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Chinese police probe iPhone user's death by electrocution

Apple set to launch investigation as family demands answers

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A Chinese family wants answers from Apple after a 23-year-old woman died after being electrocuted when answering a call on her iPhone.

Ma Ailun, a former flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, tried to take the call on her smartphone while it was charging, according to a micro-blogging post from her sister on Saturday seen by Xinhua.

"[I] hope that Apple can give us an explanation. I also hope that all of you will refrain from using your mobile devices while charging," the Sina Weibo post apparently reads.

Local police in the city of Changji in north-west China’s Xinjiang province confirmed to the state-run news agency that Ma died of electrocution, although investigators have yet to establish whether the iDevice played a part.

The Register didn’t receive a response from Apple at the time of writing, but Cupertino sent Xinhua a statement on Sunday saying it was "deeply sorry for the unfortunate accident".

The US giant is set to launch its own investigation into the incident and said it will also co-operate fully with the on-going police probe.

The tragic incident comes just days after the Chinternet was all abuzz with news that an iPhone 4 had exploded in a Chongqing man’s bedroom while he was asleep, setting fire to his mattress and pillow. Although the unprompted explosion filled the room with smoke, Wang Kailin escaped unharmed, according to a local media report.

The incidents are unrelated but will do little to help Apple’s reputation in the People’s Republic after the firm was mauled by the state-run press back in March over “unfair” customer services practices.

CEO Tim Cook was forced to apologise soon after in a bid to head off a consumer backlash, but there’s a sense that its shiny devices have already lost some of their sparkle among consumers in the Middle Kingdom.

That the company has lost some lustre is evident thanksTrendForce's study from April in which the analyst outfit claimed that more than half of Chinese fanbois are thinking of switching to a Galaxy S4. ®

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