So why did that iPhone 4 combust? Can it happen to you?
So the news has (understandably) gone massively viral overnight, as the report came in of a Regional Express flight passenger's iPhone 4 going a bit beserk: presenting "a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow."
Nobody was harmed and the flight attendant did his duty by promptly extinguishing the glow; but the big questions here need to be answered before I go anywhere near a plane with my iPhone: what happened? And could the situation be symptomatic of all the iPhone 4s out there?
As we reported before, the iPhone has been sent straight to The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) for analysis. "They have the iPhone and will pull it apart," a spokesman from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) commented. However, except for that, it's all be rather tight lipped on that front in regards to the situation at hand, so Mashable has done a little bit of digging themselves to get an answer through other means.
Their first call was Michigan co-founder of Apple device service and modification specialist firm Rapid Repair, Aaron Vronko, who explained that the most likely pattern of use for this situation to occur would be a combination of a battery cell defect with the failure of the iPhone's battery-temperature management system (the Thermistor), caused possibly by the phone's owner charging the phone and playing a graphically intense game simultaneously.
“Watching a video or playing a high-powered game is where max power use can occur,” Vronko said. “Then batteries have a much higher likelihood of cell failure when charging as opposed to not charging.”
There has been no cases of any of Apple's portable 'i' products overheating in this sort of case via producing smoke or a red glow, and with this in mind Vronko has concluded that this is probably an isolated incident, or at least an extremely rare occurrence.
“I wouldn’t necessarily tell people to change their behavior,” he said. “It was probably just something wrong with that particular cell.”
Of course, we continue to await a response from ATSB after their analysis.