Apple Attempts to Silence Family of Exploding iPod with Gag Order

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Date: Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 04:51
Category: iPod, iPod Touch, News

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Recently, Apple Inc. attempted to silence a father and daughter with a gag order after the child’s iPod exploded and the family sought a refund from the company.

According to The Times, the company offered the family a full refund only on the condition that they were willing to sign a settlement form. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement.

The case mimics previous instances in which Apple attempted to hush up incidents when its devices overheated.

Ken Stanborough, 47, of Liverpool, dropped his 11-year-old daughter Ellie’s iPod Touch last month. “It made a hissing noise,” he said. “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”. Mr Stanborough said he threw the device out of his back door, where “within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10 feet in the air”.

Mr. Stanborough then contacted Apple and Argos, where he had bought the device for £162. After being passed around several departments, he spoke to an Apple executive on the telephone. As a result of the conversation, Apple sent a letter to Mr Stanborough denying liability but offering a refund.

The letter also stated that, in accepting the money, Mr Stanborough was to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”.

“I thought it was a very disturbing letter,” said Mr Stanborough, who is self-employed and works in electronic security. He refused to sign it.

“They’re putting a life sentence on myself, my daughter and Ellie’s mum, not to say anything to anyone. If we inadvertently did say anything, no matter what, they would take litigation against us. I thought that was absolutely appalling.

“We didn’t ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back,” he added.

Last week, reports surfaced that Apple had tried to keep a number of cases where its iPod digital music players had started to smoke, burst into flames and even burned their owners, out of the public eye.

An American reporter obtained 800 pages of documentation on the cases from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) following a Freedom of Information Act request in that country. However, she was unable to get hold of the documents for months after “Apple’s lawyers filed exemption after exemption”.

In those cases, CPSC investigators suggested that the iPods’ lithium ion batteries could be the source of the problem.

In 2006, Apple and Dell recalled millions of lithium ion batteries due to overheating problems in laptop computers causing fires. As of September last year, 173,000,000 iPods have been sold worldwide.

An Apple spokesman said that, as the company had not looked at the Stanboroughs’ damaged iPod, it could not comment. Representatives from Argos also refused to comment.

Apple Apparently Delaying iPod Fire Incident Report

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Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, 04:45
Category: iPod, News

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When one of your best selling products sort of starts catching fire, you might be hesitant to investigate it.

According to KIRO 7, a Seattle-based reporter says that Apple actively prevented her and others from learning the true scope of the safety hazard.

KIRO 7′s Amy Clancy claims that her seven-month search for data was repeatedly frustrated as Apple asked for Consumer Product Safety Commission reports to be exempted from the Freedom of Information Act, hiding them from public view.

The investigation began in November after one iPod shuffle owner was burned when the battery ignited during a run, burning her where the iPod was clipped on. The victim, Jamie Balderas, said she contacted Apple and provided photos as evidence but was purportedly dismissed by an AppleCare agent as encountering an “isolated incident” and that access to proof of previous incidents wasn’t an option. The mother of a child given a mild burn also says Apple phone representatives didn’t appear responsive to the problem.

Clancy searched on her own but submitted the FIA request after discovering the already widespread reports of iPod battery fires, which among other responses had prompted a Japanese government investigation.

When she finally received the requested information, Clancy was surprised at just how long Apple and the CPSC had been aware of problems: fires had been reported as long ago as 2005 and have been noted periodically ever since. The 800-page report had even already pinpointed the lithium-ion battery packs as the likely causes because of their occasional tendency to overheat, but despite the evidence, hadn’t led to a mandatory recall. Commission officials had determined that the the scarcity of incidents (just a handful compared to the 175 million iPods sold at the time) had made the risk of any injury, let alone any serious injuries, “very low.”

It also believed that newer batteries weren’t shown to be vulnerable to the same sort of overheating.

In the past, Apple began a voluntary replacement program last year for owners of first-generation iPod nanos, some of whose batteries were known to be defective, it hasn’t given recourse to owners of other iPod models affected by the problem, whether Balderas or a Cincinnati woman who just in March sued Apple for negligence in the wake of a second-generation iPod touch fire exhibiting similar symptoms.

Next-Gen iPod Artist’s Rendition Released, Unit May Include Onboard Camera

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Date: Wednesday, May 27th, 2009, 09:50
Category: iPod, iPod Nano, Rumor

Additional rumors have been flying about Apple’s plans to add an iPhone-like camera to its next generation iPods.
Per iLounge, the following is an artist’s rendition of what the 5th-generation iPod nano may look like:


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At first glance, the imaginary next-gen iPod looks pretty much the same as its predecessor, except for the wider screen ratio that stretches to 1.5:1 from 1:33:1.
The unit’s Click Wheel is slightly smaller and positioned a bit lower on the nano’s body, and a digital camera is placed at a seemingly awkward spot on the nano’s backside.
Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and let us know what you’d like to see on a next-generation iPod.

Mac Hacker Charlie Miller Locations Additional Security Hole in iPhone

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Date: Friday, April 17th, 2009, 07:33
Category: iPod, security

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Mac hacker Charlie Miller, a principal security analyst at Independent Security Evaluators and the winner of the the CanSecWest security conference hacking contest two years straight, has detailed his latest find wherein he was able to run shellcode on an iPhone.
According to Macworld UK, it was widely believed by many security researchers that it wasn’t possible to run shellcode on an iPhone. Shellcode is code that can run from a command line, but the iPhone was thought not to allow it for security reasons.
If pulled off correctly, shellcode allows users to perform malicious actions such as gaining access to a users text messages or call history from a remote location.
Earlier versions of the iPhone OS firmware didn’t have many protections to prevent people from tampering with its memory to run other commands, Miller said. But the latest version of the iPhone’s software strengthened the overall security of the phone, Miller said.
In his report, Miller detailed how he was able to trick the iPhone into running code which then enabled shellcode. To pull this off, Miller said he needed to have a working exploit for an iPhone and a means of targeting a vulnerability in the software such as the Safari web browser or the iPhone’s operating system.
Miller said he doesn’t have one now but stated that if someone did, “this would allow you to run whatever code you want,” Miller said in an interview after his presentation.
In 2007 Miller and some of his colleagues did find a vulnerability in mobile Safari that would allow an attacker to control the iPhone. Apple was immediately notified and later issued a patch for the problem.
Miller said he isn’t sure if Apple is aware of the latest issue and stopped short of calling the problem a vulnerability, saying instead that Apple engineers may have overlooked the issue. Apple also has never come out publicly and said it is impossible to run shellcode on an iPhone, he said.

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Japanese Developing Headphones Which Could Allow iPod to be Controlled by Facial Movements

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Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 08:58
Category: iPod

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iPod users may soon be able to adjust the volume of a song or flip between tracks via a motion of their head according to Macworld UK.
Per the article, Japanese researchers have developed a pair of headphones that use infrared sensors to interpret facial movements as a way of controlling a digital audio player.
“An iPod can start or stop music when the wearer sticks his tongue out, like in the famous Einstein picture.
If he opens his eyes wide, the machine skips to the next tune. A wink with the right eye makes it go back,” Kazuhiro Taniguchi from Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering Science told news agency AFP.
The headphones might be able to monitor the user’s mood and play a track to correspond with how the user is feeling at any given moment.
“It monitors natural movements of the face in everyday life and accumulates data. If it judges that you aren’t smiling enough, it may play a cheerful song.”
It is thought the headphones will be patented in Japan before being made available to the public in the next few years.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Two iPods and a Mic-ro-phone

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Date: Friday, August 24th, 2007, 11:43
Category: iPod


The iSpin is a mixer that uses two docked iPods as inputs, and provides a range of effects like reverb, flange, hi/low pass filter and scratching sounds. While this would be fine for some DJs, it won’t suit everyone because you can’t beat-match with it.

Two IPods?: iSpin ‘eTurntable’ Lets you DJ With iPods – Gizmodo

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Bexy Ships iMirror Wireless Remote for iPod

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Date: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007, 13:19
Category: iPod

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In other news, accessory manufacturer Bexy has shipped its iMirror wireless remote control docking station.
According to Electronista, the iMirror is designed to both play music as well as interact with the rest of an entertainment system. The user operates the iMirror via a remote control that controls both the iPod and surrounding components (such as a tv, speakers or receiver), the iMirror displaying information back via an LCD display.
Once docked for the first time, the iMirror will load the iPod’s title information to the remote control and allow for operation within a range of 150 feet.
The iMirror’s docking station is compatible with most dockable iPod models and features S-video, RCA stereo, and line-in inputs as well as an earphone jack and mini-USB port that allows for iTunes synchronization.
The iMirror retails for US$150 and will be on store shelves this September.
If you have any thoughts or feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Japanese Researchers Develop Teeth-Clench Interface for iPod

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Date: Tuesday, August 21st, 2007, 10:05
Category: iPod

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The click-wheel was pretty cool. And having a small extension on your headphones to flip between iPod tracks worked out nicely.
But life isn’t complete until clenching your teeth controls the music you’re listening to.
According to Yahoo News, Japanese researchers have developed a head gear system that uses a combination of infrared sensors and a microcomputer that lets the user choose iPod tracks by clenching their teeth. Once in place, the computer can interpret actions such as clenching one’s teeth for a second as a track selection, differentiating it from chewing or talking and work from there.
The development team, which is based out of state-run Osaka University, has stated that it hopes to put the device to commercial use and believes it can eventually be adapted to run cell phones, wheelchairs and other products. The device would allow for a completely hands-free system as well as allow disabled users access to a wider range of technologies.
Other possible uses for the device could include a click interface, such as users clenching their teeth to switch move between pages on a PowerPoint document.
No details have been provided as to when the device could come to market.
Cool idea and it’d be interesting to see this in action. If you have any ideas or feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Energizer to Release Energi To Go Systems for iPods

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Date: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 08:21
Category: iPod

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On Tuesday, battery maker Energizer announced this is would be bringing its Energi To Go power systems to dock-connecting iPods this fall.
According to Engadget, the Energi To Go Portable Power for iPod will be powered by a pair of AA batteries, sport a “flip design” that allows it to double as a stand and will feature a “patented intelligent control chip that maximizes power transfer to the iPod.”
Energizer has stated that the Energi To Go system will be able to provide “more than 46 hours” of power to an iPod Nano and “more than 32 hours” of power for an iPod video.
The device will retail for US$29.99 and include the charger as well as two complimentary Energizer e2 lithium AA batteries upon its release.
And no matter how well the device works, I still love that bunny…
If you have any ideas or feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.

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iPod Nano Battery Replacement a Snap

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Date: Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, 15:24
Category: iPod

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Rob’s iPod nano Timeline:

September 7, 2005- In an event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Steve Jobs introduces the iPod nano and the Motorola ROCKR to the world. Later that day, I drive to the Apple Store at King of Prussia and grab a black 8GB nano. My life is forever changed.

February, 2007 – After more than a year of heavy use, my nano has lost some of its original battery capacity (Apple claimed 14 hours) but is still providing several hours of enjoyment on a single charge.

July, 2007 – My nano’s battery is showing signs of failing as it now only lasts for a couple of hours on a fresh charge and will die overnight if left unplugged.

August, 2007 – I search online for iPod batteries and convince myself that I can do the surgery after seeing a very thorough instructional video from Newer Technology.

Click on the headline to read more about Rob’s battery installation…

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