Apple's laptops escape latest Sony battery recall

Unlike '06 recall, Apple's laptops not affected by flaming batteries

Friday's laptop battery recall -- prompted by reports of more than a dozen fires, including at least two injuries -- does not affect Apple laptops, Sony confirmed Friday.

Apple's MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops are not affected by the recall, said Sony spokeswoman Elizabeth Boukis Friday. A Sony subsidiary, Sony Energy Devices, manufactured the batteries.

The defective batteries are powered by multiple 2.15Ah lithium-ion cells, and were manufactured between October 2004 and June 2005. Other US laptop sellers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba, issued recalls Friday for the defective batteries. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the bulk of the bad batteries, about 32,000, are in HP laptops. Toshiba systems account for approximately 3,000 of the battery recalls, while only 150 Dell notebooks are affected.

Another 65,000 batteries were sold or packaged with laptops sold outside the U.S.

In August 2006, Apple recalled 1.8 million Sony-made batteries sold with its iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 notebooks. Those batteries, however, were powered by 2.4Ah and 2.6Ah cells, said Sony's Boukis, who made an effort to differentiate Friday's recall from the one two years ago. "The design and manufacturing of the cells [in the newly-recalled batteries] are different than the ones from 2006," she said.

Sony took a US$432 million loss in 2006 because of the massive recall that affected nearly 10 million batteries that year.

The CPSC said there have been 19 reports of the bad batteries overheating; in 17 of those incidents, flames and fires were reported, with property damage in 10 cases. Two consumers were burned in the fires, the agency said.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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