UK Owner Reports “Exploding” iPod Touch

An iPod Touch belonging to an 11 year old girl from Liverpool apparently “exploded” last month but despite the claims Apple is refusing to comment on the case until it sees the device first hand.

As first reported in The Times on Monday, the girl’s father Ken Stanborough, 47, said that he dropped the device which then made a “hissing noise” and eventually exploded “there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air” he reportedly told the newspaper.

Aside from the issue of whether the device actually exploded or not, Apple could be facing more bad publicity from how it appears to have handled the incident. Stanborough apparently told The Times that after contacting the company about the incident, he was sent a letter offering a refund on the condition that “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”.

Apple has so far refused to comment on the case – claiming that it has not seen the device in question so cannot verify the incident.

The reported incident in Liverpool, follows the apparent emergence of similar cases in the US. Late last month, a reporter from Seattle’s KIRO TV station reported how the station used the Freedom of Information Act to get the Consumer Product Safety Commission to turn over 800-pages which referred to issues of iPods overheating.

While the Liverpool case and those reported by KIRO TV are the serious incidents to emerge, there have been other reports of iPod and iPhone batteries overheating.

The French tech site Nowhere Else first reported the story on 26 June, including images of lightly discolored phones, and at PC World, writer Melissa J. Perenson experienced a similar problem, with the iPhone heating up to the point that she couldn’t put it to her cheek. In Perenson’s case, she was using it while it was charging.

RapidRepair CEO Aaron Vronko—who performed this teardown of the iPhone 3G S, literally moments after it first became available—suspects the problem is the battery. If that turns out to be true, Vronko told Wired, “My guess is there’s going to be a whole lot of batteries affected because these are from very large production runs. If you have a problem in the design of a series of batteries, it’s probably going to be spread to tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, and maybe more.”

Apple was contacted for further comment but did not reply in time for this article.

In May it emerged that Hewlett-Packard lithium-ion notebook batteries were being recalled, after two reports of overheated batteries resulting in fires that caused minor property damage, though no injuries.

Andrew Donoghue

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