Apple calms battery fears with $99 swap fee

When Apple announced a whle back that some of its laptop range would come with built-in batteries, Mac detractors have been complaining about the move.

The forthcoming iPad has also been criticised for its lack of a user-replaceable portable power source but, in all the brouhaha over the launch, Apple's policy on dead iPad batteries has been overlooked.

We're not sure if this is an admission on the Cupertino Company's account that the battery in the giant iPhone might not be up to much, or a display of swaggering confidence in the company's new battery technology, but it seems extraordinary that Apple is offering to swap your old iPad with a knackered battery for a brand new one.

According to the Apple support page, For a $99 'service fee', you can take your dead iPad into your local Apple store and get a brand spanking new one, as long as it hasn't been through the washing machine or been chewed by the dog.

For an extra $6.95 you can conduct the whole transaction by post if you don't live within travelling distance of one of Apple's sparkling temple's off fruit-flavoured consumerism.

You will, of course, lose all of the data on your swanky touch-screen device, but then as a good little Macolyte you will have regularly backed up your stuff using iTunes.

Apple reckons the whole transaction will take about a week via mail in the USA and we can expect to see a comparable level of service in the UK, once the device makes it across the pond.

No doubt third party suppliers will be offering replacement battery kits within days of the device's launch for half that price, but it seems like a no-brainer to us.

Now we'd like to see Apple extend the offer to cover its portable computer range... but we won't be holding our breath.