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Apple denies blame for exploding headphones, report says

After a woman's headphones explode on a flight, Apple reportedly refuses to pay compensation because the batteries weren't Apple-approved.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The woman suffered burns in the incident.

Australian Transportation Safety Bureau

Phones can explode. So can headphones.

An Australian woman discovered this on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne in February. As she slept, her battery-powered headphones blew up and her face was severely burned, as were her hands and hair.

The Australian Associated Press reported Friday that Apple will not pay the woman compensation, even though the headphones were made by Apple.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. However, the Australian news service reported that a statement from the woman's lawyers included Apple's response: "Our investigation indicated the issue was caused by a third-party battery."

It's unclear which brand of batteries she used and why they would not have been Apple-approved. The woman told the Australian news service that she'd owned the headphones since 2014 and that she'd bought the AAA batteries in Australia. She has asked to remain anonymous.

"The headphones don't work without batteries, yet nowhere on the headphones -- or their packaging -- did it specify which brand of batteries should be used," the woman said, according to the Australian news service.

When it reported this incident in March, the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau issued a warning that read, in part: "Batteries should be kept in an approved stowage, unless in use."

It's tempting to think that because batteries are ubiquitous, they're always safe. They're not. Not even when they're in the hands of expert manufacturers, as last year's Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle proved.

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