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Apple iPad torched this guy’s home, lawsuit claims • The Register



A defective iPad sparked a house fire this time last year, a lawsuit filed against Apple has claimed.

The legal challenge [PDF] was filed this month in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and this week removed to a federal district court in east of that US state.

It is alleged “a fire erupted at the subject premises as a direct result of one or more defts and/or malfunction in the subject iPad related to the electrical/battery system in the [device].”

Allstate Insurance paid more than $142,000 to repair the fire damage to the Milford home of Michael Macaluso, and so now law firm de Luca Levine has been hired to sue Apple to reimburse the insurer for its payout.

The complaint contends Macaluso had not modified his iPad, misused, or altered it beyond anticipated handling and operation intended by Apple. The fire, it’s said, is the result of the “defective and unreasonably dangerous condition” of the iPad when it was sold.

The Register asked Apple for comment, and the iPad maker did not reply. Nor did an attorney representing Macaluso.

A similar lawsuit alleging wrongful death was filed against Apple in 2019 on behalf of plaintiff Julia Ireland Meo, a resident of New Jersey, whose father died in February, 2017, in an apartment fire said to have been started by an iPad’s faulty battery.


Apple sued over fondleslab death blaze: iPad battery blamed for deadly New Jersey apartment fire


The owner of the apartment complex where the fire occurred, Union Management, through its insurance company Greater New York Mutual, subsequently filed a second lawsuit against Apple seeking to recoup its payout. The New Jersey iPad lawsuits are still being litigated and remain unresolved.

Apple’s iPhone has also been accused of starting unwanted fires. In 2017, insurer State Farm and client Xai Thao, a resident of Wisconsin, sued Apple alleging that the iPhone 4s had a defective battery.

That case, which had been approved for discovery and a trial scheduled for February, 2019, was dismissed in December, 2018. This was done by mutual agreement of both parties with each side bearing its own court costs, a denouement that often means an undisclosed settlement has been reached.

There have been other iPhone fire claims as well.

Also, other hardware makers have experienced similar issues, notably Samsung and its Galaxy Note 7 device, which in 2016 managed to get banned from airplanes due to its proclivity for combustion.

Lithium-ion batteries are known to be more volatile than most would prefer. ®

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2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures | Technology



The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.

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With Alphabet’s legendary commitment to products, we can’t wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves • The Register



Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.

Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.

This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.

“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.

“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”

Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.

She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.

“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.

The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®

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Charles River to create 90 new jobs at Ballina biologics site



Charles River is expanding its testing capabilities in Ballina as part of its partnership with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.

Contract research organisation Charles River Laboratories is planning an €8m site expansion in Ballina to facilitate batch release testing for Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.

The expansion at the Mayo site will create an additional 1,500 sq m of lab space and 90 highly skilled jobs in the area over the next three years.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

The company provides longstanding partners AstraZeneca with outsourced regulated safety and development support on a range of treatments and vaccines, including testing and facilitating the deployment of Vaxzevria for Covid-19 and Fluenz for seasonal infleunza.

The latest investment follows earlier expansions at the Ballina site and Charles River recently announced plans to establish a dedicated laboratory space to handle testing of SARS-CoV-2 and other similar pathogens that cause human disease.

“We are incredibly proud of the transformational changes we have implemented on site and the role that Charles River has played in supporting the safe and timely roll-out of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine,” said Liam McHale, site director for Charles River Ballina.

“Throughout the pandemic, our site remained fully operational while keeping our employees safe and having a positive impact on human health. Our expanded facility will provide us with the increased capacity needed to continue the essential services we provide to our clients.”

Charles River acquired the Ballina facility, which focuses on biologics testing, in 2002. The company employs 230 people at its two facilities in Ireland, including the Mayo site and a site in Dublin, established in 2017, which serves as the EMEA and APAC headquarters for the company’s microbial solutions division.

IDA Ireland is supporting the expansion. Mary Buckley, executive director of the agency, said Charles River is an “employer of long standing” in Co Mayo.

“The enhancement of its product lines and the development of additional capability at the Ballina facility is most welcome,” she added. “Today’s announcement is strongly aligned to IDA Ireland’s regional pillar and its continued commitment to winning jobs and investment in regional locations.”

Dan Wygal, country president for AstraZeneca Ireland, added: “Our Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, undergoes extremely robust safety and quality testing prior to becoming available for patients. We are committed to bringing safe, effective vaccines to Ireland and other markets as quickly as possible, and Charles River will continue to be an important partner in this regard.”

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