Is there more media noise about exploding iPhones and iPods than there are actual explosions? In an era when news competes for advertising dollars in a 24 hour environment, real news gets ignored for news that is exciting and contentious. The latest is from a French teenager who claimed his iPhone shattered in his face leaving shards of glass.
Marie-Dominique Kolega, whose 18-year-old son was struck in the eye by a piece of glass when the screen shattered on his girlfriend’s iPhone, has threatened to file a complaint against Apple following the incident.
Isolated incident? Or, disturbing trend?
US television news station KIRO reported in late July that an “alarming number” of iPods “have suddenly burst into flames and smoke, injuring people and damaging property.”
The most notorious case involves an 11 year old girl in the UK who claims her iPod touch exploded. From The Times:
Ken Stanborough, 47, from Liverpool, dropped his 11-year-old daughter Ellie’s iPod Touch last month. “It made a hissing noise,” he said. “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour.” Mr Stanborough said he threw the device out of his back door, where“ within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air.”
Apple, as expected, was willing to replace the exploding iPod or return their money, but wanted a confidentiality agreement as well as the iPod. Reasonable?
Last week it emerged that Apple had tried to keep a number of cases where its iPod digital music players had started to smoke, burst into flames and even burned their owners, out of the public eye.
That would probably be the case if only one iPod or iPhone touch battery exploded. KIRO TV in Seattle reported an “alarming number” of iPods have suddenly burst into flames and smoke, but no hard figures were reported.
How many iPods and iPhones are there in the world? Over 200-million. How many reports of exploding iPods and iPhones are there in the world? Dozens? Is that an alarming number or is there an overwhelming need for mainstream media to sensationalize isolated problems that occur in any product. I suspect the latter.
Does Apple have a major problem with exploding batteries in iPods and iPhones, or a major public relations problem with the few that have? I suspect the latter.
Whatever is taking place with the lithium batteries in Apple’s products it is neither an alarming number nor a disturbing trend. When problems occur by the hundreds, then there is cause for alarm.