Apple issues recall of laptop batteries

Apple Computer Inc. has issued a battery recall order with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for its consumer-level iBook and pro PowerBook line of portable computers. The recall will affect approximately 128,000 units in the United States, according to the organizations.

Apple is recalling the batteries due to an internal short that could cause the battery cells to overheat, posing a fire hazard. Apple said it has received six reports worldwide of batteries overheating, including two reports in the United States.

The recalled lithium ion batteries are used with the following computers: 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4 and 15-inch PowerBook G4. The recalled batteries include those with model numbers A1061, A1078 and A1079 and serial numbers that begin with HQ441 through HQ507 or 3X446 through 3X510.

You can view your serial number by removing the battery from the computer – the number is on the bottom of the unit.

Apple and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend removing the battery immediately and discontinue using it. Apple is providing free replacement batteries to those affected by the recall. More information on contacting Apple is available from the company’s Web site.

LG Chem Ltd., of South Korea, the maker of the batteries in question is the same company that made PowerBook batteries that were recalled in August 2004. Last year’s recall caused no injuries to customers, but four incidents were reported.

Apple declined to comment on whether or not they would seek out a new battery manufacturer, but they did say they would not incur any financial burden for this recall.

"Our first concern is for the safety of our customers. However, we do not expect the cost of the recall to be material to Apple, and our supplier will bear those costs," Apple said in a statement given to MacCentral.

No other PowerBook or iBook batteries are involved in this recall.

Update: Added comments from Apple and information about last year's battery recall.

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