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Apple Recalling 1.8 Million Laptop Batteries

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Apple last week announced a voluntary recall of 1.8 million iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 batteries due to potential overheating issues. The affected lithium-ion batteries were manufactured by Sony and are related to the batteries recently recalled by Dell (see "Dell Recalls 4.1 Million Batteries," 21-Aug-06). The batteries were sold between October 2003 and August 2006. Affected batteries include:

  • 12-inch iBook G4, battery model number A1061, and serial number ranges of ZZ338-ZZ427, 3K429-3K611, and 6C519-6C552 (ending with S9WA, S9WC or S9WD).
  • 12-inch PowerBook G4, battery model number A1079, and serial number ranges of ZZ411-ZZ427 and 3K428-3K611.
  • 15-inch PowerBook G4, battery model numbers A1078 and A1148, and serial number ranges of 3K425-3K601, 6N530-6N551 (ending with THTA, THTB, or THTC), and 6N601 (ending with THTC).

If you own an affected battery, Apple recommends that you stop using it immediately (the laptop can run from its power cord without a battery) and order a replacement from the Battery Exchange Program iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 Web page. The program is being managed only through the Web site, so don't take a battery to an Apple Store or authorized retailer. Apple claims a 4 to 6 week turnaround for receiving a new battery.

Since the announcement, some people have had trouble with Apple's Web form, mostly with serial numbers that fall within the published range not being acknowledged. According to some reports, attempts that failed on the first few days after the announcement have subsequently worked as Apple fixes the bugs in the form-checking code. If you're still not having any luck, you can also call Apple and see if a person can accept the number manually. Note that not all batteries within the published ranges were made by Sony, and thus aren't affected (this might account for the more-specific "ending with" phrases now included).

According to information posted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Apple has received nine reports of batteries overheating, including two reports of minor burns from handling overheated computers and other reports of minor property damage. No serious injuries were reported."

Sony expects the Dell and Apple battery recalls to cost between $172 million and $258 million, and even if the recall doesn't hurt Apple's bottom line, it's still a distraction and potential reputation hit with people who don't realize the fault lies with Sony.

 

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