Apple to Replace Overheating iPod Nanos in Japan

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ipod replacementsApple says it will replace its first-generation iPod Nano music players in Japan that overheat, going beyond its earlier offer to replace only the faulty batteries, according to a Bloomberg report. The gesture by Apple (AAPL) comes as it faced mounting pressure from Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency and its trade ministry to take more action to ensure the safety of iPod users.

In Japan, six cases of first-generation iPod Nanos overheating into a fiery mess have been reported over a three-year span beginning in 2005, according to the report. Some of those cases involved devices that were being recharged. Apple's action follows a move by the South Korean government last year, which prodded the computer maker into issuing its first recall of the devices.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, meanwhile, has investigated more than a dozen cases involving overheating iPods since 2006, but to date has not launched a recall, according to a report by KIRO TV. The commission has only asked Apple to keep it apprised of any additional iPod Nano complaints it receives.

Overheating batteries is nothing new for Apple. Since 2001, the commission has announced four Apple recalls surrounding batteries used in its iBook and PowerBook computers. In these particular cases, here's what the Consumer Product Safety Commission says:
  • July 2001 -- Prior-generation PowerBook G3 AC adapters. Six reports of adapters overheating.
  • August 2004 -- Certain models of PowerBook batteries overheating. Four cases of battery overheating, no injuries reported.
  • May 2005 -- Certain models of iBook and PowerBook computer batteries overheating. Six reports worldwide, of which two were in U.S.
  • August 2006 -- Certain models of iBook and PowerBook batteries overheating. Nine reports of overheating, with two reports of minor injuries.
It has yet to be seen whether the action by Japanese and Korean officials will prompt action in the U.S., as well as in Europe, where the European Commission last year took up the issue for a preliminary look, according to a report in the New York Times.

"iPods are incredibly well designed and safety is the highest priority for Apple," an Apple spokesman told DailyFinance. "We've worked closely with METI [Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry] to make sure first-generation iPod Nano customers who are concerned with their battery have the latest information."
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