A Chinese woman from Dalian named Li was left with a severely scratched cornea after her iPhone 5 overheated then exploded before she could end the call. The explosion happened after she took a 40-minute call from a friend and then tried to hang up. But the phone failed to respond when she tried to hit ‘end call’ and instead exploded, causing damage to the woman’s eye.
Li, who cannot open her inflamed and injured eye, told the Dalian Evening News that she had only had the iPhone since September. She said that it had been dropped once before, causing a small dent in the top right hand corner of the screen, which is also the same point where the phone exploded.
Li went on that she noticed that the phone had grown uncomfortably hot against her face, so she tried to hang up. But in doing so doing, she found the touchscreen would not respond. That was when it exploded, causing shrapnel-like particles to fly through the air, one of which hit Li in the eye, scratching her cornea.
This horrific occurrence is reminiscent of previous incidents with mobile phones, when a man from Hong Kong had purchased a Samsung Galaxy S4, which exploded, eventually causing his whole apartment to burn down. Further investigations into the incident sought to establish whether the owner of the phone had been using any third-party chargers, which has become a common occurrence. Where Apple is concerned, this is also something that the company is taking great pains to get across to its customers.
Ma Allun, a pretty 23-year old flight attendant, who previously worked with China Southern Airlines, tragically suffered a fatal electrocution when she answered her iPhone while it was still being charged. Her brother said that her iPhone and its accessories had been passed on to investigative authorities. Her sister, who posted a message on the Chinese micro-blogging network site Weibo, wrote, “I want to warn everyone else not to make phone calls when your mobile phone is recharging,” the Daily Mail reported. The sad and shocking part of all this is that Ma was said to have bought her iPhone from an official Apple store in the province of Xinjiang and had been using the genuine charger that came with the iPhone at the time when the tragedy struck. Apple released a statement saying, “We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the family… We will fully investigate and co-operate with authorities in this matter.”
But an ever-growing problem is continually emerging. One cannot knowingly ascertain as to whether they have purchased a genuine or cloned Apple product, unless they are proactive in their research for the tell-tell signs, when drawing comparisons to real and fake Apple products, so popular and in demand are their products in China, second only to the US. Merchants in China are now known to reproduce many high quality looking copy-cat Apple products, from laptops, to iPads and iPods and the skill involved makes it more and more difficult to differentiate between the fake and genuine article.
The Daily Mail also reported that in 2011, 22 counterfeit Apple stores alone were uncovered in the Chinese province of Kumming.
With regard to Ms Li, it is still unclear as to whether her phone was charged with one of these third-party chargers, but Apple’s after-sales service, after speaking with the Dalian Evening News, are now said to be conducting further investigations into the matter. Apple is also reported to have said that iPhone 5’s warranty does not tend to cover explosions, so Li cannot expect any compensation. However, if Li were found not to be using a third-party charger, this would be an extremely bad PR move on Apple’s part. As I write, my eye is constantly wandering over to my iPhone, checking for any small dents…
By Brucella Newman