Apple may have a bit of a situation on their hands. Before I jump into this I do want to clarify that this issue seems to be very limited in scope and, so far, there doesn’t seem to be any danger to the public. With that said, the iPhone 8 swelling battery saga is continuing to grow.
You may recall that there was a story right after the release of the iPhone 8 where a woman in Taiwan reported that, while charging, her iPhone 8 battery expanded/exploded/whatever terminology you want to use. Obviously, for a lot of people, this brings up memories of last year’s Galaxy Note 7 launch and the famously unreliable batteries that caught fire and got banned from airplanes. Is Apple facing a PR nightmare like Samsung went through?
Right now, it’s too early to say how big this issue could be for Apple. To their credit, this battery expansion issue is the “proper” way a battery is supposed to fail. Obviously it would be great if batteries never failed but that isn’t really realistic for a mass produced product like the iPhone 8. When a properly designed battery fails it is supposed to expand without exploding, shorting, or catching fire. The images may look dramatic but, in reality, no one was in any real danger.
Still, images of an iPhone 8 swelling battery that has busted open the case of the device is not something Apple wants out there and it’s definitely not something that inspires confidence in consumers. So far, this issue has been limited to small occurrences elsewhere in the world but a Reddit post from a reported Best Buy employee claims that they had an iPhone 8 swelling battery issue with a device that was returned to them. The employee managed to grab an image of the device in question. Check it out:
You’ll notice that this image looks very similar to the original swollen battery report. Here’s the first incident photo to jog your memory:
In both cases there doesn’t look to be any signs of physical damage that would case the case to separate like what we see. No scuffs on the corner of the device. No dents. In fact, they look like they came out of the box just minutes earlier.
This is not a good look for Apple as the launch of the iPhone X grows closer. People want to feel confident that the $999 they are going to spend on a new iPhone X will get them the best device possible and not, you know, expanding batteries and stuff. To be fair to Apple, every electronic device has an expected fail rate. There is no product out there that’s absolutely perfect and that’s why we have 1 year of manufacturer warranty on most electronics we buy. Plus, Apple has great support and customer care. Walk into an Apple store, walk out with a new iPhone. Not many companies have that kind of quality service.
Like I said, this is the first report of an iPhone 8 swelling battery in the United States that we know of. If we don’t hear about a lot more incidents like this then we can assume this is an isolate incident. If more and more cases of swollen batteries pop up over the next couple of months then Apple may be forced to admit that there is an issue with the batteries used in the iPhone 8. Again, not a good look right before the launch of a $999 smartphone.
What do you think about this expanding battery issue? Does it make you think twice about buying a new iPhone or do you think it’s an isolated incident that won’t affect very many devices?