Apple’s iPhones are literally hot devices, as two spontaneously combusted this month, sparking concerns about the devices’ safety.
Officials report an iPhone 4 glowed red and began smoking after it caught on fire during a flight in Australia, and another user in Brazil reported his Apple phone also combusted as it was charging overnight. An iPhone 3GS caught fire earlier in November in Brazil.
Apple Australia’s Fiona Martin said the company investigating the Brazilian iPhone fire, but hasn’t commented yet on the Australian incident.
Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said his agency, along with the Australian Transport Safety Board and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority are investigating the latest incident. He said the ATSB plans to strip down the iPhone 4 “to try and understand just why it would start heating up,” noting the phone is no longer working.
The Brazilian fire occurred after owner Ayla Mota left his 8GB iPhone 4 plugged in while he slept, awaking in the middle of the night to see “a lot of sparks and black smoke out of the cell.” He switched off the power and unplugged the device.
The fires aren’t the only problems iPhone owners are reporting. There have been complaints about battery life, the phone screens having a yellow tinge, and even about the new iPhone 4S’ signature Siri program. The fires, though, could pose a safety concern that Apple may need to address to retain the public’s trust in the device.
Apple’s devices have had overheating problems in the past. In 2009, some 3GS owners said their handsets were overheating, burning the white models into brown and pink colors. Faulty batteries were eventually blamed, which may be the case in the latest iPhone fires as well.
Apple also had a replacement program in place for a while for first-generation iPod Nanos because they overheated, with three Nanos catching fire in Japan before that country recalled the devices.