Apple finally replaces TR reader’s overheated iPad

TR reader Forge won’t have to ditch his iPad after all. Although Apple Store employees initially refused to replace the device after it almost combusted earlier this month, Apple’s support helpline turned out to be more, er, helpful. Here’s what Forge says happened when he called up the company:

Three minutes of hold, and I got a really friendly guy named Jonathan on the line. Jonathan heard just the basics (iPad HOT!) and immediately transferred me to a Product Safety specialist. I recounted the story in full to him and he was *quite* concerned, and echoed many of the sentiments here, that jailbreak or not was immaterial to the failure, and that Apple was seriously concerned. He offered to do a mail exchange, and I agreed but apparently sounded quite unenthused. He offered to send my case to the local store with an ‘override number’ attached, but clearly indicated that Retail doesn’t answer to him, so nothing was guaranteed. Given the proximity of the Apple Store, I asked to try that.

Forge says he then headed to the Apple Store, where the store manager promptly replaced his damaged iPad with a shiny new one.

Of course, none of this tells us exactly why the original device melted its charging cord and became burning hot two weeks back. We initially suspected a battery issue, although looking around the web, we spotted a similar story involving an iPhone 4. In that case, the culprit was allegedly a faulty USB port.

Comments closed
    • glynor
    • 10 years ago

    Glad to hear you got it sorted. I thought when I first read the report of your experience at the Apple Store that it was likely due to an overzealous local manager.

    While Jailbreaking clearly voids your warranty and you should have restored it before taking it back, I also think it is pretty clear that the “right” thing for Apple to do in this case was to replace the product. In my personal experience, they’ve typically been pretty good with things like this. I’m glad you decided to try another route after cooling off a bit.

    I’d certainly be careful with using the new one on that same USB cord and charger though (or USB port, I don’t remember the exact details of the initial failure)!

    • gerbilspy
    • 10 years ago
    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    Silly macolytes, this was a case of hardware failure. There is no way the jailbreaking software could have caused it.

    The manager at the Apple Store was being a tool. It is a good thing that things got straighten out for Forge.

      • khands
      • 10 years ago

      Personally, it was the right thing for Apple to do, even if the warranty was broken.

      • xtalentx
      • 10 years ago

      You are very wrong – software could very easily cause the problems with overheating. It’s very possible that by virtue of being JBed the device overheated while charging.

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        “It’s very possible that by virtue of being JBed the device overheated while charging. ”

        Then it’s craptastic hardware. You can’t have it both ways. Let us know of an x86 device from any manufacturer than flames up with a modification of the core OSg{<.<}g

          • xtalentx
          • 10 years ago

          Advanced power management tools are often software driven now. It can control fans, charging cycles, cpu speed, gpu speed and much more. If the software tells your fan to stop and your cpu and gpu to run at 100% then BAMO fire. Maybe not to much in a full sized desktop but in a laptop or cramped portable device – for sure. I’m not sure how iPad runs its power management but for sure it’s software driven.

        • Krogoth
        • 10 years ago

        Try again, next time. The culprit in this case was the A/C charger. The OS and software have nothing to do with that.

        The butthurt is strong with this one.

          • xtalentx
          • 10 years ago

          Butthurt – no you just don’t know what you are talking about.

    • tejas84
    • 10 years ago

    Well you are lucky Forge as you really did not deserve a new ipad since you violated the warranty and jailbroke the phone.

    But running to the press and to Scott and Cyril seems to have paid off for you. Well played…

    Maybe I will run to TR when my GPU which is flashed with a different SKU bios goes up in flames.

    Shame on TR for promotoing a user who clearly voided their warranty. Apple were under no obligation to do anything.

      • Skrying
      • 10 years ago

      You’ve clearly not followed this story. It’s great to attack someone when you do not know the full story. Forge never went to any of the TR staff. He posted a thread about his situation in the forums which was seen by Cyril. It’s neither surprising someone created a thread when one of their devices had a unique failure (and support story) or that Cyril views TR’s forums.

      • YellaChicken
      • 10 years ago

      I think your keyboard has gone into ‘Rabidly defend a major corporation for no benefit to myself’ mode, let me fix that post for you.

      Well you are lucky Forge as you really did -[

        • glynor
        • 10 years ago

        Best post on the story. Good job.

      • pogsnet
      • 10 years ago
    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    Am I missing something? Apple is being sued currently for overheating ipads in the Sun. Doesn’t seem that far fetched that this can be on the periphery of the same issueg{<.<}g

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Glad you got it replaced but I wonder what will happen to the iPad and your charger/cable. Apple tends to be very secretive about defects in their products going so far as to force people to sign legal agreemeents not to talk about it…too late for that at least 😉 and I’m glad you didn’t have to do that.

    • tesla120
    • 10 years ago

    And now that apple has the ipad no one will ever know why it overheated. You would think that they would have wanted to throw it in their giant vault as soon as they could to keep the possible problem out of the news…

    • lolento
    • 10 years ago

    Apple must be responding to the jailbreak ruling couple days ago. I hope they will have a more open policy with regards to side-loading apps soon.

    I mean voiding warranty is voiding warranty, jailbreakers should know that much.

    • pogsnet
    • 10 years ago
      • wingless
      • 10 years ago

      Jailbreaking is legal but it still voids the warranty. I think the thing that should be looked at more closely is that some people here say if you jailbreak the device, it messes with the charging software in a way that will make these things catch fire. This sounds premeditated and malicious on the account of Apple if true. They know very well that people will jailbreak these devices, but they knowingly sell a product that catches fire if jail-broken. I’m appalled if it’s true and I’ll never give them my money.

      • Lans
      • 10 years ago

      If you read article from your own link then you’ll find “/[

        • pogsnet
        • 10 years ago
        • GTVic
        • 10 years ago

        Not necessarily, there are laws regarding warranty coverage and that particular disclaimer may not be legally enforceable in some cases.

        For example, many products will falsely include a warning that you have to return the registration card in order to activate your warranty.

      • Phr3dly
      • 10 years ago

      It’s legal for me to modify the computer in my truck to produce ungodly amounts of horsepower. But that doesn’t mean that GM is obliged to honor the warranty when I ruin the engine or the transmission.

      Just cause it’s legal doesn’t mean it won’t void the warranty.

        • Welch
        • 10 years ago

        You’ve got a point there….. Even though my truck (F-150) is well outside of its warranty… ummmmm 14 year old truck! If it were new and within its warranty and I use a programmer to modify my trucks parameters, then Ford has no obligation to fix my truck if it break because of that. However, they will fix something if it is not related to that tuner/programmer at all….. IE: Suspension issues.

        What you have to ask here is…… Does the jail-breaking modification (all software) cause anything that could harm the system, IE, Overclocking the processor, changing the speed at which the battery charges or anything at all that could lead to the system frying itself. If it does not effect any of those things then its a crock and apple should have replaced it. At the same time I can’t help but side with Apple on this one thing (if they didn’t purposely design it to explode when jail-broken), its hard for Apple to tell what a person has modified on the software after its been fried, and to expect them to figure out what the individual jail-breaks did to the system is insane. Its not their responsibility to try and understand each piece of jail-broken software that exists out there. One version of it may be dangerous while another is safe.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    Good news!

      • FuturePastNow
      • 10 years ago

      Definitely good news! I figured Forge was out of luck, but he found a CSR who was more interested in the safety thing than whether or not the warranty was still intact.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 10 years ago

    “…Jailbreak or not was immaterial to the failure…” Strangest thing that IF I installed a program that caused my computer to overheat, the computer manufacturer would not be obligated to replace it. You hacked your iPad and then thought Apple should replace it when it failed.

    Don’t think that’s “immaterial” to the failure. Good for you getting Apple to pay for something they clearly didn’t have to. They have enough bad press that even some press where it’s clearly not their fault would be more trouble than its worth.

      • radix
      • 10 years ago

      Good luck getting a program that does such a thing.

        • Fighterpilot
        • 10 years ago

        Well….there’s those “heat-em-up” Nvidia drivers from a few months back…he could give them a go 😉

      • moop2000
      • 10 years ago

      Agreed! It’s no different than overclocking a CPU, or modding your car engine. If it explodes or overheats, I don’t see how it should be the manufacturer’s job to replace it.

      That being said, I can understand that they would want to capture a potential engineering issue, and understand it, regardless of the cause. I think that’s how it should have been handled.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        Overclocked CPUs are still covered under warranty, and don’t potentially start fires. Try again.

        Apple has a history of exploding portable devices and trying to cover it up. This isn’t exactly some sort of never before encountered grey area.

          • Deanjo
          • 10 years ago

          Oh really? Guess again. Here is intel’s warranty read the last line.

          EXTENT OF LIMITED WARRANTY
          Intel does not warrant that the Product will be free from design defects or errors known as “errata.”
          Current characterized errata are available upon request. Further, this Limited Warranty does NOT cover:
          • any costs associated with the repair or replacement of the Product including labor,
          installation or other costs incurred by you, and in particular, any costs relating to the removal
          or replacement of any Product that is soldered or otherwise permanently affi xed to any
          printed circuit board: OR
          • damage to the Product due to external causes, including accident, problems with electrical
          power, abnormal electrical, mechanical or environmental conditions, usage not in accordance
          with product instructions, misuse, neglect, alteration, repair, improper installation, or improper
          testing: OR
          • any Product which has been modified or operated outside of Intel’s publicly available
          specifications or where the original identifcation markings

            • NeelyCam
            • 10 years ago

            My favorite is the first line:

            /[

        • eitje
        • 10 years ago

        Given that jailbreaking is a ROM update, this is more closely related to installing a different (or modified) operating system.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          If you put OSX on a PC, your best bet would be to set it on fire, so close enough.

        • Farting Bob
        • 10 years ago

        Software cant cause a charger to overheat and catch fire / burn your device. Its impossible. Its like putting fuzzy dice in your car and then find the brakes dont work a few weeks later. The issue is not the fuzzy dice.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      Oh, great. Now you told the world about the closely guarded ancient voodoo secret of software that creates fires.

      There will be a virus burning houses down by next week.

      • Shadin
      • 10 years ago

      Yes, hundreds of thousands of Android devices are melting because of a custom ROM. You’re not really that stupid, are you?

        • NeelyCam
        • 10 years ago

        They could, you don’t know that they can’t. If the battery charger depends on CPU/software control but doesn’t have safeguards, bad software could melt your phone or burn down your house.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          In which case, Apple would still be retarded.

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            Then I guess you would have to call the entire PC industry stupid as that was what ACPI (BIOS+OS) systems were designed for to make up for the shortfalls of legacy APM.

            Also for all of you that say you can’t kill hardware with software, that is a buch of BS. Two examples are issuing a ACPI command to kill the CPU fan on a AthlonXP and take the old Catalyst drivers, 4870×2 and run furmark on it over night. Real software killing real hardware.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            Or hardware that is designed to cut every penny rather than engineered robustly for every possible situation. The AMD CPU could have an overheat shutdown or fan override, the 4870×2 could have overcurrent or overheat protection.

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            With the exception of barton AthlonXP’s the XP CPU’s would melt into oblivion in spectacular fashion. With ACPI commands via software one can easily ignore any shutdown setting in the BIOS on overheating. The 4870×2’s would generally only melt down when a “power virus” type application was applied. There are plenty of other ways to fry hardware via software and even more when you start screwing around with firmware.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 10 years ago

            Your examples are a graphics card with one of the highest possible energy densities and an old CPU which was well known as a self-destruction risk (a somewhat unique case where the thermal power density had become very high but AMD had not yet implemented safety features to match). Both involve deliberate attempts to destroy an energy dense product. I don’t think that those examples relate well to jailbreaking a very low power tablet.

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            It relates very well. If one jailbreaks that does allow those safeguards to be bypassed which were ordinarily protected out of the end users capability. So why the hell should any company warranty a product where you intentionally decided to do so? I could give you many many many ways of destroying hardware permanently via software.

            There is a reason why every jailbreaking app out there assumes no liability if things go awry so why should Apple be held accountable on a different scale when you bypass their safeguards?

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 10 years ago

            No, I continue to reject your examples as totally unrelated. The fact that some high power density products can be deliberately killed by software has nothing to do with appropriate behavior for a jailbroken tablet computer. (A table computer which, significantly, is likely to have died for some reason other than jailbreaking.)

            The iPad is just a small computer, its legal to jailbreak it, and Apple knows full well that lots of people will do that (warranty or not). If their device experiences runaway heat buildup in that situation, they should certainly be liable. Its just plain dangerous to have thermal control rigged up in some way they know will fail.

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            Sorry but your arguement super weak at best. I never said jail breaking was illegal. It’s no more illegal then modding anything else you may own. I can buy a Corvette as well under warranty and mod the hell out of it all I want but I sure as hell can’t expect Chevy to cover the warranty after doing so. What is completely unrealistic is to expect a company to cover your whims on a warranty basis when you go outside of its intended and marketed use. This is not a case of say like Sony saying “you can run linux on it” and then revoking that ability.

            It’s a case of a company not warrantying human stupidity. Warranties protect against manufacturers defects when the device is used in it’s intended way. Warranties are not insurance policies.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 10 years ago

            And yet, Apple replaced it.

            Somehow, plugging an iPad in strikes me as just a slightly different scenario than deliberately doing something to increase heat levels, which are the only examples you cited.

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            Replacing equipment by a Tier 2 rep is nothing new or special. A tier 2 rep can basically do whatever they deem in best interests of Apple. If it means making an exception to the norm they have that authority. The very next agent may not have replaced it. It was done at the agents discretion. I know of cases where apple has replaced products that were delivered to the customer only to find out their dog chewed it to bits. Exceptions are made all the time by tier 2 for pretty much any reason and should never be taken as an admission of defect, guilt, negligence. He simply got the right agent on the right day.

      • sluggo
      • 10 years ago

      Nope. If you submit a device for UL listing, you have to be able to prove that under no circumstances will a burn or fire hazard result. Period, end of sentence. If it CAN result in a fire or burn hazard, you lose your UL approval, which is very, very bad. That’s why the Apple safety guy responded so quickly and why they wanted the unit back so badly.

      It ain’t supposed to happen, no matter what you do. Please stop posting this sort of rebuke, because it’s simply immaterial what software was loaded on the machine. It doesn’t matter, and UL doesn’t care.

        • Deanjo
        • 10 years ago

        Actually you have to be able to prove that it is built to the various ieee standards and it’s in compliance under expected normal use.

        Also FYI, a “Product Safety specialist” @ Apple is a regular Tier 2 rep (often a 3rd party outsource) reading off a safety script who ultimately decides if after a set flowchart of questions if it constitutes as a “Safety Risk”. Tier 1 reps are instructed upon hearing a “Safety” word to escalate it up to Tier 2 no matter the situation. Such words are “melt, fire, hot, cut, …” etc. The escalation isn’t so much that they worry about their UL status but to gather as much information as possible for potential personal injury suits. It does not also mean that you get coverage for the damage product. Apple will do however early “captures” of a product occasionally that get sent to engineering, especially when it is a new device to spot potential issues regardless if it is a defect or not or just another case of consumer stupidity.

        • NeelyCam
        • 10 years ago

        l[

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 10 years ago

          But its perfectly legal to jailbreak it, regardless of what Apple says about the warranty.

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            Jailbreaking is yes legal, warranty however does not cover jailbreaking. Same idea as buying a new car, ripping the engine apart on your own, putting aftermarket parts on it, and then asking the car manufacturer to warranty your doing. It ain’t gonna happen and nor should it in any fashion.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 10 years ago

            You keep making completely irrelevant comparisons. Jailbreaking an iPad has nothing to do with modifying a car.

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            And you keep making irrelevant comments about jailbreaking being legal.

          • sluggo
          • 10 years ago

          Which means absolutely nothing as it pertains to safety testing. Apple has to guarantee that the device cannot cause a burn hazard, /[

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 10 years ago

      He’s not overclocking it dude. Step out of the RDF, and into reality.

      • RealPjotr
      • 10 years ago

      Look, if you misuse something, it should still not risk killing you in a house fire! You can rest assure Apple knows they would get sued off their asses if their consumer devices cause fires, regardless of what software is run. It’s a public safety issue.

      This just makes the store behaviour appear extremely bad and dangerous.

      • Joel H.
      • 10 years ago

      When you overclock a CPU or GPU, you change the thermal profile and operating speed of the product. Jailbreaking an iPad doesn’t materially impact any aspect of the product related to its speed or reliability. In the absence of evidence proving that the jailbroken iPad somehow overheated due to a software issue, your claim that Jailbreak = Not Apple’s Fault is incorrect.

    • jdaven
    • 10 years ago

    What a happy ending! I’m genuinely glad everything worked out for your Forge.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 10 years ago

      Same here! Good job, Forge, for sticking this one out.

    • 5150
    • 10 years ago

    In other news, AAPL reads TR.

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