Apple owns up to MacBook battery problems

Apple says batteries aren't perfect, but pose no risk

Apple last Friday acknowledged that some batteries in its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks aren't up to snuff, but said that they posed no safety risk.

The computer maker issued a firmware fix, dubbed Battery Update 1.2, that users should download and install to deal with problems such as the notebook not recognizing the battery or the battery not charging.

"Apple has recently discovered that some batteries used in its MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks may have battery performance issues," the company said in a statement. "The factors causing the performance issues do not present a safety risk. You may continue to use your current battery."

If the update does not solve a battery's problems, users are to contact Apple, which will determine if the battery will be replaced. At the same time, Apple extended the warranty for batteries in Core Duo MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks to two years.

MacBooks and MacBook Pros purchased from February 2006 to this month may be affected, Apple said.

Battery problems are nothing new for Apple. As long ago as May 2006 reports surfaced of failing MacBook Pro batteries, with Apple quietly replacing defective batteries. Last August, Apple recalled 1.8 million lithium-ion batteries made by Sony, part of a much larger recall of batteries used in notebooks sold by Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo Group and most recently, Acer America.

Nor is Apple the only operating system maker to unveil battery performance patches. Last May, Microsoft issued a fix to Windows XP to correct a power drain of batteries in Core Duo-equipped laptops.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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