Apple has announced a recall of some older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units due to the fire risk posed by a tendency for the battery to overheat.

Repair and Replace Free

Apple is offering a recall and replacement program for units that were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 with the company offering to replace affected batteries, free of charge due to a potential battery fire risk.

Service options for affected customers include finding an Apple Authorized Service Provider (through the online tool), making an appointment at an Apple Retail Store, or contacting Apple Support to arrange mail-in service via the Apple Repair Centre.

Serial Number

The eligibility for the program is determined by the serial number product which can be checked on Apple’s website here:

https://support.apple.com/15-inch-macbook-pro-battery-recall

Second Time

This is the second time that this generation of MacBook Pro units has been recalled.  Back in June 2018 and after numerous complaints over two years and even an online petition by a customer, Apple decided to offer free repairs or replacements for the butterfly keyboard on its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops.  The petition from the time, which attracted over 21,000 signatures, claimed that every one of Apple’s MacBook Pro models, 13in and 15in, were sold with a keyboard that could become defective at any moment because of a design failure.  Apple responded by launching a program which meant that Apple or an Apple Authorised Service Provider could service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge.

Apple iPad Battery Gas Leak

To make things worse, in August 2018 the leaking of vapours from a damaged iPad battery led to an Amsterdam shop being evacuated and 3 staff being treated for breathing problems caused by the released gas. The fire brigade was called and attended, but there were no reports of any actual flames/fire coming from the affected iPad. Staff had, however, initially reacted to the smoking iPad by putting it in a sand-filled fire bucket. At the time, however, other online reports indicated that similar faults had occurred elsewhere since Apple had started its iPhone battery replacement programme.

Apple Adapter – Fire Risk

In May this year, Apple recalled two different types of plug adapter because of a possible risk of electric shock.  The affected plugs were the two-prong AC wall plug adapter that came with Macs and some iOS devices between 2003 and 2010, and the three prong plug that was included with Apple’s World Travel Adapter Kit.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This latest fire-risk recall appears to be part of pattern that could indicate that some Apple products/components/accessories have been released for sale despite having some potentially serious risks, but that the company (perhaps after some time has elapsed and complaints have been made) has made an effort to admit to risks and at least offer repair and replacement programs.

Apple is one of those brands however, that has built a strong reputation for products that are user-friendly, reliable, not prone to the security risks of PCs for example, and for products that look stylish.  As such the company has built a loyal base of fan-like supporters, many of whom are prepared to accept fire and electric shock risk hiccups, and carry on paying premium prices as they perceive the products to be worthy of their generally positive image and relatively high prices.

It is good to note that this product repair and replacement program was offered swiftly, but it is worrying that the same model has been the subject of two such recall programs to date.  Let’s hope it’s the last.