August 6, 2013
Charging Station Death Prompts Apple To Offer Replacements
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Following the electrocution and death of a young Chinese woman last month, Apple has said it will begin trading third party power adapters for officially licensed gear. The USB power adapter take-back program allows customers to bring in their third party power adapters to be exchanged for "properly designed" units Apple says are much safer.Beginning August 16, customers can bring any iPad, iPhone or iPod power adapter that did not ship with the original product to an Apple retail store or authorized service provider and have them disposed of in an environmentally conscious manner. Those needing to replace a power adapter can bring in their respective devices and pick up an Apple-branded unit for $10. With some hints of Apple's reaction to the "antennagate" scuffle, the program will only run from August 16 to October 18, 2013. Chinese customers can begin swapping their third-party chargers for new units beginning August 9, according to 9to5Mac.
"Customer safety is a top priority at Apple. That's why all of our products -- including USB power adapters for iPhone, iPad, and iPod -- undergo rigorous testing for safety and reliability and are designed to meet government safety standards around the world," said Apple in an official statement announcing the program.
Customers can bring in any third party adapter for recycling, but Apple is only offering new adapters at the $10 price on a one-for-one basis, meaning customers must bring in one iOS device and one third party adapter to receive one Apple branded unit for $10.
The website also offers a note, saying retail store employees and authorized service providers cannot tell customers if the adapter they have is safe; they'll only be permitted to dispose of questionable chargers and replace them with new gear.
"We are offering this special takeback program for any USB power adapter made for use with iPhone, iPad, and iPod for which you have concerns," reads the site.
Though Apple never directly mentions the specific incident, a 23-year-old Chinese woman died last month after being electrocuted while using her iPhone 5 as it was charging. Apple promised to investigate, though early reports held the woman was using a licensed Apple lightning charger at the time she was killed.
Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, was the first to ship with a different charging port from every other iPad, iPhone or iPod. The Lightning port is much smaller than the previous 30-pin connector. The Cupertino, California-based company has also placed some hurdles in the way of those looking to develop accessories that use this port, including power adapters and cords.
Though companies can acquire licensing deals to develop new hardware for this port, Apple picks and chooses who they allow to build these units. Additionally, Apple is said to charge more for these Lightning licenses than they originally did for the 30-pin connector.
Apple has yet to fully explain the benefits of switching from the analog 30-pin to the digital Lightning, but it has often hailed safety as a top advantage of using its own branded power accessories for any and all of its products.