Lithium ion batteries are both a boon and a bane to technology. They have been loyal to our phones and laptops for decades and they have been giving us increased battery life every single year, if only incrementally. But they do tend to heat up from time to time, sometimes resulting in explosions, the most recent public fiasco being the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Over 70 incidents have been reported. A man has lost his jeep to the Note 7 explosion. Even after Samsung has replaced the faulty handsets, at least one has exploded on a flight. However, this has led a lot of people to begin branding Samsung as the only company guilty of these “crimes”. One crowd in particular, Apple fanboys. They seem to forget that over the years there have been dozens of reported explosions related to Apple products as well, mainly the iPhone. Here are just a few.
- Apple was sued in 2009 by the mother of a 15 year old boy in Ohio. Apparently, the boy’s 16 GB iPod Touch exploded in his pant pocket. This caused second degree burns. A similar incident happened to an 11 year old girl in UK. The iPod began hissing and then there was vapour; luckily the father, Ken Stanborough, threw the phone out of the house before it went up in smoke.
- The iPod Nano was the center of an exploding scandal as well. The first generation iPod Nano, sold between 2005 and 2006, tended to overheat and explode while charging according to a report by Gizmodo. In fact the problem got so bad that Apple had to start a recall program. Apparently the issue persists even years later (with the same generation though); luckily, so does the recall program. The official webpage reads: “This issue has been traced to a single battery supplier that produced batteries with a manufacturing defect. While the possibility of an incident is rare, the likelihood increases as the battery ages.” Sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it? The European Union even launched an investigation in to the matter.
- An iPhone 4 nearly exploded during a flight in 2011. This is one incident I personally remember. It was all over the news. The phone began emitting a red glow and giving out smoke. Luckily “the flight attendant carried out recovery actions immediately, and the red glow was extinguished successfully,”. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau even launched a formal investigation in to the incident.
- Apple’s MacBook is touted as one of the best laptops in the world. But even it hasn’t been free of controversy. In 2006, a recall program was initiated for the MacBook because its batteries were exploding.
- An iPhone 3G exploded in 2009 while on standby mode, burning a hole through the seat of a car. The incident occurred in the Netherlands.
- In 2014, an 8th grader’s iPhone 5C caught fire while in her pants. The incident occurred in Maine.
- In 2014, another iPhone caught fire in a plane. The flight, bound for Prague had to be postponed and all 150 passengers evacuated when an iPhone 5 caught fire while in a passenger’s bag.
- An iPad Air exploded and caught fire in a Vodafone store in Canberra in 2013. The fire brigade had to be called in but luckily no one was hurt.
- In Hong Kong in 2015, a 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus caught fire while charging. The back cover melted and the screen was completely separated from the phone.
- This year in March, an iPhone 6 caught fire in an Air Alaska flight. The flight was headed from Washington State to Hawaii when “eight inch flames” began to shoot up from the phone. It belonged to 19 year old, Anna Crail.
- Gareth Clair, a cyclist suffered severe burns to his thigh when his iPhone 6 exploded in his pocket. He apparently had to punch the iPhone loose from his thigh after it had melted through his shorts and some of his skin.
- Darin Hlavaty, a student at Rowen college New Jersey claimed that his iPhone 6 Plus had caught fire while still in his pocket. The phone caught fire and burnt through his jeans.
Incidents of the iPhone 6S exploding and even the new iPhone 7 exploding have been reported in the news as of late. Clearly, the lithium ion battery needs to be replaced as a power source. Its repeated failures are testament to that. However, blaming a single company for the faults is a little extreme, especially one that has been in the business for over a decade. Don’t get me wrong, incidents such as this should not be condoned but at the same time, it should not make you mistrust that company.