Oh, the many woes of being an early adopter in the Beta software world. The software might crash, causing you to lose all your work! It may have gaping security issues, leaving an entry way for malicious misdoers! It may start your stuff on fire! Wait, what?
According to developer Gus Pinto (who sum ups his life in under 140 characters as “Pioneering Mac Desktop Virtualization. iOS, Mac & Android Development”), that last bit is exactly what happened to his iPhone 4 running a Developer Beta build of iOS 5.
Early this morning, Gus tweeted out “My charging cable caught on fire while charging my iPhone 4 running iOS5. #fail”, providing the above shot to back up his claim.
Fortunately, the fire didn’t spread much beyond the cable — Gus says he “putted it out” after noticing the “small flames.”
We’ve heard many, many reports of the iOS 5 Beta causing the iPhone 4 to run considerably hotter, but nothing like this. Slightly warmer handsets (or, say, decreased battery life) tend to come with the Beta territory. Be it inefficient code or that someone accidentally commented out a line and disabled some heat fail-safe, it’s just a fairly common occurrence for a Beta OS to run a bit toastier than its fully-certified counterparts. This is definitely the first time we’ve heard of a Beta letting a handset get warm enough to start meltin’ stuff, though.
Now, before you go locking your Beta’d iPhone 4 up in a fire-proof safe and burying it five feet underground: this is almost certainly a bit of a fluke. We’re assuming that at least one or two other things came together to form a sort of perfect storm here, otherwise we’d be hearing a whole lot more complaining from people whose cables went all pyro on them. Maybe the cable was old; maybe there was a defect specific to his device; maybe it was a particularly hot day. Maybe all of the above? None of these are even close to a valid excuse for a cable bursting into flames, of course, but it seems unlikely that iOS 5 was the sole factor at play here — so be a bit cautious, but don’t go dousing your phone in water just yet.
We’d expect that Apple will be in touch with Gus regarding all this sooner than later.