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Vodaphone: That Exploding iPad Air Wasn’t an iPad Air

Here’s anIMG_7859 example of why you should always go back and read the original source, and that goes double if one of the intermediate sources is the Daily Mail.

A spokesperson for the Australian branch of Vodaphone has released a statement tonight about the iPad that exploded in a Canberra Vodaphone store last week.  “It was an earlier generation iPad with Retina display model — not one of the more recently launched devices. Apple is investigating the cause,” a Vodafone Australia spokesperson told Mashable.

I’m not really sure the fact that the exploding iPad Air wasn’t an iPad Air really qualifies as news. After all, the original report didn’t include that detail; it was invented in a second-hand story in order to give the story a higher clickbait value (and it worked).

As you probably remember, 2 days ago an explosive story spread across the web that an iPad Air exploded in the store, with the Daily Mail the first to label it an iPad Air. Almost the entire blogosphere repeated the story, including such eye-catching details that the tablet "exploded in flames" and that "the fire brigade had to be called in".

I didn’t cover the story myself because my post devolved into a report on Google’s Project Goat having its first success in field trials (I didn’t think anyone would appreciate or get the joke), but I did take the time to go find the original source and confirm the story. originally broke the story and funnily enough they didn’t say that the device that exploded was an iPad Air. They simply identified it as an iPad, and they shared this photo of what they said was the former iPad:


Do you see how the bezels are more or less the same width all the way around the device? That alone tells us that this wasn’t an iPad Air; Apple’s newest tablet has thinner bezels on the left and right side of the screen.

I’m not even sure that is an iPad at all (even though a Vodaphone rep said so); I don’t see any recognizable details that remind me of that tablet. Of course, it is charred and the photo is low resolution, so it’s entirely possible that the damage is so bad that we cannot recognize it.

But never mind the image; I think the more important story here is that one should always look for confirmation before believing any story.

I initially didn’t believe the story simply because many blogs were citing a UK tabloid that is infamous for its lack of accuracy. After the Daily Mail was caught last year having invented a story about Bruce Willis wanting to leave his digital music collection to his kids, I tended to assume they were writing fiction until proven otherwise. It’s simply safer that way, IMO.

Sure, Apple has had a growing reputation of late for exploding power supplies, but for all we know the coverage could be blowing things out of proportion. There have been a double handful of exploding power supply stories over the past year, and that is an incredibly small percentage of the hundreds of millions of iThings currently in use.

In the absence of any comparable data from other device makers I think it best to take the percentage at face value, and ignore the attention getting headlines.

Who’s with me?

image by benwatts

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WT Sharpe November 10, 2013 um 9:10 pm

You have the same low regard for the Daily Mail as I have. I recently commented on it’s "accuracy" in a MobileRead post where it was used by another member to source a rather fantastic sounding claim.

fjtorres November 10, 2013 um 10:53 pm

Right now all pre-web media is by default suspect. Between their fading economics making them sloppy, declining audiences pressuring them to become sensasionalistic and put narrative over accuracy, they’ve all devolved into biased rumormongers. None is above suspicion.

Nate Hoffelder November 10, 2013 um 11:41 pm

" they’ve all devolved into biased rumormongers"

And how does that separate them from the tech blogosphere, exactly?

fjtorres November 11, 2013 um 6:32 am

The tech blogosphere doesn’t pretend to be "purveyors of truth".
Not even the snottiest of blog sites pretends to be "the paper of record".

Nate Hoffelder November 12, 2013 um 7:22 am

I wouldn’t say that it is a low regard; I just note the facts and go from there.

ang phet November 11, 2013 um 1:59 am

Haha here comes apple and their paid trolls making damage control to a cheap generic product yet rebranded into apple and sold at a shockingly overpriced garbage. But a a garbage is a garbage hence KABOOOOOOMMMM.

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