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back to article iPhone 4/4S 'self combusts' in airliner inferno

An iPhone caused a small emergency in an Australian airplane after it inexplicably started to glow red and emit "significant amounts of dense smoke" as the craft touched down in Sydney airport. A flight attendant extinguished the phone immediately, reported the Regional Express Airline news service, and no passengers or crew …

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Facepalm

the photo

how about a link to the photo?

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Anonymous Coward

If you follow the "news service" link in the story you'll see this link to the pdf of the press release that contains the photo:

http://www.regionalexpress.com.au/MediaRelease/Files/295_MR20111125%20-%20Mobile%20Phone%20Self%20Combustion.pdf

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many thanks

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Trollface

Was the owner sitting next to somebody using..........

...........a Galaxy SII?

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With the black plastic clearly burnt

Plastic? I thought theses iPhone thingies were supposed to be quality items. If I paid the sort of money needed for an iPhone I'd expect a bit more than plastic.

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Anonymous Coward

Terrorist are missing a trick here ... Just take iPhones onto planes and wait for them to explode, if they don't explode; the terrorist gets a nice holiday and can try again on the way home.

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Silver badge

Can't blame cheap third party batteries

if you can't change it

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Coat

Our products are perfect. It is your imagination.

Okay ---------------->[ ].

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Nev
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It's a feature.

It's meant to do that.

Apple will be applying for a patent soon.

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Anonymous Coward

They can't, Samsung has prior art

http://gizmodo.com/5539192/a-cellphone-exploded-in-my-face

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Bronze badge

A sad downer waiting to happen.

All of these devices need to have the battery removed in flight.

As they get older the explosive risk increases .

It seems almost inevitable that the carrying of devices with non removable batteries will be eventually banned. Lets hope I am wrong.

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Facepalm

>iPhone 4 old

So, how would you describe my Nokia N-gage?

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Boffin

No, let's hope that you're right

Such a ban would force Apple to stop treating their users a bit less like children or intellectual pygmies, or face losing millions of pounds in custom from the people who use their iStuff for business. Even the biggest Apple fan can't deny that this would be a good thing.

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Anonymous Coward

N Gage

Archaic.

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Anonymous Coward

Treating users like children?

You mean like naming operating system like candy?

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FAIL

Re: "You mean like naming operating system like candy?"

Android 1.0

Android 1.1

Android 1.5

Android 1.6

Android 2.1

Android 2.2

Android 2.3

Android 3.0

Android 3.1

Android 3.2

Android 4.0

So, where's the candy AC?

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Anonymous Coward

"Even the biggest Apple fan can't deny that this would be a good thing."

Oh, I'll think that you'll find plenty of them willing to defend Apple's decision on batteries. Usually on grounds of looks, and/or size & weight savings.

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Anonymous Coward

Re to Vomit on Android versions

Come on. You, of all trolls, know how Google names their Android versions Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sarnie...

They even put up Androids dolls representing them, playground style. Here, see for yourself:

http://www.androidfreeze.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Android-Ice-Cream-Sandwich.jpg

Can't really get any more child-like than that.

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Anonymous Coward

Android 1.0 - None

Android 1.1 - None

Android 1.5 - Cupcake

Android 1.6 - Donut

Android 2.1 - Eclair

Android 2.2 - FroYo (Frozen Yogurt)

Android 2.3 - Gingerbread

Android 3.0 - Honeycomb

Android 3.1 - Honeycomb

Android 3.2 - Honeycomb

Android 4.0 - Ice Cream Sandwich

Strike Vomit - Fuckwit

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Headmaster

"Strike Vomit - Fuckwit"

Niiice. I somehow expected better from you...

FYI development code names != 'official' operating system names, AnotherNetNumptie.

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Anonymous Coward

"AnotherNetNumptie"

10/10 for originality; I like it! And I apologise for the barb; long day.

On a serious note, Ubuntu is referred to by and often laughed at for it's code names. Add to that that the versions are more-often-than-not referred to by the release codename i.e. "CM7 sports the most Vanilla look you can find on a Gingerbread ROM". I get what you were trying to illustrate, but you know as well as everyone else that official name != familiar name. If you're going to call one device a toy; be prepared to have your favourite mocked back. The code names *are* a bit childish, but that is Google all over. You could argue, more reasonably, that FroYo or Ice Cream Sandwich are far more consumer friendly...

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Joke

Google just wants.....

Android users to get their Just Desserts.

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Anonymous Coward

Not all batteries

Sort of -- Lithium *ion* batteries will expand and contract as they are charged/discharged and that will stress the cell containers and possibly rupture them and cause a short/malfunction.

Lithium *polymer* batteries, like those used in basically all cell phones, do not suffer from this problem.

So while they can still overheat, catch fire, etc. from malfunctioning electronics that cause them to discharge too fast, I doubt this has much to do with age or wear.

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The Plane did it

If it was glowing and smoking as the aircraft touched down then the passenger should have had it turned off. Even when using flight mode phones should be tuurned off during take off and landing. Clearly this was the plane's self defence mechanism. In my head, something like...

"I'm Sorry Dave, you cannot let you play Angry Birds.... Stop.... I'm aftraid I can't let you do that Dave"

On a more serious note, as Both an iPhone 4 owner and a Samsung Galaxy SII owner, only one will remain in my jeans pocket inches away from my balls.

I would be interested to know what he was doing at the time of the smoke out too. I hope for Apples sake that it was not just sitting idle.

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Pirate

Pocket Rocket

I NEVER put any phone or lithium powered device in my front pocket. Lithium cells are like little sticks of TNT. Even if they were safe I still wouldn't as I don't want my nuts microwaved.

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Anonymous Coward

What it was "doing"?

It might have been idle, who cares.

The phone does not have a self destruct feature that can accidentally be activated by a bug in Angry Birds.

There was clearly a hardware malfunction with the power circuitry that caused the battery to short out. Nothing to do with software, presumably.

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Megaphone

??

Why the thumbs down?

Do any of you actually understand lithium cells? Obviously not.

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Boffin

I understand Lithium-Ion cells. Fairly well too, I think. I spent a good part of 2 years doing nothing but working out how to achieve the safest and most reliable use of Lithium-Ion cells.

Actual Lithium cells, much less, but them too :)

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Coat

Official response from Apple

The person in question was just "holding it wrong" and Apple will be putting out a FAQ on how to hold the iPhone 4/4S correctly shortly.

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Silver badge

Needs some brown sugar, raisins and cream.

Well, that's how I serve baked apples, anyway.

Or possibly a layer of crumble.

Li-ion batteries can go foom for a variety of reasons - I wonder if he was charging it from the sockets some flights have for laptops, and it overcharged - or any one of a number of other possibilities.

Anyways, bring them on - as Alan Denman says above, the more these sort of things happen, the less chance of having to put up with loud-mouthed reps trying to be heard over the obligatory baby cries.

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Anonymous Coward

TheAppSplat

Was it the iTerror App......

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It's a feature, droid users are jealous.

All phones randomly explode.

Should have switched it into "do not explode on airplanes" mode

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Anonymous Coward

is this what the reviews mean

when they say it is the hottest item on the market?

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Flame

"An iPhone caused a small emergency in an Australian airplane after it inexplicably started to glow red and emit "significant amounts of dense smoke" as the craft touched down in Sydney airport "

Shouldn't the passenger have switched the phone off prior to descent? Or does that rule apply only to *other* electronic devices?

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Gold badge

I'm curious; where did you read that the passenger switched it on? I read the media release from Rex, complete with the photo and it didn't say anything about it being switched on.

Or are you assuming it was switched on; because when it is switched off, it no longer exists and therefore cannot combust?

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@BristolBachelor

Good point, I kinda assumed it was switched on.

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Thumb Down

Assuming it was switched on

I would always assume that a combusting electrical device was switched on at the time, as using electricity generates heat. Occam's Razor: the hotter something is, the fewer additional factors are required for it to reach combustion point.

My own smartphone has at times become quite warm during periods of intense use, but never when it's just sitting in my shirt pocket. The guy was using it, no need for facetiousness.

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Anonymous Coward

Although the iPhone can be turned off, it cannot be powered off. The phone is always powered, drawing a small amount of current (as long as the battery isn't dead).

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Stop

Not really

A Smartphone keeps running, even when it is turned off. Yes, at extremely low power levels, and with almost everything turned off. But it is still "on" - after all, my Nokia E66 rang the alarm even when I turned it "off.

And a Li-Ion battery may burns itself down even with no load. All that is needed is an internel short - wich can be caused by corrosion, wear and tear and so on.

The IPhone could be on. Could, even, beeing in use. But not necessarily.

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Headmaster

True, not necessarily

But as I said: the more heat a phone is generating, the more likely it is that it *will* happen. That's where Occam's Razor comes in - in the absence of definite proof, the most probable solution is the one requiring the fewest factors. And when there have already been stories of the same thing happening to other models of the iPhone when it is in use, that's further fuel for the fire (so to speak).

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Vic
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> as I said: the more heat a phone is generating, the more likely it is that it *will* happen.

You might have said it, but it's not true at the sort of temperatures phones generate in normal operation.

Vic.

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Internal short in the battery?

Li batteries are not just a lump of stuff, they have their own internal electronics, which can go bad. The battery might have shorted out internally, resulting in a current flow limited only by the small internal resistance. This could easily result in smoke, fire or even explosion - it's happened before in laptops and other products. This article: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/dell-battery-fire.htm has info on the 2006 recall. I don't know if the Apple batteries are the same kind (in fact I doubt it) but there is still a lot of energy stored in those little things.

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the hold...

So.... what happens if someone puts their iphone in their suitcase and this happens mid-flight in the belly of the aircraft...not.good.

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Gimp

That would NEVER happen!

iThing seperation anxiety... that could wreck the [plane on it's own.

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Joke

That is a very interesting point, but it all depends on where you are.

When I was playing with Li-Ion batteries, the "clever people" who won't let you take your water in planes in England said that all the spare batteries for your laptop had to be in the hold, for safety reasons. The clever people in the US said they must not go in the hold because of the issue you raised, for safety reasons.

Obviously you have to get out and go around to the boot while flying over the atlantic to perform the switch!

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..the ground staff rob it before it gets anywhere near an aircraft!

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Anonymous Coward

Since when have the UK made you put spare batteries in the hold?

I always fly with spare batteries and they sell batteries air side...

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We have an app for that

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It only affects a very small percentage ........ of planes

'Only a very small percentage'.

Tell it again Apple?

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g e
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FAIL

Affects a small percentage..

Therefore implies that it has been measured

Which means it is a known fault

Which means Apple must be sued for knowingly selling and advertising goods unfit for purpose. That they cannot identify which units fall into the percentage is irrelevant.

So a complete product recalled is also required as they cannot issue new batteries to people because you're not allowed to change the battery.

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