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Apple is investigating media reports of at least one iPhone exploding, a claim which does not stretch far from similarly reported iPod cases.

Media reports claiming that one or more iPhones have exploded in Europe have led Apple to investigate, according to Reuters.  

One such report includes the case of an 18-year-old iPhone user in France who claims to have heard a hissing noise coming from his girlfriend’s iPhone before it shattered. The teenager reportedly suffered minimal injuries from the incident, which resulted in his eye being struck by a piece of iPhone glass, as reported by Google.

Helen Kearns, European Commission Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs, explained the following at a news briefing: "Apple has come back to us ... and what they've said to us is that they consider these are isolated incidents. They don't consider that there's a general problem."

"They're trying to get more information on the specific details of those incidents, and they will do tests as necessary to investigate the possible cause," Kearns added.

Although the current media reports share a small amount of explosion cases for the iPhone, numerous similar cases have been reported by users of the iPod. According to Google, in late July, Seattle-based television news station KIRO reported that an “alarming number” of iPods had “suddenly burst into flames and smoke, injuring people and damaging property."

KIRO reported on the existence of some 800 pages of iPod-specific documents that included details on 15 burn and fire-related incidents - none of which were serious - reportedly caused by iPods. The Consumer Product Safety Commission pointed out that this number of incident claims existed as low compared to the significantly large amount of the millions of iPods that have been sold.

KIRO eventually concluded that overheated lithium ion batteries appeared to be the main cause of these issues. After Apple implemented new battery technology, incident claims lessened.

As for the case of exploding iPhone claims, a spokesman for Apple Europe Ltd. explained that Apple is aware of the media reports: "We are waiting to receive the iPhones from the customers. Until we have the full details, we don't have anything further to add."

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Deviant behavior
By 3minence on 8/19/2009 9:21:14 AM , Rating: 5
If you make enough of something, you will have the occasional defective unit. The trick is to minimize as much as possible the number of defective units. The problem is not that Apple occasionally have defective units, the problem is how Apple deals with it. "We'll replace the unit only if you don't tell the media" is not the way to build trust. It only builds suspicion.

Problems occur. Apologize, fix what was broken, then move forward.

RE: Deviant behavior
By 3minence on 8/19/2009 9:22:05 AM , Rating: 5
Sorry for the double post. My kingdom for an edit button.

RE: Deviant behavior
By Digimonkey on 8/19/2009 9:32:05 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that Apple loses face when doing that. Admitting a device of theirs has issues throws out the whole argument of "You should buy apple because our stuff just works".

However I agree that the way they went about handling this at first just exacerbated the whole issue. You still can't shrug it off and say defective units happen sometimes because if they are truly melting down like the descriptions say, then this could cause personal injury or property damage. Which is a lot worse then just seeing flashing lights and having a dead device.

RE: Deviant behavior
By fownde on 8/19/2009 9:54:12 AM , Rating: 3
Wait... Apples products work too? I thought people only bought them because they were "cool"...

RE: Deviant behavior
By Oralen on 8/20/09, Rating: -1
RE: Deviant behavior
By petschska on 8/19/2009 10:02:26 AM , Rating: 5
While I agree that with any product there will be some defective units, one of the most important things you can do is make your products that may fail, fail in a method that is safe. These incidents could be a direct result of Apple's removal of brominated flame retardants from their devices for their eco-friendly image. There's a lesson here that eco-friendly doesn't always result in the safest products.

RE: Deviant behavior
By Motoman on 8/19/2009 10:32:49 AM , Rating: 2
...this is what bothers me about it. For all the millions of iThings that Apple shifts, there are most certainly going to be defective ones, just because. don't see other brands of similar devices "exploding." Sure, other brands have their statistically-appropriate failure rates...but they don't actually blow up.

RE: Deviant behavior
By sebmel on 8/19/09, Rating: -1
RE: Deviant behavior
By Motoman on 8/19/2009 10:59:36 AM , Rating: 2 missed the part where I said "similar devices." We all know about the Dell, Sony, and other laptops blowing up. What we haven't seen is other cellphones/smartphones/mp3 players exploding.

RE: Deviant behavior
By sebmel on 8/19/09, Rating: -1
RE: Deviant behavior
By sigmatau on 8/19/2009 3:22:42 PM , Rating: 2
I can put explode + any-made-u-pword in Google and get a million hits. Who cares?

Since you still have missed the point let me clarify.

You don't hear of Blackberries, Nokia, Motorolas, Zunes, any-other-mp3, digital cameras, etc., etc. blowing up due to an occasional defect.

Only Apple has this feature.

RE: Deviant behavior
By Yawgm0th on 8/21/2009 2:21:00 PM , Rating: 2
I can put explode + any-made-u-pword in Google and get a million hits. Who cares?
Exploding Chupacabra only seems to get me 116,000 hits.

Only Apple has this feature.
Brilliant! Apple should write it off as a feature.

3G Connectivity
Multitouch Touchscreen
Safari Web Browser
Spontaneous Combustion

RE: Deviant behavior
By Sazar on 8/19/2009 11:05:42 AM , Rating: 2
Thing is, those battery issues were all traced back to Sony and Sony is the company that has borne the brunt of the losses from offering up replacements for all the major integrators.

Dell was the first company to setup the replacement plan, HP, Apple and others jumped on afterwards and all was good in the land of the un-exploded mobile notebook products.

RE: Deviant behavior
By ClownPuncher on 8/19/2009 11:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, making fertilizer out of "eploded" customers is about as "green" as you can get.

RE: Deviant behavior
By ralith on 8/19/2009 10:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
I agree they will have "the occasional defective unit", but they should've designed the thing to fail gracefully during a catastophic hardware failure (bad cap, battery melt down etc). They should know the failure modes of the hardware they put in it, and check that their design doesn't conflict with them. It apparently does in some way or they would just have melted phones instead of exploding phones.

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