Apple recall of special concern to schools

Apple recalls 1.8 million laptops with same Sony batteries as the 4.1 million machines recalled by Dell.

Just when Apple laptop users thought it was safe to park a computer on a lap, Apple computer announced a recall of 1.8 million Sony-manufactured lithium-ion laptop batteries due to concerns of possible overheating and catching fire, reports eSchool News.

This comes on the heels of a similar recall from Dell, which recalled 4.1 million laptop batteries after similar problems were reported. Apple said that they have received nine reports of batteries overheating, including two consumers who received minor burns after handling overheated computers. No serious injuries have been reported.

Owners of the 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4, and 15-inch PowerBook G4 laptops sold in the United States from October 2003 through August 2006 were told to remove the batteries. The machines can continue to be used as long as they're plugged into an AC power source.

Apple has set up a website to deal with customer questions. Or call a toll-free hot line, (800) 275-2273. A free replacement will be shipped to affected customers.

Many major manufacturers, including Lenovo (ThinkPads), Gateway and HP, use the Sony batteries but they all say safety measures will prevent similar problems.

Sony has been actively studying why these lithium-ion laptop batteries overheat and catch fire. Rick Clancy, a Sony spokesman said the problem lies with the tiny metallic particles sometimes short-circuit the battery cells, adding that the configuration in an electronic device can contribute to problems.

"But it begins with the [battery] cell, and we acknowledge that," he said.

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