I was among the many people affected by the late Steve Job’s reality distortion field on the day he introduced the original iPod nano. Fortunately I still had mine kicking around in a drawer this past weekend when I got an email from Apple, unsolicited, saying they thought they should give me a new iPod nano because mine has a battery that might do odd things like bursting into flames.
I found it, entered the serial number in a form and it was confirmed that my nano, ordered before the reality distortion field had worn off, was within the range of serial numbers affected by this recall.
Speaking of batteries bursting into flames, a federal agency used a Chevrolet Volt in a side crash test, and 3 weeks later the car burst into flames, a la battery fire. GM has responded that the instructions for handling their electric car include a procedure to discharge the high power battery after a collision like the deliberate crash test. If the feds had drained the battery pack as instructed the car would not have burst into flames.
Bursting into flames is arguably the worst possible failure mode for a battery. I respect the fact that Apple took the initiative in their case, and in the case of the Chevy Volt it highlights the importance of emergency response personnel knowing about the special handling for hybrids like the Volt or all-electric cars.
Battery packs bursting into flames will likely become a more serious problem as we are surrounded increasingly with more and larger battery systems.