Apple Recalls 1.8 Million iBook, PowerBook Batteries

By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2006-08-24 Email Print this article Print

The computer maker is recalling packs shipped with certain of its 12-inch iBook G4 and 12-inch and 15-inch PowerBook G4 notebooks, citing a fire hazard.

Apple is recalling 1.8 million notebook battery packs, which contain cells manufactured by Sony.

The Cupertino, Calif., computer maker is recalling the packs, shipped with certain of its 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch and 15-inch PowerBook G4 notebooks and also sold as extras and replacements, citing a fire hazard.

The Aug. 24 Apple recall—which affects only the G4 notebooks and does not involve more recent MacBook and MacBook Pro models—comes just 10 days after Dell recalled 4.1 million Sony-made battery packs on Aug. 14 for the same problem.

The recalls by Apple and Dell rank as the two largest in consumer electronics product history, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recalls are due to the discovery of manufacturing defects inside the lithium-ion battery cells.

The cells could contain impurities—essentially small metal shards—introduced during manufacturing. If the shards come into contact with other parts of the battery, they can produce a short circuit, which leads to excessive heat and potentially a fire, Sony said in a statement.

"The key message for consumers is to stay focused on these two announcements," said Scott Wolfson, a spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in Washington. "We are in contact with our federal partners and we are talking to our partners in industry. We are looking at lithium battery safety to make sure we have the safest batteries in the marketplace."

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John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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