Listen up, MacBook users, Apple has just issued a recall on its USB-C charge cables. Apple is recalling a "limited number" of the cables that came with its MacBooks. If you bought your computer before June 2015, you may have experienced -- or may soon experience -- a failure.
The tech giant is blaming a design issue for a problem that causes MacBooks to either not charge or charge intermittently when connected to a power adapter with a faulty cable.
Apple said it would provide new USB-C charger cables free to eligible customers, including those who received their cables when they purchased their MacBooks and those who bought the cables as accessories. The recall targets cables stamped with "Designed by Apple in California," according to Apple. By contrast, newer cables designed to fix the flaw include a serial number after that text.
The Real Issue To Watch
Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group, offered some keen observations on the recall. He told us these cables came with MacBooks -- not iPhones -- which means the penetration is likely pretty low. That makes a high profile lawsuit or a competitor marketing effort criticizing Apple for the issue relatively unlikely, he said.
"Given that this won't get much visibility and there are no reported safety issues Apple should weather this minor storm without much difficulty," Enderle said. "To have an impact you need large numbers of folks impacted and/or some kind of major safety issue and neither seems to be the case here."
That said, Apple may not be out of the legal woods yet. Industry watchers like Enderle are keeping en eye on lithium-ion batteries.
"Someone is likely to get hit by lithium-ion batteries again in the next few months, given the renewed FAA concerns and the tendency of government to first ignore and then overreact to problems like battery fires on plane," Enderle said.
Apple's Recall Streak
Lenovo and HP issued massive lithium-ion battery recalls in 2015, as did Apple in 2006 and 2013. But Apple is on a recall streak. In January, Apple announced an AC wall adapter recall. The adapters were designed for use in Continental Europe, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Korea.
"In very rare cases, affected Apple two-prong wall plug adapters may break and create a risk of electrical shock if touched," Apple said last month. "These wall plug adapters shipped with Mac and certain iOS devices between 2003 and 2015 and were also included in the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. Apple is aware of 12 incidents worldwide."
In 2013, Apple launched an official investigation into a Chinese woman's untimely death. A twenty-three year old named Ma Ailun was reportedly electrocuted while answering a call as the phone was charging, Xinhua news reported.
Image Credit: USB-C charger cable images via Apple.