A fresh case of Apple’s new iPhone popping open due to a swollen battery has been reported in state media in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market where the U.S. firm is seeking to revive faltering sales.
The incident comes as Apple investigates similar cases reported in Taiwan and Japan of batteries in its latest iPhone 8 Plus becoming bloated, causing the device’s casing to open.
On its website on Thursday, China’s state-backed ThePaper.cn cited an iPhone buyer surnamed Liu as saying his newly purchased iPhone 8 Plus arrived cracked open on Oct. 5. There was no sign of scorching or an explosion.
Liu told ThePaper he bought the handset through online marketplace of JD.com Inc. He said he did not charge the new device and returned it to the seller.
Pictures taken by Liu and displayed on ThePaper’s website showed an iPhone 8 plus split open along the side featuring the sim card holding, with the phone’s internal parts visible.
An Apple spokesperson said the company is looking into the matter and declined to comment further.
The incident comes as indifferent reviews of the iPhone 8, which comes 10 years after Apple released the first version of the revolutionary phone, drove down shares of the company since the handset’s launch.
Some investors worry whether pre-orders for the device were well below previous launches, although some Apple fans are waiting for the premium iPhone X due out in early November.
Apple competes in China with local makers, including Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Oppo which sell phones with high-end features at lower prices.
Two customers in Asia earlier claimed the model’s Plus sized handset split at the seams after it had been charged.
It is not yet known whether these are isolated incidents or part of a wider problem but Apple is said to be looking into the issue.
Pictures on website Apple Daily claim to show a Taiwainese customer’s rose gold handset, which has split along the top and sides.
According to reports, the £800 ($800) iPhone burst after the customer, known as Ms Wu, had charged it using an officially supplied charging cable.
Ms Wu, who claimed to be a loyal fan of Apple products, said she had just bought the handset for three days when it apparently burst.
She said she had paid 28,900 TWD (£716) for the 64G iPhone 8 Plus and planned to use it to watch films, checking Facebook updates and taking pictures.
According to Ms Wu, the iPhone 8 Plus had around 70 per cent battery when she plugged it in and it burst open three minutes later.
The Apple dealer has reportedly replaced Ms Wu’s iPhone 8 Plus with a new one.
Mr Zhang, the owner of the dealer, told EBC news that the burst could have been caused by battery expansion.
Mr Zhang said he was very surprised that a new iPhone 8 Plus should come across problems so quickly.
Another user in Japan shared images to Twitter claiming to show the screen separating from the body of his device.
In both cases, there does not appear to be any visible signs of overheating or exploding.
Gases inside the phones may have leaked or expanded, causing the ‘bursting’ effect.
Apple is reported to be aware of the claims and investigating them further.
Many reports of this nature do turn out to be fake, upon further investigation.
Slight variations in production may account for a handful of manufacturing defects, and this is common to most new devices.
This may account for the two isolated cases that have been reported so far.
However the Cupertino-based firm may have a bigger problem on its hands if further reports begin to emerge.
Apple’s early iPhone launches saw snaking queues of fans outside its stores, with many camping overnight to get their hands on the firm’s latest devices.
But the iPhone 8 launches at stores across the globe on September 22 were a far cry from the hysteria on display seven years ago.
There were just modest queues of iPhone fans photographed outside Apple’s flagship stores in London, Sydney, Amsterdam, and Shanghai.
The muted response to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus launches led some commenters to suggest the phones have sold poorly and that poor reviews are to blame.
However others claim that the rise of online pre-orders and Apple’s new appointment-based pickup system are to blame as a trip to the high street is less likely or is staggered.
Many also believe the imminent release of Apple’s flagship £999 ($999) iPhone X, overshadowed the launch with die-hard fans choosing to wait until it is available.