Since reports have surfaced of its iPhones exploding randomly across the European continent, Apple has been trying to keep a low profile while dealing with the situation.
Earlier in August, a European Commission spokeswoman said Apple was looking into a situation it considered to be "isolated incidents" and said it was aware of the media reports, which include a case in which a teenager in France was slightly injured when his iPhone began to make a hissing noise before shattering.
Now it seems Apple has determined "external force" to be the primary culprit in the crackups. Following the opening for an investigation by French authorities in the wake of numerous cases of reported iPhone malfunctions, Apple determined there is nothing in the manufacturing process, and certainly nothing wrong with overheating batteries.
"In all cases the glass cracked due to an external force that was applied to the iPhone," London-based spokesman for Apple Europe Alan Hely said in an e-mail to Bloomberg news service. "There are no confirmed battery overheating incidents for iPhone 3GS, and the number of reports we are investigating is in the single digits."
However, according to AP, Herve Novelli, France's secretary of state for trade and consumer affairs, met with Michel Coulomb, Apple's French commercial director, to discuss the "causes of the implosion of these devices and eventual measures they could take." Novelli has since confirmed Apple's interim findings, but also said non-Apple experts in the United States are examining three problematic iPhones brought from France and are planning additional tests.
"The first results show, according to Apple management, that the iPhones weren't damaged by a battery defect leading to an explosion, but that there had been a prior shock that cracked the screens," he said.
Apple's iPhone combustion issue may not be going away so quickly, however. AP also reported Frank Benoiton, of Acheres-la-Foret south of Paris, found his wife's iPhone shattered without any prior warning. The phone's carrier, Orange, and Apple originally declined to replace the phone, claiming the damage was caused by the user, but he later learned from Apple his phone would be replaced for free. "I am very satisfied about that. I wasn't trying to get a new phone, just a new screen, but sure, why not," he said, adding, "It was not dropped and experienced no unusual shock."