iPhone explodes in China, injures user's eye

iPhone explodes in China, injures user's eye

Summary: An iPhone 5 blows up and sends debris flying, some of which scratch the eye of the female victim who lives in China.

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Photo of the exploded iPhone (Source: dlxww.com)

A woman in China came close to losing her eyesight after her iPhone 5 exploded in her hand and sent out debris which scratched her cornea.

According to a report published by Da Lian Evening News on Friday, the injured woman whose family name is Li arrived at her workplace and was on the phone with her friend when she felt the screen growing very warm against her cheek. At that time, she had been on the phone for 40 minutes. 

When she looked at the device to check it, Li then discovered the touchscreen was not responding when she tried to end the call. After a few more tries, the screen exploded. 

Li said she felt some debris shooting into her eyes. "I could not open my eyes," she recalled. Her colleagues rushed her to the hospital where the doctor found her eyeball red and inflamed, and identified a scratch mark which suggested an object had scratched it.

Li told Da Lian Evening News she bought the iPhone 5 in September of 2012. She revealed she dropped the phone once and the impact had left a small dent on the top right corner of the screen where it exploded. But she said the phone was still useable despite the degraded level of responsiveness after the drop.

She added that she was not expecting any compensation from Apple, but wondered why her friends' less expensive phones with similar screen problems didn't blow up.

A staff from Apple's after-sales service department told Da Lian Evening News such incidents required further investigation and typically would not be covered under product warranty.

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, iPhone, China

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23 comments
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  • odd

    That's very odd - the iPhone *should* have overheat protection. I know that my iPhone 4 will simply turn off and refuse to do anything until it cools down if it gets too hot.

    Although being that she dropped it before - I'd suspect the problem isn't in the iPhone design, but rather that the earlier drop actually caused some damage she was unaware of.
    CobraA1
    • Yeah

      Everybody knows I'm know fan of Apple but, I really think many of these issues are shady.

      How much you want to bet, she had her phone repaired by a 3rd party?

      I know these clowns have screwed some things up in Cupertino recently (Like the ability to hold the center button and put my apple TV to sleep) but, this would be highly unlikely.
      slickjim
      • Lion batteries

        That's not a very fair comment. Just as Lithium-ion battery can fail with thermal runaway, so can the thermal protection. Which can and does lead to a catastrophic event.
        When a cell phone battery goes into thermal run-away, the person usually just gets a
        burn. When a laptop battery goes into thermal run away, it can kill a person. When a car electrical battery goes into thermal run away, a house gets destroyed. Problem is that a battery keeps the fuel and oxidizer in a single package separated by a thin film. Same construction as a bomb. Must safer would be an alcohol power laptop as the fuel and oxidizer (the air) are very well separated. Same reason you never hear of a car just spontaneously blowing up. Fuel and oxidizer are very well separated. I may get an electric car one day, but will be charged at the end of my driveway, not in my garage.
        remact
        • damage is not near battery

          yes, that can happen, but that is clearly NOT what happened here.

          battery is no where near that area of damage !!
          Aussie_Troll
        • Re: so can the thermal protection

          So when the iPhone thermal protection fails, the device simply jumps out of your hand to the floor, where it has it's screen hit on the corner and destroyed, then the iPhone jumps back to your hand to have some debris sent to your eye?

          Very advanced tech, that iPhones....
          danbi
          • phones dont have thermal protection !!

            They just don't !!!

            Ovens do, they have a bi-metallic switch that cuts off power if the temperature is too high, but electronics like phones do not have such circuits..

            They have over current protection instead, it's called a FUSE.
            Aussie_Troll
          • iPhones do have thermal protection.

            A simple google or bing search perhaps?
            YaBaby
  • too funny...

    "She added that she was not expecting any compensation from Apple, but wondered why her friends' less expensive phones with similar screen problems didn't blow up."

    Probably because they didn't break their phones! And anyways there has been stories of other brands Android based phones overheating, smoking, and stuff like this too... you never know what will happen when you use junk 3rd party stuff, or abuse the electronics.
    doh123
    • While my HTC One hasn't ever overheated it does get warm to the touch.

      Something I've never experienced on any of my iPhones (3, 3GS, 4S, and 5).
      ye
  • I dont buy it

    No burn marks, it looked to me before I read the article that it had been dropped, to make that damage.

    Also the 'degraded performance' means "IT's FAULTY" and was clearly damaged in the drop.

    I just don't buy it.
    Aussie_Troll
    • maybe

      We forced an IC to fly off a breadboard in Electronics class when I was younger. This isn't that unlikely as the burn damage would be on the circuit board.

      However, I struggle to believe that the damage here is in an area where these chips are located.
      slickjim
      • Looks like you are correct

        Based on this photo, I don't see anything that could potentially catch fire in that particular corner.
        http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/UeKevFTJmEZTjNvT.huge_1.jpeg

        The image shown in this article clearly shows a device that was damaged by a drop and nothing that backs the claim of an "explosion".
        wackoae
        • and if something 'exploded'

          it was probably a fleck of glass from the broken display, and when the phone started to get warm (they all do), the tensions in the broken glass caused a fragment to fly out, due to thermal expansion.

          Glass does that you know :)

          You can also see the corner of an IC in the photo, perfectly intact, no holes, no burns, no sign of heating.

          It's a non-story IMO.
          Aussie_Troll
          • Re: thermal tension

            There is no way thermal tension could break the glass this way. This is clearly impact damage -- the device hit the ground with it's corner.

            If any thermal buildup happens, it will likely affect the center of the display. These displays are also not the typical windows grade glass.
            danbi
          • we know

            "forced an IC to fly off a breadboard in Electronics class when I was younger."

            that's right, it was DROPPED !!! that broke the glass, then it was used, with broken glass, it got warmer, things got bigger, and a fleck of glass got too big for the place it was in and fell out !!!

            It was dropped, the glass broke, the phone broke and it was used in a faulty state !

            No explosion occurred.
            Aussie_Troll
      • forced an IC to fly off a breadboard in Electronics class when I was younge

        you might of forced the IC to destruct, and what usually happens is the top flies off, and the smoke comes out !!!.

        I've done it too, and put an electrolytic capacitor reverse polarity across a power supply and watched it swell up and eventually explode.

        (electro's connected to an extension cord and connected to mains power makes a good bang too !!!).

        But this is none of these, I would expect that the glass being broken and the stress in glass, with the heating of a phone when in long use with expansion and so on might of cause a shard of glass to be 'ejected' from the display.

        But no explosion. That just did not happen..
        Aussie_Troll
  • Apple greed

    Apple makes more that 50 percent margin on each device, in that process, they pay poor wages to people who work on it and the quality of components is questionable...

    Apple products are a total waste of money.
    OwlllllllNet
    • Re: Apple greed

      You are envious of Apple, or you afraid you won't get paid if you don't post nonsense?
      danbi
  • Hmm...

    "Li told Da Lian Evening News she bought the iPhone 5 in September of 2012."

    Didn't it not launch until December in China?
    jefforange89
  • Possible failure scenario?

    Generally heat in these devices comes from the battery when there is high current drain due to normal operation or a fault in the electronics. If a battery gets overheated then at some point it may begin to expand in thickness. If it's in a cheap plastic device the case will simply pop apart at the seams reliving the stress. In a high quality device made of aluminum the expansion of the battery pusning against an aluminum bottom and the screen on top may cause the screen to begin to protrude outward causing the glass to shatter. If the device has a screen protector the screen glass would be constrained from flying outward when the glass broke. The picture didn't show any sign of a screen protector. This scenario doesn't imply where the fault might lie.
    Old EE