In shocking news – pun intended – Apple has recalled the tiny USB power adapter it released with great glee along with the iPhone 3G. The ultracompact adapter, hardly more than two prongs and a USB jack, apparently has a flaw that has led to one or both of the prongs breaking off and remaining in an outlet. The company’s recall page says that “no injuries have been reported,” and that it involves a “very small percentage of the adapters sold.” Nonetheless, there’s a risk of electric shock, and no electric shock is good at any household amperage.
The company has asked its users to stop using the adapters immediately, but won’t have replacements ready to ship until 10-Oct-08. Affected adapters were sold with iPhones in the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru.
The included iPhone USB cable, docks sold separately, and adapters sold in other countries pose no risk. Apple strongly advises charging the iPhone 3G by plugging the USB cable into a computer, the larger fold-up Apple adapter, or a third-party adapter.
Revised ultracompact adapters will sport a green dot on the bottom to differentiate them from the less-safe initial version. Apple is accepting Web orders for the exchange, which requires your iPhone serial number. You can also go to an Apple Store starting 10-Oct-08 to exchange an adapter in person, but you must bring your iPhone 3G as well as the adapter.
There is no charge associated with the exchange.
I expect most iPhone 3G owners will continue to use the existing ultracompact adapter until the replacements become available and just take additional care, because the alternatives involve always having a computer nearby or purchasing a different charger for which Apple will not reimburse you.