Apple to recall 1.8 million Sony-made iBook G4, PowerBook G4 batteries

“Apple Computer Inc. is issuing its own big recall of laptop computer batteries, on the heels of a recall by rival Dell Inc. that cast a harsh light on the perils of a widely used battery technology,” Don Clark and Nick Wingfield report for The Wall Street Journal.

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Apple plans to recall 1.1 million batteries in the United States, plus 700,000 batteries sold in other countries. The batteries were made for Apple by a unit Sony Corp.,” Clark and Wingfield report.

“A CPSC spokesman said Apple’s move is the second-largest recall on record in the computer and consumer-electronics sectors,” Clark and Wingfield report. “The recall affects lithium-ion batteries, which have been linked to reports of overheating and fires. The batteries were designed for Apple iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 models that were purchased between October 2003 and August 2006, the CPSC spokesman said.”

“Dell said last week that it planned to recall 4.1 million laptop-computer batteries made by Sony, citing the possibility that they could possibly overheat and catch fire. Analysts put the cost of the Dell recall in the range of $200 million to $400 million; Sony is expected to share at least part of that cost,” Clark and Wingfield report.

Clark and Wingfield report, “Dell and Apple had issued battery recalls before, but on a smaller scale. In May 2005, for example, Apple issued a recall of about 128,000 units manufactured by LG Chem Ltd. of South Korea, according to the CPSC. In August, 2004, it had recalled 28,000 batteries that were also made by LG Chem.”

Full article (subscription required) here.

“Apple said it doesn’t expect any more of its computers to be affected by the recall. Apple recently stopped producing its iBook and PowerBook computers, and replaced those with the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models,” Rex Crum reports for MarketWatch. “Sony officials said, in a statement, that they expect the Apple and Dell recalls to cost the company between $171 million and $257 million based on current exchange rates.”

Full article here.

Apple “said it sees no ‘material’ financial impact from the recall,” The Financial Standard reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Sony really has to be hating life. Who’ll recall Sony batteries next? As we said in our original Take when the story of the Dell laptop exploding in Japan was reported, “Almost always, this is an issue of shoddily-produced batteries. Virtually every PC company, including Apple, have not been immune to such issues in the past. Hopefully, this will never happen on a plane (or anywhere else again). Generally, we’re of the opinion that as PC companies race to the bottom in a desperate price race, we feel much safer with Apple’s quality vs. all others as Apple is not dependent on operating on razor-thin margins that might affect product quality.” We continue to stand by that Take 100%.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s discontinued iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 models are the two Apple products affected by this battery recall. Those models – which used lithium-ion batteries – have since been replaced by the lithium-polymer battery-powered MacBook and MacBook Pro products respectively.

Apple products affected:
Computer model name – Battery model number – Battery serial numbers
12-inch iBook G4 – A1061 – ZZ338 through ZZ427, 3K429 through 3K611, 6C519 through 6C626 (Note: For last range, CPSC’s site says 6C510, Apple’s says 6C519.)
12-inch PowerBook G4 – A1079 – ZZ411 through ZZ427, 3K428 through 3K611
15-inch PowerBook G4 – A1078 and A1148 – 3K425 through 3K601, 6N530 through 6N551, 6N601

More info: Battery Exchange Program iBook G4 and PowerBook G4
See also: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Apple Announces Recall of Batteries Used in Previous iBook and PowerBook Computers

{UPDATE: 2:11pm EDT: Added to Take.]

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Feds clear Apple MacBook Pro batteries of safety defects – August 24, 2006
Dell issues largest safety recall in history: 4.1 million laptop batteries due to fire threat – August 14, 2006
Apple initiates worldwide 15-inch MacBook Pro battery exchange program – July 31, 2006
Dell laptop explodes into flames at Japanese conference – June 21, 2006

74 Comments

  1. On Apple’s support site, it has a recall for the 15″ Macbook Pro battery’s also. I think the WSJ got their facts on the models wrong. I hope the Macbook isn’t affected. That’s a bunch of battery’s.

    First?

  2. Bit odd after the article quoted earlier this afternoon:

    “Feds clear Apple MacBook Pro batteries of safety defects”
    Thursday, August 24, 2006 – 12:33 PM EDT

    Oh dear oh dear. Glad my MBP has its new battery instaled already…

  3. How about some usefull information like which battery serial numbers are affected and details on how the recall works (where do we send affected batteries for exchange?).

    Something without requiring a WSJ subscription.

  4. My iBook qualifies and the battery begins with 6C521…but it got recalled last year and I was hoping that it wouldn’t be again. Thankfully, I don’t have to send it back (as long as the site isn’t wrong and my battery doesn’t set on fire).

  5. “Apple’s discontinued iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 models are the two Apple products affected by this battery recall. Those models have since been replaced by the MacBook and MacBook Pro products respectively.”

    but many of us still have them.

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