A Vodafone retail store in Canberra, Australia was reportedly evacuated earlier this week after an in-store demo iPad "exploded", filling the location with smoke and sparks, reports News.com.au. While no one was harmed during the incident, the iPad reportedly emitted the sparks from its charging port as firefighters were called to the scene to handle the situation. An Apple representative reportedly visited the scene afterwards to investigate the explosion, but Apple has not commented on the incident.
Interestingly, the report originally stated that the device was an iPad Air, but the article has since been revised to simply refer to it as an "iPad" and the device shown in the photo accompanying the article does not appear to have the narrower side bezels seen on the new iPad Air.
This is not the first time this year that an Apple product was accused of being a safety hazard, as a woman in China suffered eye injuries from her iPhone 5 after it exploded while she was on the phone this past August. Additionally, a Chinese man was left in a coma after receiving an electric shock while charging his iPhone 4 in July, which followed the death of a Chinese woman under similar circumstances.
Both latter incidents apparently involved the use of unauthorized third-party adapters, with Apple responding to the events by establishing an international third-party USB charger "Takeback Program" offering official replacement chargers for $10 to anyone who turns in a suspect adapter.
Apple began selling the iPad Air last Friday in over thirty countries through its official online store and at various other outlets.