Apple Unsuccesfully Tries to Silence Owner of Fiery iPod

Apple’s iPhones and iPods have been known to have overheating problems, at times bursting into flames.  Apple is reportedly doing everything in its power — or more aptly in its army of lawyers’ power — to keep these relatively infrequent incidents away from the public eye.

Ken Stanborough, 47, was among the victims of an exploding iPod and legal ploys by Apple.  Mr. Stansborough bought an iPod Touch for his 11-year-old daughter.  When holding the iPod one warm day last month, it began to overheat.  He states, “It made a hissing noise.  I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour.”

The father resorted to playing hot potato with the iPhone, tossing it outside.  He reports that “within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air.”

He contacted Apple, hoping for an apology, or at least a refund.  After speaking with several departments, he spoke to an Apple executive on the telephone, however, they wouldn’t promise him a refund.  According to the Times Online, he instead received a letter offering him a refund only if he signed some very restrictive legal terms.

Apple agreed to reimburse the £162 he paid at UK retailer Argos, but demanded that he “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential.”  Violation of this gag-order, according to Apple, “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties.”

Infuriated at the outrageous response, Mr. Stansborough, who works in electronics security, refused and never got his refund.  He states, “I thought it was a very disturbing letter.  They’re putting a life sentence on myself, my daughter and Ellie’s mum, not to say anything to anyone. If we inadvertently did say anything, no matter what, they would take litigation against us. I thought that was absolutely appalling.  We didn’t ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back.”

An Apple spokesperson said they could not comment on their case as they had not yet seen the iPod.  Apple’s second generation Nanos were known to infrequently overheat, catch fire, or otherwise explode.  That problem appears to have reappeared in the current iPod Touch/iPhone.  In South Korea some iPods are being recalled for overheating.  The Japanese government recently issued a warning about iPods potentially overheating.  And in Ohio Apple is being sued by the mother of a child whose iPod Touch reportedly exploded, burning his leg.