A UK woman was simply walking down the street when her new iPhone exploded in flames in her jacket pocket. Was she walking wrong?
You’re holding it wrong was essentially the statement made by Apple during the great Antennae Gate crisis of the iPhone 4. Basically, the phone was losing reception and dropping calls because people were holding the iPhone as they would a phone. And that was wrong.
As much as those words have turned into a joke, with literally every issue affecting the iPhone or Apple products resulting in commentary from bloggers (myself included) of “you’re doing something wrong”, there’s a point where it stops being funny. It stops being funny when the actual response of Apple in everyone of these cases, is to blame the consumer. No, exploding phones are not a problem of design or engineering. It is not due to the phone being so thin, and made of a malleable metal, that the explosive lithium ion battery inside cannot be properly protected. No, the problem is that a user dropped their phone. The problem is that a user put their phone in their pocket. The problem is that a user, after doing something all people do, didn’t immediately stop using that phone and rush down to buy a replacement. Or so Apple thinks.
Realistically though, no consumer would expect that reaction. Indeed, most don’t recognize this is precisely what is taking place. Everyday I speak to iPhone users that will readily laugh at the exploding Samsung Note 7, and then follow up their jests with “they should have bought an iPhone”. They never stop to discover, and realize, that the iPhone has been exploding more consistently, and through more models, than Samsung could ever dream. Yes, Samsung had an exploding phone, and it has cost them billions. The iPhone continues to explode model after model, and all it costs them are replacement phones to the victims of the explosion.
Something is just not right here.
And something was not right in the UK in November when 26 year old Antonia Gallagher was simply walking down the street when her iPhone 6 erupted in flames in her jacket pocket. Due to the heat, she was unable to remove the phone from the jacket pocket until the explosive flames had petered out. Luckily, this happened in outerwear and not something a little closer to her skin, as has happened to other victims of exploding iPhones.
“The phone doesn’t work at all now. I was petrified – imagine if I was on the phone and it exploded in my face.”
Or if it was in your pants pocket when it exploded, and you ended up needing skin grafts to repair the burns left by the device?
“Or my little sister plays with my phone sometimes and it could have exploded in her hands.”
You’re thinking of others. That’s a good thing. Will Apple?
“It was so weird. How could this happen? I don’t get how it could have happened.”
Quite honestly, Ms. Gallagher, it happened because it keeps happening, and no one is held liable. Apple is “investigating the matter”, and if this investigation concludes like previous investigations, Apple will state the phone exploded due to misuse by Ms. Gallagher, and offer her a replacement phone. Let’s be clear, a consumer product should not threaten the safety of a consumer through normal use. The only blame that lays at the feet of Gallagher is for not researching her purchase, sadly though, the majority of these explosive stories remain hidden in mainstream media, with most iPhone stories reading like an advertisement.
How many explosions, how many injuries, before this pattern is broken?