Apple settles US MagSafe class-action suit

Apple has chosen to settle a class action lawsuit brought about by victims of its self-destructing MagSafe connectors, offering a cash payout to US customers with affected systems.

As any Apple fan knows, the original T-shaped MagSafe connector wasn't the most robust of items: the cable beyond the ineffective strain relief would frequently fray, either breaking the cable or - more worryingly - leaving wires exposed and creating a serious risk of sparks and even fire.

Although originally denying any design issues and claiming the fraying was due to abuse and misuse, Apple has now decided to settle a class action suit brought against it in 2009 regarding the failure of 60W and 85W MagSafe MPM-1 power adapters.

In doing so, it is keen to point out, it is in no way admitting that it did anything wrong or - heaven forfend - sacrificed usability and durability for stylish industrial design.

"The lawsuit claimed that the 60W or 85W MagSafe MPM-1 ('T') Power Adapter is defective in that it 'dangerously frays, sparks and prematurely fails to work,' and that Apple engaged in misrepresentations regarding the Adapter," the settlement's official website explains. "Apple denies all allegations and has asserted many defenses. The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing."

Despite not being an admission of wrongdoing, the settlement offers members of the class - all US residents who can prove they are the original owners of an Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro with an affected adapter - a cash payout in exchange for giving up the right to sue Apple in the future.

Those claiming in the first year's ownership of an affected device - whether supplied with a new MacBook or MacBook Pro or purchase separately as a replacement - will be given the cost of a replacement adapter, not to exceed $79. Those claiming in the second year will see that figure drop to $50, while the third year it's $35.

Apple is also placing a restriction on the number of claims an individual can make: no matter how many replacement power supplies you purchased, no more than three refunds will be made per 'subject computer'.

Claim forms, plus more details about the settlement - which has yet to be formally accepted by the court - are available on the official website. Thus far, Apple has not responded to our query as to whether there will be a similar refund programme for UK customers suffering from the same design flaw.