“Apple, sales boom… products go bust” ran the headline of regional French daily La Provence as it revealed on Tuesday that a teenager had received a tiny shard of glass in his eye after an iPhone literally exploded in front of him on August 7.
Romain, an 18-year-old from Aix-en-Provence in southern France, said his girlfriend’s iPhone began making a hissing sound before the screen suddenly shattered, sending broken pieces of glass “flying in the air”.
“The iPhone was 30 centimetres away from my face when I felt like I received a grain of sand in my eye. It could only be a piece of glass,” said the French teenager.
His mother, Marie-Dominique Koleda, told AFP news agency that Romain did not have a serious injury but that she was nonetheless considering pressing charges against the phone’s manufacturer Apple.
“Today I’m wondering what I should do with the other iPhones we have at home”, said Mrs Koleda. She and her 12-year-old son have their own models protected in “Plexiglas cases”.
Following La Provence’s report, another iPhone user in Marseille said his model’s screen suddenly broke-up while in the middle of a phone call on July 25. The 29-year-old salesman said he hadn’t been hit by debris.
FRANCE 24 contacted Apple for comments on the iPhone incident in Aix-en-Provence, but received no reply.
La Provence earlier managed to contact Apple's technical service, which said this was likely to be an "isolated case".
"Some clients told us their batteries could get really hot on the 3GS model, and we've replaced a few products. But we've never heard of an iPhone that exploded" said the technical service.
Overheating incidents in the US, Britain, and Japan
A similar incident involving another emblematic Apple product occurred in Britain last week.
Ken Stanborough, a 47-year-old from Liverpool, says he threw his 11-year-old daughter’s iPod Touch through the backdoor only seconds before the device exploded.
“It made a hissing sound. I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour,” he told the Times newspaper. “[Then] there was a pop and it went 3 metres in the air,” he added.
The British daily said Apple offered a refund for the girl's iPod on condition that the family sign a confidentiality agreement.
Several other overheating incidents have been reported in the US, Japan, and Britain, but Apple has so far refused to comment on the issue.