Japan warns of fire risk for discontinued first-gen iPod nano

“Japan on Tuesday warned consumers of the risks of Apple’s iPod nano portable music player after the country’s industry ministry received three reports of minor fires caused by overheating devices,” Jonathan Soble reports for The Financial Times.

“The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti) said it had begun an investigation into the incidents, which involved nanos sold in the first year after the player’s launch in 2005. ‘There have been multiple cases of overheating and fire damage, in particular during recharging, so please use caution,’ it said in a statement on its website,” Soble reports.

“According to the ministry, Apple has recorded 14 similar problems with nanos sold in Japan, including two which caused minor burns,” Soble reports.

“Meti made two of the Japanese cases public for the first time on Tuesday after disclosing a previous case in March. It said the machines were sold between September 2005 and September 2006,” Soble reports.

MacDailyNews Note: For the sake of clarity: these reports are for first-generation iPod nano units which replaced iPod mini. iPod nano is currently in its third-generation and it not the focus of Japan’s warning.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Decent job, Financial Times – although it could have been even clearer which nano is subject to Japan’s warning. Now, cue the umpteen reports that will neglect to mention or improperly clarify – either intentionally or due to incompetence – that this is about the discontinued first-gen iPod nano, not the current third-gen device currently on sale. Some examples of very poor reporting have already been widely published:

The Associated Press: “iPods overheat, Apple under pressure”
• BBC News: “Reports of iPod Nanos overheating”WIth photo of third-gen iPod nano, no less!
• MarketWatch: “Japan, Apple probe possible iPod Nano defect: report”
Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal: “Apple, Japan check iPod battery overheatings”
• AHN: “Japanese Investigators Attempt To Link Fires, Overheated iPods”


  1. @ John:

    Some people won’t know the difference. And it’s likely that some of those people are journalists, given the declining journalistic integrity as of late.

  2. Gotta love those crack Japanese safety inspectors all these years later.

    Still, I wonder if these units had replacement batteries or were somehow otherwise damaged, like bent or dropped allowing air into the Li-on battery.

  3. It would have been nice if “The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti)” pointed out that the only iPod nanos affected were equipped with batteries supplied by Sony.

    But that would be too much to expect from such an ethnocentric government as Japan.

  4. The local garbage purveyor/news program spun this as a major story, but didn’t point out that this isolated issue involves a 3yr old product.

    At least the idiot newscaster had an artificially cheery smile while reading it.

  5. “Apple has recorded 14 similar problems with nanos” and Meti heard about 3. So, 17 nanos that are 2 or 3 years old. If this was Microsoft Zunes, that would be a very high percentage and someone would have to look into it.

    This is just another great way to drive down Apple stock price in front of Friday’s multi nation rollout of the iPhones.

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