iPad swapped if its battery fails, Apple says

Apple will exchange iPads with dud batteries for a whole new new device for $99 (data backup not included).

If you're one of the folks (or as others have said, "idiots") who have already decided to hand over a few Benjamins for an iPad pre-order, chances are you haven't given much thought to what happens if your battery goes bad. Rest assured that Apple is one step ahead of you.

According to a recently-posted FAQ, Apple will replace your iPad if it "requires service due to the battery's diminished ability to hold an electrical charge," for $99 and a $6.95 shipping fee.

Before you get too excited, this doesn't mean that you could pull the old switcharoo if you're tampering with your iPad or using it as a coaster.

Apple added, "Your iPad is not eligible for Battery Replacement Service if the product has been damaged, for example, as result of an accident, liquid contact, disassembly, unauthorized service or unauthorized modifications, or if the product is not operating correctly as a result of a component failure."

A little more than $100 for a new, or as Engadget points out "possibly refurbished," iPad may seem like a decent deal to some, considering Apple services iPhones when they start to lose their charge. But the swap comes with one big disadvantage.

Apple warns that replacement iPads won't come with any of your personal information and suggests you sync your old device with iTunes to backup your data before sending it in.

Apple says the service could be done within a week if arranged by calling Apple Technical Support.

Apple may be trying to prevent future fallout from consumer rights groups by posting the FAQ now. In 2007, the Foundation for Consumer and Taxpayer Rights attacked Apple and AT&T for not describing the fees and methodology for the battery replacement scheme before the original iPhone was launched. And remember, battery problems are not unfamiliar to Apple; some iPhone users reported hassles after a software upgrade. This time, Apple is spelling out its intentions up front.

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Paul Suarez

PC World (US online)
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