Apple has been using Liquid Contact Indicators(LCI) in practically all of their devices for as long as I can remember, but it looks like with the iPad 2 they’ve stopped using them.
This makes sense because these sensors have not been all that reliable and subject to a lot of false positives from something as mundane as sweat. In 2009 this was a big news topic that I covered for CNET and I spoke to local Channel 2 news in Houston, Texas about complaints they had received from iPhone users. Even CNN had something to say about it.
It was so easy to trip these sensors that there was even a lawsuit over it.
The new MacBook Air has the highest number of liquid contact indicators, or LCIs, of any Apple product yet… little stickers that tell a Genius if it’s okay to deny you service on your broken gadget because you dropped it in the drink.
LCIs have always been troubling, since they tend to trigger by humidity alone, making Apple gadgets a risky investment for those who live in the tropics. Apple’s actually been sued about false LCI reports, so the fact that the new Air had so many of them was particularly worrisome: it seemed like Apple was just chomping at the bit to deny you service on the notoriously hard-to-service Air.
However, things may not be as clearly conspiratorial as that.