Apple to investigate death of iPhone 5 user
A Chinese woman has died after allegedly answering a call while the smartphone was charging.
Apple will investigate the cause of a Chinese woman’s death, the company confirmed to Reuters on Monday.
Last week, Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old woman from China’s Xinjiang region, was allegedly electrocuted when she answered a call on her iPhone 5 while it was charging, according to the China-based Xinhua news agency.
In an e-mailed statement to Reuters on Monday, an Apple spokesperson said the company is “deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family.” Apple “will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter,” the company told Reuters.
Reports of malfunctioning smartphones have cropped up from time to time. Occasionally, people will post pictures of a burnt smartphone or burns they got when handling a device. In some cases, however, the reason for the problem is not the device itself.
Apple said Monday it would investigate claims that a Chinese woman was killed by an electric shock she received when answering a call while the device was charging.
The claim quickly drew attention after a woman in the western region of Xinjiang wrote about the death of her 23-year-old sister Ma Ailun on China’s popular microblog service Sina Weibo.
“We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter,” said Apple’s Beijing-based spokeswoman Carolyn Wu, offering condolences to the family.
The state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday that local police had confirmed Ma died of electrocution but “have yet to verify if her phone was involved”.
Ma’s sister warned others not to use their phones while they were charging and asked Apple to provide an explanation, saying on Weibo on Saturday: “What a shame, to pass away like this.”
Weibo users responded with concern about the potential danger but also questioned if the claim was real.
“If the accidents are real, let’s be more careful when using our mobiles,” one person said, but added: “Is someone trying to smear Apple?”
China is Apple’s second largest market but the company recently came under criticism from state media in April for alleged “arrogance” and double standards, prompting an apology from chief executive Tim Cook.
The People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, slammed the firm for five days in a row, urging consumers to “strike away Apple’s unparalleled arrogance”.
Chinese consumers had to pay about $80 for new back covers for their devices, even though they were free in other markets, local media reported at the time.
In a Chinese-language letter, Cook said “we sincerely apologize for any concerns or misunderstanding”.
Apple had “many things we have to learn” about operating in the country, he added.