Apple's Japanese arm has received instructions from the Japanese trade ministry that it is to investigate increasingly common reports of an iPod Nano fire risk.
The case of the spontaneously combusting Nano which has the ministry concerned occurred in January of this year just outside Tokyo, and was caused when the unit – a first-generation Nano with the model number MA099J/A – shorted while charging. The sparks generated by the short were enough to cause the lithium battery to ignite.
Despite the incident occurring in January, the news from the ministry is that Apple has only just informed officials about the incident. The Tokyo fire joins other cases of flammable Nano units including an Atlanta man
whose Nano ignited while in his pocket in October last year, an Australian unit
which self-destructed in April, and the case of a trainer fanatic
whose Nano tried to toast him during the night.
These dramatic incidents join other reports circulating the web of the in-built lithium battery in the Nano bulging, leaking, and even overheating enough to partially melt. When contacted regarding this issue, the only advice Apple customer services were able to offer was to remove the Nano from any carry case during charging, to prevent overheating.
The Japanese trade ministry will be keen to see Apple investigate these incidents more thoroughly, although there is currently nothing to indicate that a recall is on the cards. Nevertheless, with the incidents being dispersed over a wide geographic area the problem would seem to be a design or construction flaw rather than a bad batch of batteries.
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