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'External force' fractured French iPhones, says Apple

Batteries not to blame

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Apple has claimed that all of the iPhones it has examined which allegedly underwent sudden screen shatter did so because of pressure applied to the outside of the handset.

"The iPhones with broken glass that we have analysed to date show that in all cases the glass cracked due to an external force that was applied to the iPhone," the company said in a statement quoted by the BBC.

Almost a dozen cases of disintegrating iPhone displays have been reported this month, all in France. Today, a Belgian boy claimed his Apple handset went foom, too.

Unlike many handsets, the iPhone's screen is protected by a layer of glass rather than plastic, the better to prevent the scratches seen on iPods in the past.

In many instances, the handset's owner said the phone appeared to vibrate before the screen suddenly cracked. Some also claimed the glass splintered, in two cases allegedly leading to eye injury.

The explosive quality of these examples led many observers to suspect overheating lithium batteries, though the stories of shattering screens don't mention smoke or fire almost always seen when such power packs detonate.

Indeed, Apple said "there are no confirmed battery overheating incidents for iPhone 3GS", though it didn't mention previous models.

It insisted that "the number of reports we are investigating is in the single digits". ®

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