Apple is “deeply saddened” this morning and promises to help with the investigation of 23-year-old Ma Ailun from Xinjiang. Ailun was allegedly electrocuted when she answered a call from her ringing iPhone 5 while it was charging.
The grieving sister of the victim took to social media and begged others to be careful when charging mobile devices. In 2008 Apple had to recall the power adapters for the iPhone 3G, after a small rash of “shock” incidents.
Ma Ailun was a young, much loved flight attendant with China Southern Airlines. She did what millions of customers do everyday. She went to charge her iPhone, during the charging process a call came in. Ailun answered it and was shocked, currently there is no information about the electrical shock or severity of burns the victim suffered. Apple immediately released a statement earlier today via e-mail vowing to help with the investigation,
“We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family. We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter.”
In 2008, Apple came under swift fire from consumers when the prongs of the wall charger of the iPhone 3G had a habit of breaking off when the adapter was removed from wall outlet. This created an electrical shockhazard. Apple claimed the instances were rare. Apple suggested all customers use the USB cable to their device for charging capabilities.
The immediate release of Apple’s statement this morning is for a reason. Earlier this year, 60 percent of the Chinese population were criticizing the Apple brand. This came after a revealing report from ‘China Central Television’ when Apple was accused of creating double standard warranties.
This report detailed that Apple was not providing the post-sales service and care provided to consumers in other countries. The warranty was reviewed and exposed on national television as Apple had implemented a separate policy when it came to, “repair and return services in China.”
Unfair business practices were tossed by the country’s news agency, Xinhauanet. They stated that Apple had limited consumers by providing, “shorter warranty periods compared with that of other countries,” and “the use of refurbished parts for repair and averting after-sale obligations.” In addition, the news outlet stated, “violations in China also extend to other products from the company such as its iPads.”
The result was ‘knock-offs’ in China that became widespread. A small manufacturer blossomed in China after the revealing report, with their creation of an Android phone that appeared to be very similar to the iPhone 5. The name of the phone? “Goophone i5s” selling for a reduced price of $150 to consumers. While the Chinese government lashed out against Apple for its practices, they said nothing about the duplicated patent of the iPhone 5.
Responding to the negative publicity in a country of over 1.3 billion people, Apple is aiming for reconciliation with its second largest market. (The U.S. being first). During that difficult time earlier this year, Apple aimed to please the Chinese government by removing a long-time app from the app store. The app provided access to books written by Chinese author Wang Lixiong, whose writings ate banned in the majority of China. Apple removed the app by stating the app included, “content that is illegal in China.”
Now, another grave mistake has occurred in China and this one could be devastating to Apple. A woman innocently charging her iPhone 5 is shocked to death when answering the phone. Apple’s commitment to helping during the investigation may make the difference in its second largest market.
Sources 1, 2