iPad Catches Fire in Australia

Some products are hot. Others, on fire. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) has both, and that's not necessarily a good thing.

Early reports had a demo version of the Mac maker's new iPad Air sparking and exploding in a Vodafone store in Canberra, Australia. Mashable has since confirmed that the device in question was not, in fact, an Air but an older model iPad.

"It was an earlier generation iPad with Retina display model -- not one of the more recently launched devices. Apple is investigating the cause," a Vodafone Australia spokesperson told reporter Adario Strange.

That's good, right? Sure, but let's also remember that we're still talking about an Apple product exuding  a "burst of flames." Shoppers will rightly question what went wrong, and that ensuing investigation could crimp sales. A lot depends on the PR fallout.

Just ask Elon Musk. Tesla Motors has endured (count 'em) three Model S fires in recent weeks. Yet the backlash has proven minimal. Why? Owners are stepping up to defend Tesla. One even went so far as to claim his now-charred Model S saved his life. Apple may not be so lucky.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that a fire brigade was called in after the Vodafone store filled with smoke. No one was injured in the incident, and Apple has since taken the device for investigation, the paper said.

More troubling is than the incident itself, I think, is the context. Apple endured criticism when tests revealed that the third-generation iPad ran significantly hotter than its predecessors. Why so hot? Speculation at the time suggested that a larger battery and power-hungry graphics created the conditions for overheating, especially when used for graphics-intensive gaming. Vodafone has yet to confirm which model iPad was engulfed in the fire.

Also, remember that Apple redesigned the battery pack for the Air. Two 32.9Wh cells versus three 42.5Wh cells in earlier-generation tablets, according to TechRepublic. The Air's more efficient design is said to require less power, which should mean less heat and fewer fireworks of the sort witnessed in Canberra.

Of course, we won't know more till Apple reveals the results of its tests (if it ever does). Should investors be concerned in the meantime? If we were talking about the Air, definitely. Since we're not -- and because we've known for more than a year that newer Retina iPads can be a scorcher -- there's little reason to believe this incident will take a toll on Apple's tablet sales.

Do you agree? Have you endured problems with a prior-generation Retina iPad? Leave a comment below to let us know where you stand.

Got iPad?
Apple's newest iPad Mini with Retina display might be hard to come by this quarter, given all the reports of supply constraints. Well, we're going to be sure to get a few -- and give them away! That's right: For the first time ever, The Motley Fool is hosting a contest where you can win a free iPad Mini with Retina display. All you have to do is tell us why you love The Motley Fool by clicking here! We'll pick the three most Foolish submissions to receive a free iPad Mini with Retina display.

See full terms and conditions by clicking here


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 2721872, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 4/17/2014 8:46:52 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement