Apple to Replace USB Power Adapters

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), its stock and brand in trouble, continues to try to do whatever it can to keep its customers happy. The company says that some “counterfeit and third party adapters” may be dangerous and that it will replace them with Apple adapters for $10. Perhaps Apple should not charge for the replacements at all. The announcement makes Apple look as cheap as its stock is.

In a blog post at the Apple website, the company reports:

If you need a replacement adapter to charge your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, we recommend getting an Apple USB power adapter. For a limited time, you can purchase one Apple USB power adapter at a special price — $10 USD or approximate equivalent in local currency. To qualify, you must turn in at least one USB power adapter and bring your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to an Apple Retail Store or participating Apple Authorized Service Provider for serial number validation.

Bring in the one that may not be safe and we will help you, for a price, Apple is saying.

Apple does have an alternative. Although it would cost the company money, it would buy a great deal of good will. Apple was widely attacked for the new charger for the iPhone 5. Gizmodo wrote when the new iPhone was introduced that:

No one has been particularly pleased about how the iPhone 5 is going to need adapters for old peripherals, or about how those adapters are so damned expensive.

Gizmodo even suggested that customers could use alternatives — “the knock-offs have arrived.” Apparently, among the introduction of these alternative chargers, for both the iPhone 5 and other devices, Apple realized the consumer search for cheaper products had a negative side effect — safety issues. So, Apple reacted with its new program, although oddly it does not begin right away:

Starting August 16, 2013, if you have concerns about any of your USB power adapters, you can drop them off at an Apple Retail Store or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. We will ensure that these adapters are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

The $10 replacement price will give Apple customers, and the media, another reason to criticize the company. It would have been better for Apple to exchange the adapters for free. Apple can afford it, particularly as a trade-off to maintain the value of its reputation.