Print 40 comment(s) - last by dagoat.. on Jun 1 at 4:25 PM

Quality control at Apple continues to go down hill

Reports are surfacing that laptop batteries have become a cause for concern. A report on CBS-affiliate WCCO talks about how a boy's Apple G4 iBook burst into flames. Dave Brown, an 11-year old boy left his iBook in the living room only to find that the carpet beneath the laptop had started to melt when he returned. In fear, his parents took the laptop outside only to find it in flames several minutes later. Other users on Apple's discussion boards have reported that their power adapters have caught on fire and even the FireWire ports on some units.

DailyTech previously reported that Apple had issued a recall for MacBook Pro batteries that were showing odd behavior. Although fires haven't broken out because of the batteries, the MacBook Pros have generated a great deal of press from the amount of heat that they release when operating. One MacBook Pro even had its MagSafe AC connector catch on fire, in which Apple was quick to have photos removed from various websites that were documenting the case.

Throughout Apple's own discussion boards, posts are abundant about Apple's recent quality control woes. Last weekend, an organized call center flood was organized by many Apple customers in an attempt to get Apple's attention about problems existing with products. Several recent reports also indicated that iPods have just only one year's worth of usable life. iPod batteries are well known to deplete after a while and lose charge capacity significantly. Because of this, the iPod battery replacement business has grown exponentially over the last two years.

It appears that OEM battery manufacturers are part of the bad equation of poor quality control. Many companies are finding more methods of cost reduction and attention to quality made electronics have gone by the wayside. Cell phones have been prone to fires and even explosions due to bad batteries. As reputable as Nokia is, some of its cell phones have been known to have bad lithium ion batteries. Nokia has stated that users with problems are more than likely to have installed counterfeit Nokia batteries.

Apple has not responded to questions about its batteries or quality control issues. There was also no feedback on whether or not the organized call center flood actually achieved a tangible reaction from Apple.

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Once again...daily tech is a year late
By AppaYipYip on 5/30/06, Rating: 0
By Ardan on 5/30/2006 4:12:51 PM , Rating: 2
Just because the CBS-affiliate in my state, WCCO, was reporting about a local case where it caught fire doesn't mean that DailyTech is a year late about anything involving battery and/or laptop problems. If anything, WCCO can be yelled at for being 'a year late.' However, the local incident *did* happen recently, and they are merely reporting about local news while expanding into various background information about what is going on.

By hoppa on 5/30/2006 4:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
Since when is editorializing illegal? If you want to read the news straight out, just follow the link. If you want a summary that has some commentary written in, read on. No one is forcing you to read this site.

RE: Once again...daily tech is a year late
By Garreye on 5/30/2006 4:18:43 PM , Rating: 3
The issue with here is quality control on Apples behalf. Who cares if Asus made there laptops, Apple should be checking products with there name on it before the ship it. They let Asus build there laptop, so its there fault for not checking thoroughly enough....They should be "do[ing] what they can to resolve the issue" before they release there products, not after.

Another issue here is (not just with Apple) how much effort was made to tell people that there batteries were faulty. Most people who own an apple latop don't visit sites like this one and are not made aware of these issues.

And where can you find articles about anything, anywhere that are subject to the reporters opinion. This article isn't even bad, Apple's quality control is a concern, even on there own website forums The article even mentions how other companies are having similar problems.

By Garreye on 5/30/2006 4:19:51 PM , Rating: 2
typo: that are not* subject...t

By Scott66 on 5/30/2006 10:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
Go to apple's main page, there is a link on at the bottom where it tells you about the recall. It was also well publicized, when the recall was announced.

By cochy on 5/30/2006 4:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
Also, the flakey paint on the black iBooks was not in fact Apples fault, but rather Asus' fault since THEY are the manufacturers of the laptops.

If Apple's logo is on the product in question, quality issues about it are their problems. They need to do better job ensuring Apple products (nevermind who actually puts them together) are great products.

By Nekrik on 5/30/2006 4:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
Goto Line 1:

"Love will Overcome All
By TomZ on 5/30/2006 3:20:13 PM , Rating: 3

The "love" Apple enthusiasts have will overcome all these "small" quality problems. :o) "

Love will Overcome All
By TomZ on 5/30/2006 3:20:13 PM , Rating: 5
The "love" Apple enthusiasts have will overcome all these "small" quality problems. :o)

RE: Love will Overcome All
By Knish on 5/30/2006 3:26:33 PM , Rating: 5
I love Apple users.

They DOS their own support center, pay $200 for black paint that flakes, get stuck in elevators at Apple stores... yet religiously defend Steve Jobs at the drop of a hat even if his products are Apple's version of an IED.

RE: Love will Overcome All
By Nekrik on 5/30/2006 3:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
I like the image next to the title, they managed to time it perfectly. :)

RE: Love will Overcome All
By Garreye on 5/30/2006 3:47:41 PM , Rating: 1
Whats that??? My laptop isn't gas powered?

RE: Love will Overcome All
By BillyBatson on 5/30/2006 3:44:27 PM , Rating: 1
lol "small" problems?

Please, please, please!
By fishbits on 5/30/2006 3:29:57 PM , Rating: 5
Oh please someone, do a send-up of the new Mac commercials about this. With the scruffy, snarky Mac dude bursting into flames running around screaming and the PC guy saying "Well, at least I got that going for me." :P

RE: Please, please, please!
By marvdmartian on 5/30/2006 3:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
Or better yet, the PC guy saying, "Geez, you Mac types are HOT!!!! hehehe

RE: Please, please, please!
By One43637 on 5/30/2006 3:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
Oh please someone, do a send-up of the new Mac commercials about this. With the scruffy, snarky Mac dude bursting into flames running around screaming and the PC guy saying "Well, at least I got that going for me." :P

i'm not one to bash, but i do find that quite funny. ^_^

RE: Please, please, please!
By UsernameX on 5/30/2006 6:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Oh please someone, do a send-up of the new Mac commercials about this. With the scruffy, snarky Mac dude bursting into flames running around screaming and the PC guy saying "Well, at least I got that going for me." :P


RE: Please, please, please!
By Spadge on 5/31/2006 2:33:21 AM , Rating: 2
Your wish is my command. No caption needed. - PS. I'm no artist, obviously.

guys, guys!
By Scabies on 5/30/2006 4:51:52 PM , Rating: 2
Y'all are missing the real issue here. An 11 yr old with a laptop? Wtf?
The kid probably spilled a coke in there, or maybe was playing too much pookey-man. I'd probably burst into flames with an 11 yr old as my primary caretaker.

Also, if I read correctly, the parents took the computer outside. Direct sunlight, high humidity..? Kinda says in the first three pages of the manual about using in certain environmental conditions.

Many a Mac user (not all, chill out you with the flamethrower) isnt what we call computer saavy. Rather, they are quite computer impotent. They know the power button makes things work, and thats about it aside from basic/elementary OS functionality. Perhaps all of these Mac issues are coming from ignorant consumers.
The battery issue of iPods can be solved by not plugging it in nightly after ten minutes of listening.
The flaking paint? Next time think twice before setting your laptop on the edge of the washer during the rinse cycle.

so /flame 0. and NO comments like "My PC's never burst into flames. Macs are teh suxxorz."
</first defense of mac ever>

RE: guys, guys!
By hoppa on 5/30/2006 5:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
Does incorrect usage of a product really make it OK if it spontaneously combusts?

RE: guys, guys!
By Orpheus333 on 5/30/2006 5:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
carpet beneath the laptop had started to melt when he returned

It doesn't matter if they put it outside, the thing was melting carpet...Where would you put it? Did you see a weather report for that day? was it sunny and humid? I would use my laptop outside in our campus mall all the time.

Concerning the ipod battery issue- when is a more ideal time to charge your ipod? when you're using it during the day? or while you're sleeping? I would bet that almost 99.9% of people with electronic devices charge their laptop, cell phone, PDA, MP3 player..ect.. over night. Thats just what people do, because waiting for something to charge takes forever. I see your point about it being lightly used, but things like cordless landline phones spend a lot of their life on the charger- without bursting into flames.

RE: guys, guys!
By goku on 5/31/2006 4:37:52 AM , Rating: 2
You're an idiot, the kid left the laptop alone and it caught fire. When you spill coke on a laptop, it doesn't catch fire, it either shorts out or shuts off or does nothing (meaning it continues to function), I guess in a rare case it could catch fire. Just cause he's eleven, doesn't mean he shouldn't have a laptop, sure it's a mac so his technical prowess is probably lower overall than that of a PC user but I don't believe 11 is very young to have a laptop. I got my first laptop when I was 9 years old, $2700 Fujitsu, brand spankin new and took plenty good care of it.

Anyways by the looks of the pictures it seems obvious that the kid was not at fault.

RE: guys, guys!
By PrinceGaz on 5/31/2006 8:51:12 AM , Rating: 2
My PC's never burst into flames. Macs are teh suxxorz.

RE: guys, guys!
By lat3rintheday on 6/1/2006 1:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
Also, if I read correctly, the parents took the computer outside. Direct sunlight, high humidity..? Kinda says in the first three pages of the manual about using in certain environmental conditions.

Yes I agree. There should be a warning on these laptops, only use in a computer room, with properly controlled air flow, humidity, temperature, voltage etc, etc. Maybe Apple can now work with APC on a mobile computer room.

Odd facts about the Reports
By InternetGeek on 5/30/2006 3:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
First: The kid had the laptop on the carpet's floor.
Second: If you follow link they reference a laptop initiating fire on a hotel's bed.

Both those positions don't allow fresh air into the laptop easily. The intakes are partially if not completely covered. The strange part is that the laptops never shut themselves down. A partially or completely covered air intake causes a gradual temperature build up. If the laptop catches fire under normal operation I suspect the thermal cut-outs were disabled.

I can understand there are no thermal detectors on batteries, but I'm sure there are on the chipsets, harddrives, CPUs and GPUs. Even in a laptop that doesn't have a discrete graphics card there are many thermal detectors. Why didn't the laptops shut down?

Rechargeable batteries in general warm up when charging. I've never heard of batteries warming up under normal operation. If you are like me you always leave the laptop plugged so the battery works as a backup in case of power failure. So the battery is warm (not hot) on a regular basis. A user has to suspect the battery if it gets hot. And should make sure to notice the difference to support.

RE: Odd facts about the Reports
By trintron on 5/30/2006 4:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
First: The kid had the laptop on the carpet's floor.

Now imagine that laptop actually being on the lap..

RE: Odd facts about the Reports
By IsDanReally on 5/30/2006 11:25:08 PM , Rating: 2
My Dell laptop never shuts down when it's overheated. Often (usually when a print job gets left in the queue and prevents XP from going to standby) my work laptop (a dell Latitude D810) gets left to bake itself for a few hours in the back of my trunk, inside it's computer bag. The CPU temps get up to 65+, the entire case is extremely hot to the touch, it's almost too hot to hold, it has an interesting smell, but it never shuts down. The fans run at full speed, but in an enclosed space the size of the laptop itself, that doesn't help much...except to drain the battery quicker so it will shut off sooner. Possibly the CPU is clocking down, but being a Pentium-M although, it mostly always runs at 782 Mhz anyways.

So, is it a fire hazard? I don't know...but I certainly don't leave it on the carpet or my bed unattended...the warning that come with the computer said not have it in such places at all!

RE: Odd facts about the Reports
By goku on 5/31/2006 4:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
In case you didn't notice, the fire appeared to have started at the bottom part of the laptop, not somewhere the processor or any devices that would emit a lot of heat would be.. The bottom edges of a laptop are generally where optical drives and batteries would be..

By killerroach on 5/30/2006 5:53:13 PM , Rating: 4
...this does give "FireWire" an entirely different meaning :)

I have a 12" iBook G4§
By psychobriggsy on 5/30/2006 7:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
It can get quite hot in use, but never scalding.

However some software appears to interrupt the sleep process. I had a problem with Adium once that would stop the sleep process if you shut the lid - result - boiling hot iBook with lid down instead of ice cold power saving iBook.

I think it's a problem with Mac OS X not prioritising power saving actions over things like network shutdown or even application dialogue boxes. No certain information though, and I'm sure it only happens to a tiny fraction of users, but yeah, Apple's quality control does seem to be dropping, at least in terms of media reports.

RE: I have a 12" iBook G4§
By doriansdaily on 5/30/2006 10:32:10 PM , Rating: 2
To ALL of you out there talking trash, here is your reality check!

HOT FROM THE PRESS: - No pun intended!

The report blames the battery, and notes that Apple, Dell, HP, and other computer manufacturers have recalled batteries before based on potential fire hazards. It also notes that there have been 43 reports of fires caused by laptop batteries over the five years.

Although the flaming iBook seen in the report was not included in a battery recall, Apple is replacing batteries in other models. Specific 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4, or 15-inch PowerBook G4 are included in the current recall. You can check the Apple Web site to see if your laptop is included.

By goku on 5/31/2006 4:28:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yet apple users 'claim' apple makes high quality products...

RE: lol
By AppaYipYip on 5/31/2006 10:02:32 AM , Rating: 2
Apple does make higher quality products. What Apple cannot do, is make up for the stupidity of those that buy their products. Next, we will see a user leaving his/her iBook on the dash of their car in direct sunlight and complaining that it "burst into flames."

This is cracking me up
By IMPoor on 5/30/2006 5:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
This justs shows that no company is perfect and that all companies, including Apple, rush the products to the market and lack the proper quality control checks. I am a Windows guy but I have no problem with Macs and use one at my dad's house all the time. It justs funny how the mac guys get all defensive when anything bad happens but it is fine to say a pc is crap. Anyway I had my laptop blow up once on a hardcore porn site but I think that was for a different reason. No recall was required.

Mac users may catch on fire
By Stoene on 5/30/2006 5:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Mac users will catch on fire next. Nothing quite like elite-ests on fire.

By slashbinslashbash on 5/31/2006 2:12:27 AM , Rating: 2
Ok guys, this is really getting out of hand. How about you hire me as an editor? 25 cents per article. If not me, then someone else. The spelling was NEVER this bad at AnandTech news.

Battery problem. For Dell, HP, too
By uzernume on 5/31/2006 12:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
Windows apologists.

Y'all just need to relax....
By khybro on 5/31/2006 12:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
My aunt's Dell laptop caught fire in her living room, also while sitting on the carpet. Nobody discovered it until the carpet, part of the wall, and the sofa were burned to a crisp. Insurance money took care of it. I have a friend whose Gateway laptop did the same.

To wonder why an Apple catching on fire is news while Dell's or Gateways is not newsworthy tells you something about Apple, other PC manufacturers, and especially CNET, which has the largest user base of over-compensating pc geeks on the web. Flame me, I'm not coming back here, and enjoy yourselves. But then go take a walk and wonder why it matters so much to you what computer I use or you use. Losers.

By leese on 5/31/2006 12:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's hardly a quality issue. The boy left the iBook on carpet. Any laptop (powered on) left on carpet for an extended period of time would do the same thing.

Taken from the iBook manual (

Warning: Do not place your iBook G4 on a pillow or other soft material (such as carpet)when it is on, as the material may block the airflow vents, in particular the rear vents, and cause the computer to overheat.

"Quality control at Apple Continues to Go Down Hill?" Copy editors at the DailyTech should look in the mirror first and check your headlines for spelling errors.

Lion batteries.
By dagoat on 6/1/2006 4:25:22 PM , Rating: 2
No matter where you put them, Li Ion batteries are a real
danger. There is a real push to replace them with LiMn
batteries. Here's why I don't trust them in a design.
1- Overcharge them - they catch fire.
2- If they discharge to true zero, they're dead.
3- Break the Lion cell seal - they catch fire.
4- Get them hot, while fully charged, they lose a
non-trivial amount of lifespan.
They are the explosive divas of batteries.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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