back to article Is that a bulge in your pocket or... do you have an iPhone 8+? Apple's batteries look swell

Apple has said it is looking into claims that the batteries in its new iPhone 8 Plus phones are swelling and cracking their cases. A number of fans from across the world have reported problems with their shiny handsets, with some posting images on Twitter. The first reported swelling came from a Taiwanese owner who posted …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Pop, pop, pop, pop

    ...but no need for popcorn. Androidistas, get a chair, and a beer, no snack will be required.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Pop, pop, pop, pop

      The Samsungistas might have some sympathy.... I am willing to share my popcorn with everyone else..

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Pop, pop, pop, pop

        I'm a nothing-ista when it comes to smartphones. I get my schadenfreude from both sides.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Pop, pop, pop, pop

      The OS is bloated out of all recognition, too much to expect that the hardware wasn't as well I suppose.

  2. Paul

    I feel so sorry for Apple.

    Or do I?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Me too, having Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow as parents must be awful.

  3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    Wrong Swelling

    Given the views of iThing owners about their iThing perhaps they are mistaken about what is swelling?

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: Wrong Swelling

      "Given the views of iThing owners about their iThing"

      I was reminded in person of just how silly they can be earlier this week.

      In an office, iThing owner asks me for the WiFi key, so I input it into his iThing for him. It claimed to have a good signal strength (and we were only about 10-15 feet from the router through some very thin walls), but it failed to connect. I tried again, being more careful when inputting... same problem, then a third time.

      At this point I grabbed my own phone to check if everything was as it should be - mine was connected no problem. I suggested he go out into the hallway and just tell it to connect again and see what happens - and after a couple of attempts it connected.

      He then commented on my phone, suggesting I should get an iPhone because of how good they are.

      Er... yeah. No thanks.

      (Note: I've no idea which model it was - one of the larger ones, certainly, but beyond that, pass.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong Swelling

        Yawn... funny we have that same thing in my workplace but its a Samsung that wont connect to wifi easily - and drops calls due to signal falloff if the user stupid like move during a call - Both phones are on the same network...

        1. VinceH Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Wrong Swelling

          "Yawn... funny we have that same thing in my workplace but its a Samsung that wont connect to wifi easily"

          Congratulations, AC! You win today's prize for missing the point by such a huge margin.

          The point wasn't "Oh look, iThings have trouble connecting!"

          The point was "Oh, look, an iThing owner proceeded to tell me how good iThings are, immediately after having a problem with his iThing in front of me."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong Swelling

        As a very long time Windows Phone/Mobile and Android and Symbian user I bought my first iThing SE recently out of curiosity more than anything. It’s turning out to have better signal reception, better call quality, better battery life than any smartphone I’ve owned since my Nokia Symbian around 2010.

        The only annoying thing is daft things in the OS such as a no back button and pressing a physical key hard twice to pull up the task manager in order to shut down apps....but miles better than faffing around with Symbian on that Nokia!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wrong Swelling

          iOS does not have a task manager. That is a recently run apps list. They may or may not be running. You do not need to shut down apps.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Wrong Swelling

            "They may or may not be running. You do not need to shut down apps."

            Not being able to is not the same as not needing to.

            1. Nifty

              Re: Wrong Swelling

              On my ancient IOS 9 iPad, Safari will hang on any demanding webpage unless I double tap The Home button and swipe BBC iPlayer Radio app up off the screen to close it. If closing apps this way has no effect, can anyone explain why I need to do this?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Wrong Swelling

                Who said it had no effect? If an app in that list is running, then swiping it away will kill it. The app may or may not be running though. It is not a task manager and should never be considered a way to close an app. Killing a app that has hung is one correct usage, the other is opening an app you have recently used.

          2. Alumoi

            Re: Wrong Swelling

            They may or may not be running. You do not need to shut down apps.

            WTF? Now Apple is telling me what apps I am allowed to shut down and not? With Android I can hold the back key (sign) for a couple of seconds and the app is killed, no questions asked.

            1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

              Re: Wrong Swelling

              With Android I can hold the back key (sign) for a couple of seconds and the app is killed, no questions asked.

              Maybe on yours, but not on any of mine.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong Swelling

        Just using empirical evidence in a company that has hundreds of access points and thousands of users/devices I do find the most problems with Apple devices connecting to WiFi. This is both Macbooks, iPhones and iPads. Not noticed any newer models have too many issues yet but there does seem to be some strange thing with Apple devices that they can sometimes be troublesome unless you use an Airport.

        The other thing that I find a real pain with them, create an e-mail connection to an Exchange server. The iPhone asks for the basic information then tries to connect. If it can't you just get a message telling you, basically, something went wrong. But What? Can't it tell you that it could connect to the server but couldn't log in or that it could log in but couldn't get access to the folders etc. I shouldn't have to go to the server to troubleshoot why it can't connect.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Wrong Swelling

      FYI - regarding battery swelling...

      it's caused by the buildup of H2 gas inside the LiPo battery casing which is typically a somewhat soft material. There are a couple of things that can cause it:

      1. mechanical damage, particularly during assembly

      2. serious undervoltage with excess current being drawn over a long period of time.

      The 1st is a production issue, fixable by swapping out the battery. The 2nd is a design issue, NOT fixable without re-doing the circuit board.

      You can mitigate '2' by keeping your unused phone on the charger all of the time.

      The reason it happens has to do with the chemistry of an LiPo battery. If you discharge it too much, the polymer breaks down and releases hydrogen.

      LiPo batteries can self-discharge, so don't expect a charge to last more than a couple of month because of that. Additionally, if there is undervolt protection circuitry in the phone, it will draw a small amount of curent regardless of the state of the internal protection switch.

      I recently designed such a circuit for a system where the entire circuit board + battery is potted in plastic, meaning you can't change the battery [it's waterproof though]. the batteries were having swelling problems. This was generically solved by an EXTREMELY low current battery undervolt cutout circuit, which draws only 10 microamps [or so] in the 'cutoff' state. It leverages a few other things to limit the current and the number of components.

      /me takes a bow for the miraculous electronics engineering, a truly 'clever' hack, heh.

      In the mean time, you STILL get trickle discharging of the LiPo, but you also get self-discharging. 10 microamps is about what a typical self-discharge is, and you can generally leave a LiPo on a shelf and let it self-discharge and not have it swell up like a pillow, even it it reaches zero volts. [it may still happen but from what I can tell, it's much much less frequent].

      On the other hand, if you draw as little as 100 microamps from one of the smaller batteries [it may be more for a larger one], they tend to swell up like pillows once discharged down to 0V, and will do so within a month of being discharged, more often than not. So you can't just set it on a shelf unless your undervolt protection totally cuts off the battery [or gets trickle current down to about 10 microamps].

      I've got on battery I've fully discharged at the ~10 microamp rate, and then re-charged, a few times. It's lasted for MONTHS this way, no apparent ill effects. It's as flat as a pancake, like it's supposed to be.

      So I'd say Apple's problem is PROBABLY on the circuit board, and retro-fixing that is basically impossible, unless they can wire in an undervolt circuit between the battery and the circuit board somehow. Good luck fitting it in the case. I bet it's really *tight* in there.

      /me withholds a comment involving a cherry

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. DaLo

          Re: Wrong Swelling

          Do I win £5?

          No, because you didn't use proper formatting to create a link in your comment (e.g.https://static5.arrow.com/.../lt1389_0699_mag_fig.1.jpg), therefore your link did not work.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's a feature

    No more melting glue or attacking tamper-resistant screws. The phone opens itself when it needs a new battery.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: It's a feature

      No more melting glue or attacking tamper-resistant screws. The phone opens itself when it needs a new battery.

      Has anyone checked to see if they've applied for a patent on that?

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    People keep saying Apple copies others. Is this what they mean?

  6. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Jesus phones

    Self-disassembly does not a Jesus phone make. When they start reassembling themselves, or turning water into wine on the other hand...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jesus phones

      It reassembles after 3 days.

      1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Jesus phones - It reassembles after 3 days.

        Ah, does it then ascend into the clouds?

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Jesus phones

        @AC

        It reassembles after 3 days

        Unlike the Son of God, whose 2nd coming is yet to be, the iPhone has revisited it's followers many times

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jesus phones

      The phones aren't miraculous: more on the level of turning wine into water. Their marketing department on the other hand...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Jesus phones

        "Their marketing department on the other hand"

        I think I can work out what they turn wine into after they drink it.

      2. dcbcherrygate

        Re: Jesus phones

        Shouldn't that read turning whine into whatever

    3. Montreal Sean

      Re: Jesus phones

      Re: water into wine...

      The phone does that already.

      Get someone's iPhone wet and see how much they whine!

  7. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    User swap battery

    If the user could swap out the battery the 'recall' would be a lot cheaper.

    Give it a week. .. and some PR... undocumented feature. If your phone needs a new battery it will expose the device for easy disassembly. You can pick up a new one at your local Apple store for £#randomLargeValue.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: User swap battery

      "If your phone needs a new battery it will expose the device for easy disassembly."

      That should raise its score on iFixit.com... Apple iThings are getting easier to take apart. All you have to do is plug it in to charge, or sometimes just open the box. That sounds even easier than removing a bunch of small screws!

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: User swap battery

      If I had my way, every device with a battery would be required to provide instructions on how the user can change the battery themselves. This would require, of course, every device to have a battery that can be swapped. This rule would apply to phones, laptops, tablets, everything.

      And if I also had my way, every phone must have a headphone jack. And while I have a wishlist, I would require every phone, tablet, and laptop to use an industry standard charger. A USB-C for phones/tablets and other low power devices and something universal for laptops.

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: User swap battery

        I perhaps hesitate to state this but the EU has the common charging cable thing sorted. Hence the cable for the latest phones.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Nifty

        Re: User swap battery

        How unfair to the manufacturers! They'll have to think of other ways of making their products obsolete ready for the new shiny.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's not the battery, it's the ego chip which by design swells up in relation to the excitement of the owner.

    Think of this as a massive Technoboner brought about by over excitement, there is a fix and that is to imagine you're shopping in Primark/Walmart and you receive a phone call only to find you own a windows phone and your ringtone is a popular song that everyone knows.

  9. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Obligatory

    "Cupertino idiot-tax operation..."

    Grow. the. fuck. up.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Obligatory

      You are Tim Cook's HMRC personal taxation officer and I claim my £1 billion refund.

    2. A. Coatsworth

      Re: Obligatory

      How someone with a silver goddamned badge asks this site to "grow up"? haven't you been around the place long enough to see the authors here won't ever grow up, and that is the whole joke?

      --EDIT--

      Just read the "smug" comment by the same commentard a bit down the line.. it seems some people can't handle hearing blasphemous accusations against the Holy iShnny and no amount of badges can change that.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Obligatory

        Have some sympathy - he's worried that his IPho is not quite as svelte and slender as when they first met...

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: Obligatory

          ”Have some sympathy - he's worried that his IPho is not quite as svelte and slender as when they first met...“

          I had an BYOD iPhone SE. Loved it. Company issued me with a 6S and made it mandatory (device standardisation). Svelte or not, I hate that thing. The SE in my view is a beautiful piece of design (my view), the 6-8 series are just lazy design.

          So I couldn’t really care less about svelte. I do care about good design, and if my phones a bit chubbier than the rest but well designed, i’m a happy individual.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Obligatory

            "So I couldn’t really care less about svelte."

            Nor the whoosh! sound of the expanding battery, it seems.

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: Obligatory

              Nope, couldn’t care less.

            2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: Obligatory

              On a related note, can’t believe the number of frenzied fuckdroids on this forum; panic-downvoting anything that might be remotely supportive of the fruity arch enemy. Well, enjoy your data slurping insecure adcarriers while you can, until all your data is belong to the Googleship and you can’t move without being spammed to death.

              In the meantime I’ll keep using my reliable, secure, functional and fast 6S until Apple stops supporting it in 2021 or so, at which time I’ll sell it for $n*10 (where n is the value of the spec-equivalent Android), and buy a new one.

              So downvote all you like bitchezzz, you might bleat here but you know it’s true.

        2. sprograms

          Re: Obligatory

          Yeah, well him and me both.

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Obligatory

        Ok time for some facts of life. I have a passionate dislike of imbalance and unfairness - towards anybody, and anything. Yes that includes corporations. My opinion of Apple is generally positive (through both positive personal experience and through the devices my company manages), but I am very aware they are not perfect - and will recognise when this is so; as you can see if you read through my comment history. The WiFi/Bluetooth control Center buttons not actually turning the radios on and off is a good example of Apple ballsing up, as is the iPhone 6/6s/7/8 ‘what’s the fucking difference’ debacle. I am deeply disappointed in them here.

        That said, I hate ‘Cupertino Idiot-Tax’ comments - it’s offensive to Apple owners (the Company couldn’t give a shit), and it’s also wrong, lazy and overused. As I went into in a previous post. This is my personal commitment to El Reg, every time one of their authors uses it I’ll ask them nicely in the comments to grow the fuck up.

        Secondly - anybody that accuses Apple of having a smugness monopoly obviously hasn’t seen the Samsung commercials or launch events - which are just as bad.

        Don’t want smug? Don’t buy a flagship phone from one of the big boys. They’re all as bad as each other.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Obligatory

          'This is my personal commitment to El Reg, every time one of their authors uses it I’ll ask them nicely in the comments to grow the fuck up.'

          And it's my personal commitment to you dear commentard to down vote you every time you do.

        2. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Obligatory

          "This is my personal commitment to El Reg, every time one of their authors uses it I’ll ask them nicely in the comments to grow the fuck up."

          You're probably just egging them on with that comment, though.

        3. Steve Knox
          Facepalm

          Re: Obligatory

          "This is my personal commitment to El Reg, every time one of their authors uses it I’ll ask them nicely in the comments to grow the fuck up."

          Because! That's! Worked! So! Well! With! Their! Other! Memes!

          Seriously, man, this is a site of trolls. The writers, the readers, the commenters, the editors -- all trolls. "Biting the hand that feeds IT" -- get it? How could you not have gotten it in over EIGHT YEARS of visiting this site?

          But no, you've just done the one thing you don't do to a troll: you've exposed your weakness. Look forward to the phrase "Cupertino idiot-tax operation" showing up in every article even remotely related to Apple, and in every single comments section you ever participate in from here on out.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Obligatory

          " I have a passionate dislike of imbalance and unfairness - towards anybody, and anything."

          So does el Reg. Everything gets slagged off. That's balanced and fair.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Obligatory

          "I have a passionate dislike of imbalance and unfairness - towards anybody, and anything."

          That's dangerous ground to walk on, I can think of many illegal beliefs and persuasions that rightly get an imbalance and unfairness due to the nature of what they are because to be fair when discussing them grants them a right to exist.

          "That said, I hate ‘Cupertino Idiot-Tax’ comments - it’s offensive to Apple owners"

          What exactly is wrong this statement? Do you believe that iPhones are superior in some way to all other phones and deserve their ridiculous mark-up? Do people that buy iPhones buy them for the specs?

          An idiot is defined as a stupid person so is it not stupid to pay over the odds for something when you can get the equivalent or better at a much lower price just for the perceived "status" it gives you? I very rarely spend extra on designer clothes however that has nothing to do with status it's just because I know I will get years out of them because they are superior quality.

          Let me give you an analogy.

          I walk past two shops selling tins of tuna.

          Shop 1 sells the Tuna for £1

          Shop 2 sells the Tuna for £100, however the tuna is in a gold tin.

          I only want to eat the tuna, the tin is there for show while I eat it, would you call me stupid for paying £100 for a tin? Of course you would therefore idiot-tax is entirely appropriate. The only counter to this is that the goldfish are easy to weigh as they bring their own scales. Waka!Waka!

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Obligatory

            @AC ”What exactly is wrong with this statement? “

            Apple is more than just iPhones. My company has saved over $100m in maintenance and support costs over the last five years since switching to Macbooks from our previous mix of Lenovo, Dell and HP. - 95% of our support is now self-service, and the device lifecycle is now 5 instead of 3 years.

            As a decades-long Windows shop, going to Mac was a huge change for us. It was a decision based purely on 5-year ROI, and it’s proven to be an outstanding financial decision. Shiny had absolutely nothing to do with it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Obligatory

              Fair point but the article is about phones not Macbooks and I don't seem to remember the idiot-tax reference ever being used in relation to Macbooks.

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: Obligatory

                The Reg consistently refers to Apple as the Idiot-Tax operation. Has done for years, regardless of context. Links below are an example (Safari, iTunes, Qualcomm disputes and so on).

                PS My company clearly thinks that iPhones also represent a sound investment - our procurement droids are a penny-pinching bunch of tightwads and yet still decided to issue every employee with a 6S (now 7). I wasn’t involved in that purchasing decision so don’t have insight into the ROI, but I doubt very much they were blinded by the Shiny. I do know that corporate data security on mobile devices played a major role, and that it’s no good saving a few hundred thou on the device purchase if you then go and lose hundreds of times that following a major data breach. We use Apple’s MDM and DEP solutions which so far appear to be nigh on flawless in balancing corporate security with end-user ease of use.

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/10/apple_charges_safari_extension_devs_for_adp/

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/02/dont_look_now_apple_but_the_eu_regulators_are_back/

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/21/ios_11_screws_up_outlook/

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/06/qualcomm_apple_iphone_ipad_ban/

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/27/apple_lawyers/

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Obligatory

              Dear Lord Elpuss.

              You can close your support and introduce a 5 year cadence for PC as well?

              In fact windows probably works on older devices than contemporary macos?

              And finally, are you in your second year of this transformation?

              Lets wait two more years for batteries to loose their spark and firefox 89 refuse to start due to lack of ram or spinning disks go bad or simply never need more than a 120gb ssd....Oh wait If your users don't have higher requirements any pc or chromebook would also work, right?

              Screens are great though.

              1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                Re: Obligatory

                @AC

                We’re in the 5th year. Started as voluntary BYOD on the condition that users provided their own support with software funded through departmental purchases, and gradually transitioned to internal rollout. We retired our 1st gen 2012 i5/i7 MBPs starting April 2016; most have now been passed on to the employees for $150 pretax. The current gen MBPs (2017 i5 non-Touch Bar) have an anticipated 5 year lifespan, factoring in one battery replacement in that period. Lightweight users get an i5 MBA; those are still on 3-year cadence due to repairability and fragility. Primarily the hinge. Our rollout is a trial for Apple as well, they’re supporting us directly and we even have our own App Store. Every employee also has an Office365 subscription and that’s basically all the majority need.

                Modern PCs might be able to tolerate a 5-year cadence, but our experience tends to indicate this is over optimistic. OS fragmentation, updates, support calls and spurious hardware failures start to make this prohibitive after year 3/4. To be fair here, Lenovos have been the pick of the bunch; the T430s are still going strong (HW wise) 4 years in.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Obligatory

                  Lord Elpuss. Thanks for your honesty and reply.

                  1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                    Re: Obligatory

                    You're very welcome.

        6. Tim Seventh

          Re: Obligatory

          "I have a passionate dislike of imbalance and unfairness - towards anybody, and anything."

          Your balance and fairness: Everyone is good! No one is prefect. They will learn to be good. #PoliticalCorrectness

          El Reg balance and fairness: What is wrong with them? Why are they all like this? Looks like we need a new Facepalm and Fail icons. #Honest

    3. Scoured Frisbee

      Re: Obligatory

      After the last few gushing Apple articles I thought for sure the editors were trying to work their way into press invites. Guess Kieren didn't read the memo...

    4. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Obligatory

      'Grow. the. fuck. up.'

      Au contraire, by using a repeated phrase they are in fact following in the tradition of Homer the father of all western literature. It is you, thin skinned idiot-tax operation acolyte, who needs to grow the fuck up.

      1. handleoclast Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Obligatory

        @SkippyBing

        Yeah, I noticed Homer often repeats phrases. D'oh.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obligatory

      I can't decide whether to vote you up or down. On one hand "Cupertino idiot-tax operation..." is just the sort of attitude than means Apple are never going to respond to a Reg question. On the other hand it is a very succinct and accurate way to describe Apple's success.

      1. Nifty

        Re: Obligatory

        Actually Apple is protecting is shareholders as legally obliged from the weird and wonderful thing that is the US tax code. Once US has thought and done something about making it a bit more attractive for any US Corp to repatriate profits the the US, we'll have the right to moralise.

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Obligatory

      "Grow. the. fuck. up."

      Are! you! being! Serious!?

  10. Andy Tunnah

    I hate myself a little for how much I want this to be a full-on Note style issue.

    I know it's pathetic, but they're just SO SMUG

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      SMUG - are the Samsung owners in the Sammy ads. Particularly this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VH89uBFSyk. The ad's called Sibling Rivalry, and seriously - if she were my sister and kept giving me those patronising looks as she 'just does' stuff on her Samsung shiny, I'd make her eat it.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        As a samsung owner, gonna upvote you here, samsung are really no better than apple in this... the latest update to android 7 made my phone incredibly laggy. So my next phone won't be a samsung (won't be a jesus phone either tho)

        The take home from this is 'big companies suck, small companies also suck, but for other reasons'

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Samsung owners in the Sammy ads. Particularly this one: [Redacted]"

        Life's too short to spend it watching ads.

      3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        "SMUG - are the Samsung owners in the Sammy ads. Particularly this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VH89uBFSyk."

        Sorry tried watching the ad to see what you were talking about , but got near terminally bored about a third through. I guess I'm not the target demographic.

    2. Nattrash

      Huh? What's wrong with a Samsung? Mine flips open just fine without the need to recharge...

      1. whoseyourdaddy

        "Huh? What's wrong with a Samsung? Mine flips open just fine without the need to recharge"

        About a decade ago, two Samsung flip-phones failed inside the 2-year contract due to the cheapest PMIC chip available that caused me to switch to Apple.

  11. Graham Dawson

    Obviously they're receiving it wrong.

  12. tfewster Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Was "battery must not swell" in the requirements?

    If you sue one arm of a company and twist the other arm over prices, don't be surprised if they kick you in the 'nads.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be a component issue.

    I am pretty sure that Samsung had not planned on having phone turn into pocket heaters either. I suspect the batteries may come from an outfit that delivered good batteries when they were asked to supply a small number for development and QA, but immediately started cutting corners once they had the big order in.

    It's not new, but this is what you get when greed overrides QA and the problem takes some time to appear (in this case it appears they miscalculated - this should have happened after half a year or so, this can be addressed by a recall). This can hit any (phone) manufacturer. Of course, for teenage minds that will lead to schadenfreude, but for the companies at the receiving end this is a disaster. The same happened years ago with electrolytic capacitors - it took years before this crud was removed from the market, I suspect partly because dodgy component vendors would buy up the discarded stock and resell it in smaller volume to electronics shops.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Must be a component issue.

      "I suspect the batteries may come from an outfit that delivered good batteries when they were asked to supply a small number for development and QA, but immediately started cutting corners once they had the big order in."

      You may well be right but wasn't Tim Cook supposed to have been a supply chain specialist before he was elevated? This is the sort of thing such a specialist should be in control of.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Must be a component issue.

        You may well be right but wasn't Tim Cook supposed to have been a supply chain specialist before he was elevated? This is the sort of thing such a specialist should be in control of.

        The challenge is checking what's inside once the battery has been assembled. This is why I specifically referred to the capacitor debacle: once a battery is assembled, all you can test is its cycle behaviour (load capacity over time past various charge/discharge cycles) and do some artificial component ageing, but you normally no longer look inside the component.

        Although it's not customary to check the electrolyte, signs are that this complicated chemical analysis may need to be added because something is happening here that doesn't add up. I don't buy it that Apple doesn't test components to destruction, especially after the Galaxy debacle, yet somehow these batteries have made it past those checks. By the way, neither did I buy that from Samsung - Samsung's error was not to recognise the severity in time and react, but I must admit it is bit hard to believe that someone has found a way to get weaponised batteries past QA.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Must be a component issue.

          "you normally no longer look inside the component."

          But as you then go on to say it might be a good idea to check. It's the job of QA to keep a tight reign on the quality of components being used. It can't be an easy job if your company doesn't assemble the final product nor, I suppose do Apple route all supplies to the assemblers via themselves. The umpteen things that can go wrong in such a situation mean that they really need to put the effort into managing their supply chain.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Must be a component issue.

            "It's the job of QA to keep a tight reign on the quality of components being used."

            QA (quality assurance) is supposed to ensure that the production process from start to finish delivers the required quality to the end user. Note that the required quality may well not be anything like 6 sigma.

            QC (quality control) is the set of tests carried out at critical points in the process - like component delivery - to ensure that the QA system is in compliance.

            One of the places QA falls down is that it is subject to human factors - such as QC not being carried out properly either to get stuff out of the door or to save money.

            At the end of the day if you outsource, your QA can never be as good as if you build in house. That's for the simple reason that it is relatively easy to sack a dishonest production manager, relatively difficult to change large subcontractors. However, outsourcing can give better products if the technical processes of the subcontractor are better than your in house ones.

            It's an extremely difficult and complicated subject and Tim Cook can no longer give all his attention to it, as he has other jobs. It's just another example of why armchair CEOs are clueless - they just have no idea at all how difficult it all is. But modern manufacture is an enormous achievement, dwarfing even the moon landings (which were done on a wing and a prayer that would be rejected by any modern car or phone maker).

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Must be a component issue.

              "It's an extremely difficult and complicated subject and Tim Cook can no longer give all his attention to it, as he has other jobs."

              One of those ought to have been succession planning for his previous job.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Must be a component issue.

      but immediately started cutting corners once they had the big order in.

      Maybe some warehouse full of diverted Ex-Samsung stock?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Must be a component issue.

    Ah yes the "Capacitor Plague" (tm) which doomed many many (including mine) devices to a grisly demise.

    I tried repairing some but the damage turned out to be pretty severe.

    Looks like on older AMD boards when the capacitors fail it damages other parts.

    Graphics cards also, had one where the capacitor bulge caused heatsink to move tilting it off the GPU and resulting in a fail.

    Also more like schadenfraude.

    Data point here: had an Ipad do this once also two S6's and a couple of Crackberries.

    Seems to be common with certain batteries but you usually can't tell who the manufacturer is due to to them being wrapped in opaque black iWrap(tm) although did managed to get a part number off the underside of the iPad's cell(s).

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Re. Must be a component issue.

      "Ah yes the "Capacitor Plague" (tm) which doomed many many (including mine) devices to a grisly demise.

      I tried repairing some but the damage turned out to be pretty severe."

      It can go either way. I've had good luck replacing bulged capacitors-- I restored a router to full speed and a LCD monitor to working by replacing the capacitors. I had several more bulged caps in an older non-80+ rated PSU that was doing the typical things PSUs do when caps are bad, but I didn't really want to keep using something that inefficient and without PFC anyway, so I never tried repairing it. All three of those items came from about the end of the capacitor plague era (Wikipedia lists it as ending around 2007, normal caveats about the source stipulated), plus or minus a few years. The router would have been manufactured in 2008 at the earliest, possibly 2009.

      Notably, all of the capacitors affected were of the "widely considered to be crap" variety. Cheapo capacitors subjected to heat still bulge and die, I guess, even outside of the plague era.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re. Must be a component issue.

      Ah yes the "Capacitor Plague" (tm) which doomed many many (including mine) devices to a grisly demise.

      I tried repairing some but the damage turned out to be pretty severe.

      I got lucky. I had an LCD panel which started to develop problems so I opened it up. I found some bulging capacitors so I replaced all of them (including the ones that still looked OK on the principle that they could still fail later), and the screen has worked happily since.

      For the rest I appear to have escaped that escapade, which is just as well. Blown caps can make a right mess.

  15. cb7

    It's a ventilation feature

    The iPhone 8 includes a world first. When the phone detects that the new A11 Bionic cpu might be overheating, it opens up the case to allow the heat to escape.

    The allows the A11 Bionic chip to flex its muscles and deliver peak performance.

    :-D

    1. AGITA018

      Re: It's a ventilation feature

      To be fair to Apple they had this feature as far back as the iPhone 5s, there were swelling problems all the way back then, to Apple's credit they swapped the phone ( already a replacement for a failed fingerprint reader) without question even though it was well out of warranty. The guy in the Apple Store told me that it wasn't an uncommon issue with the 5s.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: It's a ventilation feature

        "all the way back then" ?

        Ii've just got a 5s (my first iThing) , and I can say at £0.00 I consider it excellent value . And after the windows phone it replaced it "just works" . Cant believe I said that.

        It does look cool though. all black .

        small - so it fits in my pocket

        Battery - great: at least 2.5 days

        still runs the latest OS, afaik

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Well Did You Evah!

    Have you heard?

    It's in the stars

    Next July we collide with Mars

    Well, did you evah?

    What a swell iPhone, a swell iPhone, a swellegant, elegant iPhone this is!

    ------

    In the style of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby in High Society.

    With thanks (and apologies) to Cole Porter for the original lyrics.

  17. abedarts

    Anyone going to talk about the issue being reported?

    Here we go again - you're and idiot because you own an iPhone, nah nah na nah nah.

    NO, YOU'RE an idiot because you got a different phone!!!

    (Going for the most down votes ever with this one - ears covered, peeking through fingers)

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Anyone going to talk about the issue being reported?

      I am guessing you are a fanboi from the number of incorrectly spelled words in your missive.

      Tiny thoughts please tiny minds

      Tiny trousers fit tiny behinds.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Anyone going to talk about the issue being reported?

      "(Going for the most down votes ever with this one - ears covered, peeking through fingers)"

      Have an upvote from me.

  18. scrubber

    iPhone opening

    Maybe it's giving birth to a Jobs-approved sized iPhone?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. Re: Must be a component issue.

    The "bad caps" are now making an appearance in expen$ive LED lights.

    Also found a few Samxon ones which are known bloatware (haha) that when they do fail the SMPS goes into runaway and feeds the LEDs 3-4* rated voltage and current.

    This was on a very expensive name brand bulb so doubtless someone forgot to include a suitable fusible resistor because the PCB has "FS1" and a simple track instead of a fuse as it should.

    https://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=49931

    Hint: If your equipment smells like fish, check it. Bulbs should not stink no matter how cheap they are, if they do and IR thermometer shows an upward trend its best to change them or at least check against new unit of same brand.

    Back to the battery issue, I came up with the idea of an induction scan way back and emailed it to Samsung. Not even a thank you but maybe they are using it already?

    Hint: due to screen construction battery has a lot of thermal balancing so it might be simpler to read it from the front, using that graphite sheet as a magnetic field reference.

    This is based on my personal research so if anyone wants to see the teardown videos and other fascinating experiments see asianhor.net

  20. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Joke

    Not entirely Apple's fault

    Like in Dog/Cat years, tech moves fast; smart phones have been around long enough that they are starting to show signs of middle-aged spread.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There will be no recall, cos its Apple

    As title says.Imagine the PR disaster if this were to ever happen. it is more cost effective for Apple to replace the reported dodgy ones promptly AND gag the media. (they have a lot of support there and can buy and manipulate news with well connected friends - after all they also have to think of the shareholder/s value).

    They would definitley play it down. Maybe already happening !

    Yet I do look forward to this happening in a full blown worldwide recall, just to watch and read the sarcasm and witty headlines, if it brings them down a notch from their arrogant, holier than thou smugness.

    Please, please, all media, give Apple thier due. St. Jobs might just rise from the dead, then.

  22. Inspector71

    Baby got (glass) back

    Nice to know there's a 90's rap fan amongst you lot if I am not mistaken.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love Apple.

  24. whoseyourdaddy

    The batteries failed. This happens when someone cut corners to get product out.

    But, they didn't short out and catch on fire.

    Not the same thing as Samsung.

  25. LaeMing Silver badge
    Go

    That's just swell.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Puffed up with pride?

  26. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Cables and chargers

    Samsung initially tried to blame the fires on punters not using the official charging cables…

    To be fair, this wasn't entirely unreasonable: there a lot of cables, and particularly chargers out there (especially Asia) that don't conform entirely with the specifications and can end up providing a lot more jizz than is safe.

    In the end, even though the number of devices with faults reported was comparatively low (< 1000 from the millions sold) Samsung was forced to do a complete and expensive product recall.

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Re: Cables and chargers

      To be fair, this wasn't entirely unreasonable: there a lot of cables, and particularly chargers out there (especially Asia) that don't conform entirely with the specifications and can end up providing a lot more jizz than is safe.

      I think all the bad press about dodgy chargers and cables and the like were about those items catching fire or overheating, it wasn't their effects on the device they were charging.

      The battery charge controller in a phone or laptop or tablet or whatever should stop the battery from frying no matter what voltage and current, ripple, spikes, noise etc. a dodgy charger and/or cable feeds it. The battery should never be exposed to an overvoltage or overcurrent charging state. Hoping someone doesn't use a dodgy device to charge their product and cutting corners on the charge controller is asking for trouble.

  27. hatti

    Popcorn app

    Some interesting choice for new mobes then, either one that bursts into flames or one that splits.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Batteries often the problem... I have a solution!

    What we need is some sort of zero point energy thing, maybe from Dilithium crystals, so we can have unlimited power from sub-microscopic sources for all devices without the need for wires, batteries or fuel at all. It'd be important when doing this not to destabilise the universe. That would definitely not be cool.

    Anyway, I've put the concept and vision out there. Hopefully a techie reading this can actualise it. I'd be fine with 20% of the profits.

  29. Dave 32
    Coat

    Fire in the Hole

    I recommend Apple users start practicing the saying "Fire in the Hole!", because it won't be long before the things start blowing up, probably while wedged in the back pants pocket of teenage girls' pants.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_in_the_hole

    Dave

    P.S. I'll get my coat. It's the one with a bottle of beer in the pocket. But, I'm not about to waste good beer putting out someone's flaming pants!

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Fire in the Hole

      Fire in the Hole?

      Where on earth do you keep your cell phone?

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Fire in the Hole

        The back orifice?

  30. Juan Inamillion

    Doctor Doctor...

    Take away the pain. Just leave the swelling...

    /dirty Mac

  31. PeterM42
    WTF?

    So why.....

    ......do the religious body of CRAPPLE users insist on paying well over the odds for something which is obviously such poor quality?

  32. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Well played, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 team, well played.

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