible.

omni said,
This story came up on Slashdot a couple of weeks ago and the general consensus was that out of however many hundreds of millions of devices that have been sold 15 is a pretty good number for unpredictable explosions. I would probably still agree.

That being said attempting to essentially bribe a family to cover up a life threatening accident with �162 is reprehensible.

Again, this isn't a bribe. The user wanted a refund, and this is what Apple legal department would have to have in order for Apple to give them a refund. Otherwise they are admitting guilt and responsibility for the explosion (which they don't know anything about other than a user calling an complaining). If they provide a refund w/o this type of legal document, and thus claim responsibility it will open up a huge can of worms for Apple.

Lithium batteries are prone to this. In portable device and even more in RC World with LI-PO witch some time come enclose in a metal case just to show how stable this technology is The but capacity of the Ipod battery makes an even like this rare..

andrewbares said,
Sometimes???

Yes, sometimes and it's often explained away with facts when spin and opinion are removed from the "news" being reported.

bob_c_b said,
Yes, sometimes and it's often explained away with facts when spin and opinion are removed from the "news" being reported.


You would have a better argument if Apple didn't police forums, blogs, and articles, even sending letter to remove posts and articles by involving ISPs.

This is besides their own internal 'wiping' of support forums and technical boards and incidents reports that should be kept as a corporation operating legally.

Apple 'magically' erases a lot of posts from their forums and even from their own internal tech people sharing information about defective products. If Microsoft or any other 'reasonable' company did this, users would be outraged.

This is 'spin' and 'censorship' at its finest...

Speaking of 'spin' and market manipulation, how do you think it affects journalism that Apple will give just about anyone associated with the Press free Apple products? If you are a journalist today and have some 'reasonable' audience, you either have free stuff from Apple or have been offered free stuff.

Of course a lot of it is sent as 'for review' even though the person is a political journalist, can you imagine why they would need a new Mac for 'review' with no return date? However, if something political comes up about Apple, when they write their article on their shiny free Mac, how much 'bias' will be used by the journalist?

You can even find famous non-Mac technical writers get tons of crap from Apple, starting with people like Paul Th. all the way to Chris P. - and guess what, they either become Mac zealots to get more free crap or at least don't bash Apple directly because they don't want their 'drug supplier' to stop sending them the newest free iPod for their kids.

Media is manipulated, but Apple gets the shine on the Apple because of the free crap and swag thrown around.

thenetavenger said,
You would have a better argument if Apple didn't police forums, blogs, and articles, even sending letter to remove posts and articles by involving ISPs.

This is besides their own internal 'wiping' of support forums and technical boards and incidents reports that should be kept as a corporation operating legally.

Apple 'magically' erases a lot of posts from their forums and even from their own internal tech people sharing information about defective products. If Microsoft or any other 'reasonable' company did this, users would be outraged.

This is 'spin' and 'censorship' at its finest...

Speaking of 'spin' and market manipulation, how do you think it affects journalism that Apple will give just about anyone associated with the Press free Apple products? If you are a journalist today and have some 'reasonable' audience, you either have free stuff from Apple or have been offered free stuff.

Of course a lot of it is sent as 'for review' even though the person is a political journalist, can you imagine why they would need a new Mac for 'review' with no return date? However, if something political comes up about Apple, when they write their article on their shiny free Mac, how much 'bias' will be used by the journalist?

You can even find famous non-Mac technical writers get tons of crap from Apple, starting with people like Paul Th. all the way to Chris P. - and guess what, they either become Mac zealots to get more free crap or at least don't bash Apple directly because they don't want their 'drug supplier' to stop sending them the newest free iPod for their kids.

Media is manipulated, but Apple gets the shine on the Apple because of the free crap and swag thrown around.



You should loosen the chin strap on your tin foil hat a little dude.

Frank Fontaine said,
He actually makes a very valid point, Apple do seem to get far better treatment from the press than most other tech companies

Yeah, i wonder why that is. I mean it would nothing to do with quality, would it. It must be the free junk they hand out (unlike Microsoft who do it ever more, and even hand out laptops to bloggers who write nice about them). I wonder why people still hate Microsoft?? Oh well, can't have anything to do with the stuff they produce, must be a huge conspiracy, like the moon landings, and aliens. At least the fairies at the end of the garden agree with me.

Guess iPods really DO have an explosive sound experience..

um.. anyway
I remember my ipod 2nd gen getting really hot once, I thought it was going to explode but it just fried instead, I'd had it for 4 years but apple still gave me a refund when I complained, I was quite surprised!

I don't own any apple products which I'm glad. I hope google comes out with something like a cool new mp3 player that will rival apple.
Creative makes better mp3 players imo. It cost a bit more but at lease you don't have to be force to install itunes and use proprietary apps from apple

Microsoft's Zune is also better than an iPod, but it'd be interesting to see what a Google MP3 player would be like. Well, a Google MP3 player could be made right now, Android! Just strip the phone from it, and it'll be like the iTouch.

Google scored a hit with its Android OS, but I don't think they've ever done anything with hardware. There would be a lot growing pains right out of the gate. For instance, I love my Zune now, but does anyone remember the first generation? It was complete crap, not to mention huge.

wakers01 said,
Google scored a hit with its Android OS, but I don't think they've ever done anything with hardware. There would be a lot growing pains right out of the gate. For instance, I love my Zune now, but does anyone remember the first generation? It was complete crap, not to mention huge.


I disagree. I bought two first gen Zunes. One for myself and one for my sister. Both those devices are still working, almost three years later. They were a little on the large side, but I found the size to be comfortable. Since then, I've bought three more Zunes (a total of five), for either increased capacity or different size and weight. All remain in working order. Meanwhile, I've purchased and returned an iPod nano. It was too small to hold onto and the metal edges were a little sharp.

What does you being glad about not owning an Apple product have to do with an iPod exploding? this is the type of comment that kicks off the apple/competitor flaming. Plus it's already been stated that it was more than likely the lithium battery that packed the punch in the explosion, therefore most electronic stuff you own has the small possibility of exploding which has been rightly pointed out a few statements above where a Dell notebook exploded.

yurimaster said,
I don't own any apple products which I'm glad. I hope google comes out with something like a cool new mp3 player that will rival apple.
Creative makes better mp3 players imo. It cost a bit more but at lease you don't have to be force to install itunes and use proprietary apps from apple


Google?? You're joking, right? The only hardware Google has ever made (at lest to my knowledge) is some rinky dinky server. If you're thinking Android, well it's not that great of an OS in my opinion. Anyway, Google's PMP would probably track all the songs you use, sell that info. to advertisers or maybe even music companies and such with every play count, and time of day recorded. NOT a PMP you would want.

Quikboy said,

Google?? You're joking, right? The only hardware Google has ever made (at lest to my knowledge) is some rinky dinky server. If you're thinking Android, well it's not that great of an OS in my opinion. Anyway, Google's PMP would probably track all the songs you use, sell that info. to advertisers or maybe even music companies and such with every play count, and time of day recorded. NOT a PMP you would want.

You make a good point, but Microsoft who only made software came out with hardware, and it has been very good (up until they got serious and started making playstation and ipod ripoffs). I am sure the 7 people who own a MS surface really love them as well.

I asked a friend of mine who is a forensic boffin where I work and he said, Lithium is a stable way of spring electricity in a single cell, although at 10Dgs it starts to become unstable and potentially explode. I had a faulty battery on a Dell laptop about 5 years ago which exploded on my desk, lucky I wad away from my desk at the time... Bug imagine if it was in my lap! Cannot bear to think. So is the falt caused by the Lithium exploding? The only way to find out is running tests to see at what point does the device explode, then you have your answer.

EVANK said,
I asked a friend of mine who is a forensic boffin where I work and he said, Lithium is a stable way of spring electricity in a single cell, although at 10Dgs it starts to become unstable and potentially explode. I had a faulty battery on a Dell laptop about 5 years ago which exploded on my desk, lucky I wad away from my desk at the time... Bug imagine if it was in my lap! Cannot bear to think. So is the falt caused by the Lithium exploding? The only way to find out is running tests to see at what point does the device explode, then you have your answer.

Please shut up. I have a Dell laptop on my legs

rm20010 said,
Your point being...?

Maybe it makes me a BIT uneasy that it may explode in my legs....

I did not mean it as a agressive post

Chrono951 said,
I understand Apple trying to protect their image, but what is more important, your image or people's safety?

It's a no-brainer for a company where image is everything.
I would guess that the pesky, whinging customer comes second.

If you get injured or killed at Disneyland, Disney has an entire team of lawyers and "counselors" to accomplish the same payoff and cover up...

I think it's pretty clear that to Apple their image is more important. Their image is everything. Look at their advertising. They slam Microsoft up and down for years over inflated and exagerated claims then when Microsoft returns the favor with their laptop hunter ads, Apple flips out because the ad is "inaccurate" as they lowered their price recently. Telling Microsoft to please remove the ad. That company is the biggest group of sissy foot-stomping cry babies I have ever known.

I've heard about this iPod exploding thing for a while now. It doesn't surprise me their lawyers and PR teams are all over this trying to keep it quiet. Too bad Apple is such a greedy company that they didn't think that maybe, just maybe they should've offered something more than a few hundred dollars to replace the iPod. Why would these people be quiet for that? At the very least they should be getting a new iPod so there is absolutely no incentive for them to keep Apple's secret.

I'm glad the family decided to release this to the media. I'll have absolutely no respect for Apple until they become more transparent and less of a high powered corporation that will stomp anyone who dares to resist them. It's funny because they've gone by this model of "we're unique" and "don't be a part of the system" but it seems to me that Apple IS a big part of the system! Their behavior demonstrates it.

Chrono951 said,
I understand Apple trying to protect their image, but what is more important, your image or people's safety?

This is a very silly statement. The safest course of action for an company is to never ship a product to a customer. Then there is no way they can harm that customer. So according to you, a company that really cares about their customers will never ship them anything. Brilliant! Good luck with that.

Things go wrong all the time with electronic goods, if they ever sold enough Zunes you people would figure this out for yourself ;). But seriously, even Zunes have a battery that if treated incorrectly will explode.

Apple may have handled this badly, they should look into that.

If Mr. Stanborough or his child would have been injured in anyway, this sort of thing could have led to a law suit. He should not feel threatened by Apple taking legal action against him because their device exploded and he told everyone. He did the right thing by taking this to the media.

At the same time:

Apple's problem with simply refunding his money is that is an admittance of guilt that their device exploded and it was their fault. After thinking about it, it makes sense that Apple would send him this non-disclosure agreement in order to refund his money. Otherwise how do we know that him or his child did not in some way abuse the product and that is what lead to its thermal activity.

Not so sure that this is Apple's fault, at least fully. Batteries these days pack a lot of power, and we've already seen a number of news stories showing that a faulty battery can have disastrous consequences. I wouldn't be surprised if a faulty battery was at fault here. Apple doesn't produce their own batteries. I admit that I don't know much about the technology - I'm sure that companies can and do put in protections against batteries going out of control, but can they really guard against every fault that can occur with a battery?

Apple looks pretty evil for their letter, but it's partly understandable, from a PR point of view. Most of us in the tech community understand that a battery is what packs the "explosive" punch or fire-setting ability, but would the average user? Most of them would probably hear "exploding iPod" and think that iPods in general were dangerous, as opposed to wondering whether the battery in their mobile device were made by the same company that manufactured the battery that was in that particular iPod.

Since this is Neowin, I'll add in a disclaimer that I'm not trying to defend Apple's letter. Rather, I can understand it (from a marketing point of view), and I'd rather that the threat be properly understood (that is, that batteries in general represent this potential hazard).

Ledgem said,
Not so sure that this is Apple's fault, at least fully. Batteries these days pack a lot of power, and we've already seen a number of news stories showing that a faulty battery can have disastrous consequences. I wouldn't be surprised if a faulty battery was at fault here. Apple doesn't produce their own batteries. I admit that I don't know much about the technology - I'm sure that companies can and do put in protections against batteries going out of control, but can they really guard against every fault that can occur with a battery?

Apple looks pretty evil for their letter, but it's partly understandable, from a PR point of view. Most of us in the tech community understand that a battery is what packs the "explosive" punch or fire-setting ability, but would the average user? Most of them would probably hear "exploding iPod" and think that iPods in general were dangerous, as opposed to wondering whether the battery in their mobile device were made by the same company that manufactured the battery that was in that particular iPod.

Since this is Neowin, I'll add in a disclaimer that I'm not trying to defend Apple's letter. Rather, I can understand it (from a marketing point of view), and I'd rather that the threat be properly understood (that is, that batteries in general represent this potential hazard).

Although the Battery no-doubt provided the power, it could have just as easily been a number of other circuit board failures that can lead to failure. Also, if this ever did lead to a law suit (worse things have happened and have not lead to a law suit), then Apple is liable for what their product (as a whole) did. However, they can turn around and seek legal action against the Battery manufacturer.

Shadrack said,
, it makes sense that Apple would send him this non-disclosure agreement in order to refund his money .

Not in the UK it doesn't, if the product was less than 12 months old it is the retailers problem to rectify as far as replacement or refund goes. Beyond that there is further legislation on the consumers side.

From Argos' T&C:

If there's a fault with the product...

We've made it easier!

* If you've had the product for up to 1 year, we'll repair the product or, if that's not possible, give you a replacement or, if that's not possible, a refund.

If Apple wanted to keep them quiet then I think they needed to be offereing several grand as compo and hush money, not just a refund of the purchase price, which they would have got one way or another without Apple offering it.

Ledgem said,
Not so sure that this is Apple's fault, at least fully. Batteries these days pack a lot of power, and we've already seen a number of news stories showing that a faulty battery can have disastrous consequences. I wouldn't be surprised if a faulty battery was at fault here. Apple doesn't produce their own batteries. I admit that I don't know much about the technology - I'm sure that companies can and do put in protections against batteries going out of control, but can they really guard against every fault that can occur with a battery?

Apple looks pretty evil for their letter, but it's partly understandable, from a PR point of view. Most of us in the tech community understand that a battery is what packs the "explosive" punch or fire-setting ability, but would the average user? Most of them would probably hear "exploding iPod" and think that iPods in general were dangerous, as opposed to wondering whether the battery in their mobile device were made by the same company that manufactured the battery that was in that particular iPod.

Since this is Neowin, I'll add in a disclaimer that I'm not trying to defend Apple's letter. Rather, I can understand it (from a marketing point of view), and I'd rather that the threat be properly understood (that is, that batteries in general represent this potential hazard).


Fault isn't really the correct word, responsibility is. Apple is responsible for anything they sell regardless of who made the individual components. Apple could seek damages from the company they ordered the battery from, but an end user should not have to think about it. The end user didn't chose to buy a battery from company X, they just wanted to buy an iPod.

Ledgem said,
Not so sure that this is Apple's fault, at least fully. Batteries these days pack a lot of power, and we've already seen a number of news stories showing that a faulty battery can have disastrous consequences. I wouldn't be surprised if a faulty battery was at fault here. Apple doesn't produce their own batteries. I admit that I don't know much about the technology - I'm sure that companies can and do put in protections against batteries going out of control, but can they really guard against every fault that can occur with a battery?

Apple looks pretty evil for their letter, but it's partly understandable, from a PR point of view. Most of us in the tech community understand that a battery is what packs the "explosive" punch or fire-setting ability, but would the average user? Most of them would probably hear "exploding iPod" and think that iPods in general were dangerous, as opposed to wondering whether the battery in their mobile device were made by the same company that manufactured the battery that was in that particular iPod.

Since this is Neowin, I'll add in a disclaimer that I'm not trying to defend Apple's letter. Rather, I can understand it (from a marketing point of view), and I'd rather that the threat be properly understood (that is, that batteries in general represent this potential hazard).


Doesn't some of the ipods have non removable batteries? Such as the IPod Touch.

Shadrack said,
Although the Battery no-doubt provided the power, it could have just as easily been a number of other circuit board failures that can lead to failure.

but nothing in the circuit board could have caused an explosion that threw the ipod 10 feet up in the air, or the smoke or the hissing sound... the initial getting hotter is the thermal runaway of the battery, probably because the battery somehow punctured and oxygen is reacting with the lithium... the hissing sound and the vapour is probably some built in venting mechanism which is a last ditch attempt to stop the explosion

i mean like, the other components use energy, while the battery stores energy... and you need energy to cause the heat and explosion

carmatic said,
but nothing in the circuit board could have caused an explosion that threw the ipod 10 feet up in the air, or the smoke or the hissing sound... the initial getting hotter is the thermal runaway of the battery, probably because the battery somehow punctured and oxygen is reacting with the lithium... the hissing sound and the vapour is probably some built in venting mechanism which is a last ditch attempt to stop the explosion

i mean like, the other components use energy, while the battery stores energy... and you need energy to cause the heat and explosion


Did the iPod fly 10 feet up in the air, or did the puff of smoke:

"within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air"

I can't help but think that the user is exaggerate to some extent (as it is to their benefit to exaggerate the situation). Also, many people when they see an electrical failure often describe the event as an "explosion." I'd argue that they haven't ever really seen or heard a true explosion. Intense thermal activity that results in flames does not always mean explosion.

But you know, neither one of us has the evidence in front of us and we could speculate all day.

Most people with a sensible mind and moderate education can understand why Apple sent them this letter in the first place. They weren't being mean or trying to necessarily cover things up. To the contrary they were providing the user a refund. If they provide the refund without this kind of legal document, they are admitting that it was their fault the iPod failed. Which could turn out to be completely false after an investigation is conducted. For instance, the user could have dropped it in water at some point which introduced a contaminant into the device which lead to failure.

Shadrack said,
If Mr. Stanborough or his child would have been injured in anyway, this sort of thing could have led to a law suit. He should not feel threatened by Apple taking legal action against him because their device exploded and he told everyone. He did the right thing by taking this to the media.

At the same time:

Apple's problem with simply refunding his money is that is an admittance of guilt that their device exploded and it was their fault. After thinking about it, it makes sense that Apple would send him this non-disclosure agreement in order to refund his money. Otherwise how do we know that him or his child did not in some way abuse the product and that is what lead to its thermal activity.

still apple should of given him a little hush hush money like 5grand or so? just refunding the money or replacing the product aint enough.......


i was riding a city bus when someone plowed into the side of the bus.... it barely ented the bus and i gelt more g force when the bus driver slammed on the brakes........ they took everyones info down and a couple weeks later i got a call from them.. they gave me 400 dollars to not go and sue the driver.. i wasnt injured at all so i settled for that a 2.50 dollar bus ticket and out and buying a computer