A 51-year-old Colorado woman told Mashable her iPhone 4 burst into smoke just inches from her head last week — and she has the photos to prove it.
The woman — who spoke on the condition that her name not be used — says she was traveling on the East Coast and sleeping alone in a hotel room with the phone plugged in to an Apple charger on the nightstand “12 to 14 inches from my head.”
About 6:30am, she awoke to to a strange smell and “sizzling” and “popping” noises. Then came “not quite an explosion, but an immense crackling,” as the room filled with smoke.
“It was an awful, putrid smell, almost like you were ingesting plastic of some kind,” she said in a phone interview.
She jumped from bed and used her laptop case to pick up the phone and throw it in the hotel room sink. The hotel smoke alarms failed to work, she said. An electrician found nothing wrong with the room’s power outlet.
She said she bought the white iPhone 4 about a year ago at an Apple store in Colorado.
The woman said she came to Mashable because of Apple’s unwillingness to publicly acknowledge the incident to other iPhone owners.
“It’s so important for me to have people know about this,” she said. “They’re giving me the classic corporate runaround, and I understand and respect that. But people knowing about this is the most important thing to me.”
This appears to be the first case of a self-combusting iPhone 4 in the United States. But in late 2011 similar incidents were reported in Australia and Brazil.
Both of those incidents involved an iPhone 4. The iPhone 4S does not appear to be affected by the combustion issue. When the woman requested a 4S upgrade for her defunct phone, she was given another iPhone 4.
Mashable has contacted Apple; we have not received any official comment from the company.
“I would have liked to have seen them say they understand this might not be something that affects everyone,” the woman said. “But, because it happened here, [they should] put up a precautionary statement to make people aware that if their battery becomes too hot to be wary.”
Had the combustion happened half an hour later, she said, she would have been in the shower with the sizzling, smoking phone blocking her path from the bathroom to the front door. Had it happened the night before, the phone would have been charging in another room in her mother’s old house.
“Maybe I’m naive,” she added, “but I really hate when companies have to wait for fatalities or something awful to happen before they do something.”