Apple Battery Woes Continue, Zurich Store Evacuated After iPhone Overheats

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A Zurich Apple Store had to be evacuated because of smoke after an iPhone battery got overheated and injured a repair worker, according to Reuters. The incident took place on Tuesday, when one of the workers was taking out the battery from the iPhone, the Zurich police said. There has not been any word on the model of the iPhone involved in the incident.

Zurich Apple Store staff was quick to respond

Soon after the smoke started accumulating in the Apple Store, around 50 workers and customers were asked to temporarily leave for their safety. Besides the repair worker, seven other people were also hurt and required immediate medical attention, notes MacRumors. According to the police, the staff was quick to respond to the overheated battery by sprinkling quartz sand over it and controlling the smoke.

“The staff responded well and correctly. It sprinkled quartz sand over the overheated battery so that the smoke could be contained and sucked out after switching on the ventilation,” the police said, according to Reuters.

Further, the police said that forensic specialists are studying the cause of the fire. Apple has yet to respond to the incident.

The Apple iPhone uses lithium-ion batteries, which are used industry-wide in various electronics devices. The lithium-ion batteries carry a low risk, but could catch fire since they are made of flammable electrolytes. Samsung faced one of the biggest battery related recalls after it confessed that the poorly designed batteries were the prime reason behind the overheating issues in the Galaxy Note 7 phones in 2016.

The incident not only dented Samsung’s profits by billions of dollars, but also impacted the brand image of the company. Previously, other companies such as HP and Sony have also recalled their computer batteries citing fire risks. Such risks are a major reason why the Federal Aviation Administration penned rules on lithium-ion batteries in items like laptops and medical equipment.

Unending battery woes for Apple

The Zurich Apple Store adds further to the woes of Apple, which lately has been accused of compelling iPhone users to upgrade to a newer model by slowing down the batteries of the older iPhones. Apple accepted and apologized for slowing down the battery, but said they did this to “maximize performance.” Many countries are now seeking an explanation from the company on the same.

France is the latest country to have asked for an explanation from Apple over the battery issue. An investigation has been initiated, and it is being handled by the finance ministry. The issue qualifies under “deception and planned obsolescence,” covering goods that become obsolete quickly and need replacement. In France, cutting down the lifespan of the product intentionally is a crime, according to Financial Times.

Following the criticism, the Cupertino, California-based company also rolled out a program to replace the iPhone batteries of the older phones for just $29. But, the $29 replacement program is limited to one repair per iPhone, notes a report from MacRumors. To qualify for additional $29 battery replacements, the phone must pass Apple’s battery test.

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