Apple sued over MagSafe risks

May 7, 2009 // 12:39 p.m.

Tags: #apple #lawsuit #magsafe #magsafe-adapter #magsafe-adaptor #magsafe-fire

Apple has found itself at the centre of yet another legal tussle – this time over allegations that its much-vaunted MagSafe power connector might pose a fire risk.

As reported over on PC World, the Cupertino-based company's clever MagSafe system – which uses magnetism to keep the DC power lead connected to the laptop, allowing it to quickly disconnect if someone should trip over the wire without yanking your MacBook off your lap – has come under fire (sorry) in the San Jose District Court for posing a hazard to its users.

To be fair to Apple, it's not the clever MagSafe technology itself which poses the problem: according to the complaint, it's where the cable connects to the MagSafe jack itself that can flex enough to “dangerously fray, [and emit] sparks” - shortly followed by the unit itself “prematurely [failing] to work” altogether.

The suit alleges that both the 60W and 85W versions of the power adaptor have been negligently designed and manufactured, and accuses Apple of being fully aware of the problem but steadfastly ignoring it – neither disclosing details regarding the issue or ceasing manufacturing and distribution of the affected devices.

There's at least some evidence for the claim that Apple is aware of the issue: the company's KnowledgeBase contains information on what to do should “the adapter's white insulation separates from the magnetic end of the MagSafe connector.” The suit also points to the almost overwhelmingly negative reviews the MagSafe PSU has received in the three years that Apple has been distributing the design.

The claimant asks that Apple provides a “safe, defect-free” MagSafe power supply to every US citizen that is affected by the issue – or, should that prove impossible for the company to arrange, that it instead refunds the full purchase price of the laptop to all members of the class.

Should Apple cough to the problems and sort out three years worth of power supply sales, or are people just not looking after their accessories as well as they should? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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