Cue the usual “Apple’s gadgets are hot property” puns and “so cool they’re burning up” jokes; two Apple devices have reportedly combusted or exploded, with the company allegedly requiring one owner to sign a gagging-agreement before paying out compensation. In Liverpool, UK, a teenage girl’s iPod touch exploded, having first hissed violently and increased in temperature, while in Leiden, Netherlands, an iPhone 3G caught fire and burnt through a car seat.
The iPod touch first “made a hissing noise” says Ken Stanborough, the father of the PMP’s teenage owner, before “getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”. After throwing the iPod out of his back door, “within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air.” The Dutch iPhone 3G was more contained, being locked inside a car at the time of its combustion; its owner returned to find the car filled with thick black smoke and with considerable damage to the seat the smartphone had been left on.
In both cases, Apple has refused to admit liability for the faults. However it did offer the Liverpool owner a £162 ($271) refund with the proviso that, in accepting it, those involved were to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, with the understanding that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties.” They did not sign the agreement, and thus have not been compensated.