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back to article Apple accused of lowering cone of silence over iPod flame out

Apple has been accused of attempting to gag a traumatised iPod user, whose player burst into flames and tried to go into orbit. According to The Times, Ken Stanborough, 47, from Liverpool, complained to the firm after his daughter's iPod self-combusted shortly after being dropped. “It made a hissing noise,” Stanborough said. “I …

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Jobs Horns

Our favourite company...

Apple again showing that they are the epitome of cunsomer trust!

Buy an iPod, because they are great. Because we tell you so.

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Megaphone

Brushed aluminium

I think the flames are not shoddy batteries like everyone would guess, but it's simply god trying to whittle down the amount of gullible sheep like suckers occupying the planet.

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Flame

bla bla title bla

You just got to love old huggable apple and there:, Its all about the costumers cause they are our friends, attitude. Apple. Designed to kill ya. with style.

Flames for da burnin ipoop

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Jobs Horns

Tell Jobs

To take a hike

Right I'm flogging my iPod before it turns malevolent and buying a Zune

Evil Jobs because this proves he's the spawn of Satan.

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Coffee/keyboard

Made my day

"Wagner playing killer drone"

Pbbbbbt-Hahaha

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Alert

Fanbois of Apple

... you may start NOW !

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This post has been deleted by its author

Flame

It's not a bug, it's a feature...

...for when it's cold.

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Anonymous Coward

Confused

If apple weren't liable, why would they offer a refund?

Any why did Apple offer a refund rather than Argos?

hmmmmm.....

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FAIL

UK Consumer Law

The item has to be fit for purpose. This includes it remaining safe if damaged. If you dropped it then put it straight into your pocket, the resulting nasty injury would have the apple lawyers falling over themselved to offer more than just a refund.

Seems in their haste to get the gag order in, they failed to realised that a good story would get far more press and money for the owner.

Idiots.

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Pirate

Always surprised, though I shouldn't be

How are people able to form an extreme opinion after a few paragraphs of hear-say. Firstly, he chucked the iPod on the floor. Never a good idea. Frankly, I find the suggestion that his iPod could fly ten ' in the air rather laughable, but until I get proof I'll take it for what it is: hearsay.

I never fail to be surpised by the malleability of the great reading public. A story surfaces about some bloke who has one out of millions upon millions of devices go up in smoke, and already people are ready to chuck out their devices. Go and live in a cave, because every device may develop defects.

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Anonymous Coward

Woah, school's out!

Can we have an auto-filter that scores comments on punctuation, grammar and spelling?

Added bonus: no more amanfromMars.

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Silver badge
Flame

Ain't seen nothin' yet

Just wait for those batteries scaled up in capacity to power cars...

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Alert

Lesson learned...

Don't drop your iPod, or if you want to create mayhem, drop your iPod just right.

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FAIL

When will they (and others) learn.....

If you try to wangle a NDA out of a customer who's item could have burned/maimed/disfigured/killed them, you will invairiably make sure it hits the headlines.

Never make an enemy of a severely pissed off customer, it never gets your Company anywhere. Samsung/Digicare, I'm looking at you.....

A stitch in time as they say.........

Conversely, when a Company does have a fantastic returns policy (hello LG) the most they can hope for is a bit of personal recommendation.....

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Standard Letter?

What's the odds it was a standard letter/T's&c's as sent out?

But that wouldn't make anything like a good story now would it....

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Lithium batteries

Check the safety record for Li-Ion on the model airplane sites, and then consider the hundreds of pounds of them in a vehicle crash. Tehre are special training courses for emergency responders to a hybrid vehicle call, especially in the wet. Everone knows tha power of leaking gasoline, but few consider the results of other substances with power densities approaching that of petroleum products.

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MnM

Calm down calm down

A 'life sentence'?! Got to hand it to the scallies, they do their best not to be taken seriously even when it sounds like they've got a case.

@ Futter Buck, 'every device may develop defects'. Something tells me you're not from Liverpool!

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Silver badge

Bah!

Isn't this the standard Apple modus operandi, operandum, whatever? Didn't Wil Wheaton report signing an NDA when he had an Apple laptop replaced some years ago?

I guess the thinking is that people will agree so they don't lose their investment, but criminy, it does explain the old "you never hear about (insert problem widely aflicting Dell/HP/Gateway) with an Apple" thing.

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Grenade

I look forward

To all the YouTube clips of people making their old iPoops explode.

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Flame

Apple, apple, apple - dont be evil

Is it me or are apple just well evil at the moment?

Trying to shut up customers, pulling google voice apps from the app store in the US and my Wi-fi does'nt work on my iphone since OS 3.0 .

Let the flame war (no pun intended) begin.

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Unhappy

UK Law ?

Apple would not be able to make that threat stick in the UK or Europe. Unfair contract terms for a start, and It is a health and safety issue with possible fatal consequences. Corporations can't hide that in the EU. In the UK, the HSE and Trading Standards should now be on the trail.

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Pictures. I see nothing, nothing!

Nope. It never happened.

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Bronze badge
Jobs Horns

@B Frank

Hear hear. Sounds like there's an american in charge of their EU consumer relations dept. The original purchase is the only contract of relevance here, and that is defined by the various consumer protection laws we have. Under those the purchaser can pursue them for sale of defective goods. I'm pretty sure that there isn't any room in those laws for Apple to be able to enforce confidentiality but it would be really great to watch them try.

Anyone know when the EU are going to make it a regulatory requirement for all battery powered devices to have consumer-replacable batteries? There's something in the works I know. Apple need to learn that if a battery can be easily replaced, recalls will be a lot cheaper for them to carry out. Are Apple are trying to avoid a recall because of the enourmous cost?

I don't know what Apple are thinking anyway. Publicity about such gagging orders only invites speculation as to what it is they are trying to hide...

When there was a battery recall a couple of years back (was it some Sony manufactured cells? Apologies to them if not) it didn't seem to be a big deal. Sure it cost the suppliers some money, but there was sufficient publicity and openness that I bet almost no one can remember it.

I know that Apple do get picked on when one of their products' battery fails, but I've not heard recently about any other manufacturer having similar problems. Are there any other such problems?

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Flame

LiPo batteries are dangerous, period.

As stated above check model aircraft forums (I have two electric helis, a small micro and 450 size) for what happens to damaged batteries. The safety-sheet you get with your battery states all kinds of interesting things among them:

1. If involved in a crash, even if not visibly damaged, dispose of safely (separate set of instructions)

2. Always charge in non-flammable (preferably fireproof) container.

Then there's of course the "do not short-circuit", especially since these batteries do not have current limiters, they just state that safe current is for example 25C (25xcapasity, for 1200mAh cell that would be 30A !!) continuous and 30C burst and user is responsible for making sure these limits are not exceeded (which would cause damage to the battery possibly leading to fire).

These batteries burn very violently and the ipod case is sealed pretty tight, so it's not inconceivable that there would be "explosion" as the case ruptures from the burning gases.

These batteries have fearsome energy densities and people keep wanting even more dense batteries, I wonder if they ever top to think about these things...

I know the risks and accept them, I also have continued to use a battery pack after crash since it was not (visibly) physically damaged (I do keep a *close* eye on it everytime I charge it though...) and know that this is an increased risk.

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@B. Frank

From article: "According to _The Times_, Ken Stanborough, 47, *.from Liverpool*" [emphasis mine].

They'd have to have known this level of publicity would happen (if not in this particular case, then in another), which kind of makes me suspect that such a contract is enforceable over there, due to the large quantity of lawyers (sorry, sorry, would it be solicitors or barristers?) who are no doubt descending on Mr. Stanborough's residence as we type if it is not. Anyway, at least under US jurisdiction, the family'd be much better off taking this route - publicize, then if you don't get offers of huge (enough) compensation, ask a court for massive punitive damages.

As far as actual liability is concerned, I'd need to see a lot more data than this article contains. I, too, think a drop from a reasonable height (1-2m, between waist and eye level) should be considered part of design spec. If I were a product safety bureaucrat, (CPSC here in the States), I'd be looking long and hard given these reports. OTOH, there seem to be (maybe) a few dozen out of however many millions of iPods sold. So, looks like more data are needed.

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Silver badge

@Buck Futter

"How are people able to form an extreme opinion after a few paragraphs of hear-say."

Buck Futter, Internet. Internet, Buck Futter. Now that you've been introduced...

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Thumb Up

insert title here...

this must be a new feature, designed to allow an ipod access to the apple cloud, only problem is they have yet to perfect the method with wich they generate the cloud...

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How about some proportionality?

(Must be an American word that.)

We don't know what model ipod was involved- nor does it matter. The story mentions 2 other pyropods - wow - it doesn't say what models they were either.

3 ipods out of 160,000,000.

Wouldn't it be great if cars had a failure rate that high? or aircraft? or gas boilers? or people?

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Flame

non-disclosure agreements

This kind of crap used to be pretty much standard pre-internet. Any lawsuit settled out of court invariably had a "STFU" agreement in it. I sued an HMO once for almost killing my spouse through sheer neglect and incompetence, we "won", they paid us (not very much, either) and as part of the settlement we had to agree never to tell anyone what a bunch of murderous, incompetent morons they were (and still are).

Emergency Locator Beacons in aircraft used to use Lithium cells - more than a few of them spontaneously combusted and burned some very nice aircraft right to the ground. Nowadays there are no Li cells in ELT beacons - but one or two incidents of transport aircraft CARRYING parcels of these batteries have occurred - and now there are regulations for airfreight regarding numbers and packing - we are talking big airplanes here, 7X7 stuff having onboard in flight fires from these things.

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Scientology

Bear in mind that americans aren't very bright. They don't differentiate between efficiency and mania. This insane attitude towards victims of faulty products smacks of the way scientologists behave. The scientology cult has been involved in business training scams before and have even sold MS software.

Scientology probably does explain the sad cult like drones obeying their cancerous master, either that or they're badly written henchmen characters in a bond flick.

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@Ivan Headache

Well as they say, one bad Apple spoils the bunch.

I however am pleased that I gave my iPod to the Missus to go to the gym with....

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FAIL

Not only

Apple sell crap, but it does not want you to know!

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Anonymous Coward

So that's the trick...>>

...destroy your iPod, get it replaced free even though the damage was your own fault, then whine to The Times afterwards. Instant victimhood.

Better send around the grief and trauma counsellors.

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My iPod

Mine broke a few months ago when I spilt milk on it. I should probably make it explode so I can get a new one for free.

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Linux

Me no Apple fan

But how can a battery or even two batteries generate enough energy to propel the IPod 10 feet into the air.

The Taliban will be buying them and studying them for use as IED (Is that the correct jargon) if it is true.

PS . I thought we were Metric now.

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Black Helicopters

@Ivan Headache

The thing is this isn't the "failure rate" of the iPod... these are the *dangerous* failures. The actual failure rates for the iPod range are much much higher, probably not excessive for a modern consumer device but that's another debate entirely.

The real issue here IMO isn't the failures themselves but Apple's (alleged) responses to them - consumer electronics have been recalled in the past because they *might* catch fire - we have several documented cases of this happening to iPods now and Apple's response is still to adopt the ostrich position and point the lawyers at anyone who wants to do otherwise. As to those who blame the customer, yes they dropped it but I would expect a high quality device to survive such a drop - at worst I would expect it to merely stop working. Do you seriously expect that it should be the norm to expect a dropped MP3 player to catch fire?

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Jobs Halo

God's way

This is God's way of punishing those who are not true believers ... He makes their iPods explode!

Others, true believers, He saves from death ... like the girl who was saved from electrocution by lightning strike because she was wearing her iPod.

Mysterious ways indeed!

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Coat

Not one drop

But two, his daughter dropped in initially then on his own admission he 'hurled' it out the back door which constitutes the second abuse. Everyone is assuming that the first drop caused the 'explosion' which was subsequent to the 'hurl'. I think we need very much more info before rushing to judgement here.

Mines the one with the lethal bottle of coke and Mentos in it. In separate pockets, I'm no dolt.

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Happy

@ elderlybloke

Many years ago I witnessed an exploding electrolytic capacitor go straight through the ceiling of the workshop, it would have gone a lot farther than 10 feet if the ceiling had not been in the way. The "explosion" was caused by the capacitor "gassing" internally until the pressure blew the aluminium can off.

With the ipod all the battery had to do was produce gas pressurising the ipod casing until it ruptured turning the ipod into an irocket.

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Silver badge

That's Extra

I think my response would have been that they owed me a replacement product anyway under UK law and that if they wanted to buy my silence that would come at additional cost, given what I could get from a tabloid newspaper for the story and some pictures of the exploded device.

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@ tiggertaebo

"Do you seriously expect that it should be the norm to expect a dropped MP3 player to catch fire?"

But they don't! I've dropped mine many times.

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Joke

Victim Culture

I would like to sincerely apologize to the United Kingdom, British Citizens, and Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith herewith:

As common citizen of the former Colonies of the Americas, I extend my humble apologies for the export to your lands of the common malady of our lands, THE JOY OF VICTIMHOOD. Our people find, nay, SEEK OUT opportunities to become victims so that we may blame our misfortunes and frailties on others, that we may feel better about ourselves. It is with great sorrow to find that this PLAGUE has made it to your shores. Alas, that the Island's populace is not immune to such tomfoolery! We humbly pray your forgiveness.

Note: Though I am an American Citizen, I have dear respect for the Queen of England. This was meant in no way to impair or diminish Her image.

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Happy

See?

This is why I never walk around with a laptop in "sleep mode" in a closed backpack like I have seen many others do.

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Flame

And, they allow these things on planes?

...while you can't take more than 4 oz of toothpaste?

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