Apple recalls more G4 batteries

Computer maker issues warning about overheating danger in some PowerBook and iBook machines.

Apple Computer is recalling 128,000 batteries that were shipped in its PowerBook G4 and iBook G4 laptops over the past eight months, marking the second time since last summer that it has issued such a warning.

In a report filed with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the company said that it has identified a new crop of batteries that may have the potential to overheat. Apple will replace all of the batteries in question, which were shipped in 12- and 15-inch models of the PowerBook G4 and 12-inch versions of the iBook G4 delivered between October 2004 and May 2005.

Apple said it has received six reports worldwide of batteries overheating, including two instances in the United States. According to the reports filed by Apple with the government's consumer watchdog group, the batteries involved in the recall were manufactured by LG Chem of South Korea, the same supplier involved in its earlier consumer warning. In both cases the computer maker said that an internal short in the batteries could cause their cells to overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Apple issued a statement that said the company would not be held financially responsible for facilitating the massive recall.

"Our first concern is for the safety of our customers," said a company spokesman. "However, we do not expect the cost of the recall to be material to Apple, and our supplier will bear those costs."

The latest warning is the second battery recall issued by Apple since August 2004, when it informed the Consumer Product Safety Commission that roughly 28,000 of the units shipped in an earlier batch of its 15-inch PowerBook G4s had similarly defective batteries.

It was not immediately clear if there have been any injuries linked to the latest group of defective units, but there were no specific accidents detailed at the time of either recall.

The batteries in question in the 12-inch iBook G4 carry the model number A1061 and serial numbers that run numerically from HQ441 to HQ507. The affected 12-inch PowerBook G4 batteries are model number A1079 and have serial numbers from 3X446 to 3X510. The recalled 15-inch PowerBook G4 units have the model number A1078 and serial number running from 3X446 to 3X509. Those numbers are printed on a label on the bottom of the battery, Apple said.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker advised customers with the batteries to contact it immediately for a free replacement. The company can be reached via phone at (800) 275-2273 or via its Apple.com Web site. It has also created a battery exchange page on its customer support Web site.

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