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Exploding iPhone total rises as Oz officials probe alleged fakes

Wave of Chinese counterfeits to blame?

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Yesterday, it was eight. Now the total of iPhones that have allegedly exploded - or at last suffered a catastrophic cracking of the screen - has risen to 11.

The new tally comes from French newspaper Nouvel Observateur which has listed many of them.

This week, France's consumer affairs agency, the DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes), said it has launched an investigation into the claims.

Apple's response remains cautions. These are, it says, isolated cases and that it can't comment any further until it has had a chance to examine the handsets involved.

According to Orange, Apple's main carrier partner in France, it has sold than 1.2m iPhones in the country. More than 10m have been sold worldwide. Outside France there have been only a few incidents of alleged self-harming iPhones.

Right now, it's impossible to say whether the list of incidents - a fair few from the south of France - marks a real problem for Apple's quality control team - or is a sign that France has recently been the destination of a raft of dodgy counterfeit handsets.

It might well have been.

In Australia, local customs officials have said they are to investigate media claims that a colleague allowed up to 10,000 counterfeit iPhones from China to pass across the border unchecked. The handsets were subsequently offered for sale in Sydney pubs and backpacker hostels, the Australian newspaper alleges.

It says one seller told them the handsets cost as little as Au$18.50 ($15.37/£9.48/€10.78) to source, which doesn't bode well for the build quality of the devices - or, more importantly, their batteries.

While there are no indications that any these phones have cracked or exploded the way the French ones have, if the Australian handsets do indeed prove to be fakes, it suggests that there are major attempts on the part of counterfeiters to cash in on the iPhone craze.

It's not hard to imagine some of these entering Europe too. ®

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