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Anxiety as Apple’s iPhone 7 joins Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 to catch fire

Apple Inc. said it’s investigating a customer’s claim that her iPhone7 began making strange noises and puffed white smoke without warning last week.

It would be recalled that Samsung experienced similar problems with its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year, some of which overheated due to a manufacturing defect in their lithium-ion batteries. Samsung ultimately pulled the device from the market; a move the company said resulted in a loss of nearly $5.5 billion.

An 18-year-old Arizona woman posted video of the smoking smartphone on a social media page. The phone, an iPhone 7 Plus model, is seen sitting on the woman’s bathroom sink with white smoke emanating from the device.

The woman, Brianna Olivas, said she was awakened morning by squealing sounds the phone was making as it lay on a dresser near her bed. When her boyfriend saw the smoke, he threw it into the bathroom.

Olivas said she bought the phone in early January and never had any trouble with it until this week — when the device would not power up, even when sufficiently charged. When on one attempt the phone did power up, it became inoperable again after a short period of time.

Whereas Apple said it is looking into the matter, Olivas said the phone’s screen had also become tinged with a yellowish tint in the days before it exploded, and that employees at a Sprint store where she raised concerns with the phone didn’t seem concerned that anything was wrong with the device — even though they were also unable to power it up.

“I knew something was wrong with the phone, but [Sprint] told me nothing was wrong,” she said.

Apple introduced the iPhone 7 last September, and Olivas’ malfunction follows a few others that have also overheated to the point of combustion in the last five months. Last fall, the company offered free replacement batteries after some customers reported their 6S models had been powering off unexpectedly.

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