Aug. 6, 2013 — -- Apple is urging customers to use its official charger adapters, after reports last month that a woman in China was using a third-party iPhone charger when was she electrocuted.
The company will start a "takeback" program Aug. 16, when it will accept any third-party USB power adapter made for the iPhone, iPad or iPod and replace it with an Apple adapter for $10.
The 5W and 12W USB power adapters usually retail for $19 at Apple stores.
"Customer safety is a top priority at Apple and we're offering the takeback program for any USB power adapter made for use with iPhone, iPad and iPod which a customer might be concerned about," Apple said in a statement. "Customers can drop off their USB power adapter at an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider and buy a replacement Apple USB power adapter for just $10."
Apple has also launched a website with the details of the USB Power Adapter Takeback Program. The program will be available at Apple retail stores and Apple authorized service providers and the third-party chargers will be disposed of in an "environmentally friendly way," the company said.
The $10 offer on the adapters is limited to one adapter for each iPhone, iPad or iPod you own and is valid until Oct. 18, 2013.
While Apple says the program is in response to recent safety issues, the story of Ma Ailun, a Chinese woman who picked up her iPhone 5 to answer a call while the battery was charging and was electrocuted received worldwide attention. According to China news outlet Xinhaunet,
Ailun, 23, was using the original charger to charge the phone. But the South China Morning Post reported that a knockoff charger was being used.
There were also reports of a second incident in which a man using an iPhone 4 and a third-party charger was hospitalized in Beijing.
Experts say that the third-party chargers might have lower-quality parts and skimp on the quality of the circuitry and the capacitors. "It's hard to tell what could have been the cause without more details, but there is a possibility it could be the wiring in the charger itself," Donald Johnson, a Wyoming engineer who deals with stray-voltage and electrocution investigations, told ABC News.
In China specifically, Apple has launched a website to help users identify whether they are using an official iPhone, iPod or iPad adapter.