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Apple: external pressure caused iPhones to shatter

updated 06:30 pm EDT, Fri August 28, 2009

Apple investigates iPhones

While some European government agencies continue to investigate claims of exploding iPhones, Apple is saying that some of the returned phones with shattered screens were due to pressure applied by external forces. According to a new report, the company claims that iPhones turned in by customers with shattered screens were the result of external pressures rather than an explosion. Bloomberg, however, notes that Apple is continuing to investigate reports by customers across Europe that their iPhone "overheated and burned them, and in some cases exploded."

The report also indicates that Apple has asked customers to turn in the devices in question so they can be studied further.

"In all cases the glass cracked due to an external force that was applied to the iPhone," a London-based spokesman for Apple Europe told the publication. "There are no confirmed battery overheating incidents for iPhone 3GS and the number of reports we are investigating is in the single digits."

French Trade Minister Herve Novelli on Friday met in Paris with Apple's French marketing director Michel Coulomb about an investigation by the country's consumer protection agency into the iPhone "implosions," according to a statement from the Finance Ministry obtained by Bloomberg. Although the agency declined to comment, the pair were set to discuss a series of incidents, in which the touchscreens on several iPhones allegedly shattered with no obvious cause. At least two such cases have been confirmed, which in both circumstances injured device owners with flying glass; a number of similar iPod incidents have also been reported.

The minister is acting in response to consumer affairs/anti-fraud directorate's request for details.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Implosions? Not likely

    Take note of this remark: 'French Trade Minister Herve Novelli on Friday met in Paris with Apple’s French marketing director Michel Coulomb about an investigation by the country’s consumer protection agency into the iPhone “implosions,”'

    Note his use of 'implosions." Maybe it's just a mistranslation or maybe he misspoke, but it is a strange term to use.

    An explosion is relatively easy to generate. Just create increased pressure in some way (typically chemically), and air will have a tendency to fly out, doing damage at the same time. The problem with that is whether there's anything in an iPhone that will explode rather than simply get hot and burn.

    But an implosion, with reduced internal pressure that results in a flow of air inward, takes a special set of conditions. I can't conceive of anything in an iPod or other digital device that would do create them. Take a worst case scenario. Strip an iPhone of all its contents, seal it air tight and, in an instant remove all the air. I doubt the resulting difference in pressure between the inside and outside would be enough to break the screen, resulting in an implosion. You'd simply have an iPhone case with a vacuum inside.

    And yet Apple does claim that the damage is the result of outside pressure. What could be doing that? My guess would be a vise, or some object pushed down by a heavy weight, such as someone standing on it. That would result in damage to an iPhone that looks like an implosion.

    Is this happening anywhere outside France? If not, we might suspect some group inside France may be trying to make the iPhone look bad.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    'implosion' was a bad translation.

    By the way, I find fault with your analysis. You noted that explosions are caused by increased pressure, usually chemically. But, increasing pressure can also be created in other ways... like heating. Heating itself can and often does cause matter to expand, which could cause an outward pressure in such a way that it would shatter the screen.

    Personally, I don't believe these iPhones are really exploding. Just saying, 'mere' overheating could conceivably be enough.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969



    No one at this time, including Apple, knows exactly what caused the destruction of these iPhones, other than perhaps the owners.

    Any theory is mere speculation at this stage.


  1. jdonahoe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I had an "implosion"

    Years ago, while waiting for a movie, my son dropped my palm onto the tile floor. It landed face down and needless to say the glass shattered and it ceased to work, but there were no other signs of the drop. I guess I should have claimed an implosion.

    My guess is it was a combination of too much foie gras and a back pocket.

  1. Treuf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    jdonahoe :

    I'm sure that's the case - one guy even had his iphone working with a broken glass, and cas claiming explosion !

    Moreover, 'implosion' is not an improper translation - for some reason a user used this, or a journalist, and it was all over the place here.

    To sum up : iphone makes people read papers -> journalists write papers on anything regarding iphone without investigating -> profit !!!

  1. JohnD

    Joined: Dec 1969



    First generation iPhone user. Never had complaints except during my last vacation trip to France. Used the car's iPhone adapter to listen to music and charge the phone. After about 2 hours I noticed the phone had not charged a single bit and in fact had pulled empty but it was extremely hot.
    Phone was placed in the armrest btw. Took out the phone and connected using the USB cable to the cars USB port.
    Checked phone settings and provider settings weren't set to automatic but to SFR which had bad reception in that particular area. Changed settings to auto while using the USB cable and the phone cooled down and charged normally after that. FW 3.0 installed btw.

  1. Tanker10a

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cracked iPhone Glass

    My 1st generation iPhone slipped out of my hand due to me tripping over an object. The iPhone flew out of my hand and landed faced down in a parking lot while I was using it. I got up, brushed myself, picked the iPhone and kept on using it. There was absolutely not one scratch on the iPhone.
    I currently own a 32GS and that device hardly gets warm...
    That EXPLOSION stuff is nothing more than a hype!

  1. stevesnj

    Joined: Dec 1969



    these dumb frenchies sat on them or pressed to hard or used a pointed object on the screen. I'm glad I use my Freedom iPhone.

  1. maceuer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cracked glass splinter

    If you had access to the second news spread in France, you would have read that not only did the second "victim" have a glass splinter in the eye but he managed to get it out by himself with tweezers from his own eye !!!

    Come one who would believe this except a journalist or newspaper in search of readers !!!

    As everyone knows, it is impossible to this to yourselves, even a trained nurse/doctor would struggle to keep the eye open, imagine doing this alone.

    Fake, this one is really just going for damages relieve on a bad setup.

    Sensationalism. Both cases in France are fake to me.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If Apple says it was external forces, and not an explosion, it must be true. No company, esp. Apple, would ever make a conclusion just to cast blame on someone else and try to brush away responsibility.

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