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Apple responds to electrocution threat

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Sept. 12, 2012: Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Apple is responding to reports of electrocutions related to third-party and counterfeit USB power adapters with a new takeback program that will allow users to purchase official chargers at a significantly reduced price.

The announcement follows two separate incidents, both taking place in China, of individuals being electrocuted while charging their iPhones.

The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program, which begins on Aug. 16 in the U.S., will allow users who have concerns about any of their third-party USB power adapters to drop them off at an Apple store or Apple authorized service provider. In exchange, Apple will provide users with replacement adapters for their iPhones, iPads and iPods for $10.

A standard iPhone 5W USB power adapter and iPad with Retina Display 12W USB power adapter each cost $19.

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In order for users to qualify, they must turn in at least one adapter and bring their iPhone, iPad or iPod with them to the store to have the device's serial number validated. Apple is limiting the offer to one adapter per device. The program ends on Oct. 18. In its statement, Apple says its employees will be unable to advise customers on the authenticity of any power adapters they may have concerns about. So, don't expect your store's Genius to tell you whether or not your third-party adapter is safe.

The Takeback program follows the electrocution of two individuals, both of whom were suspected to have been using counterfeit or third-party power adapters. In the first incident, a young woman was electrocuted and killed after she used her iPhone 5 while it was charging. In the second, a man lapsed into a coma when he was shocked by his iPhone 4, which was being charged with a counterfeit power adapter.

Apple has set up a website outlining how users can identify their USB power adapters and which charger should be used with which device.