The iPhone 4 catches fire, and we’re not talking about sales

Jul 9, 2010
Tech

An iPhone 4 caught fire while attached to a computer, the lead item in today’s App Industry Roundup. Also, is iAd math different? Holy flaming iPhone 4, Batman First, the iPhone 4 was plagued by an apparently bad antenna design. Now, there’s a new worry: flaming iPhone 4’s. In an exclusive story on the Boy Genius […]

An iPhone 4 caught fire while attached to a computer, the lead item in today’s App Industry Roundup. Also, is iAd math different?

Holy flaming iPhone 4, Batman

First, the iPhone 4 was plagued by an apparently bad antenna design. Now, there’s a new worry: flaming iPhone 4’s.

In an exclusive story on the Boy Genius Report, a flamed-out iPhone 4 was returned because “the brand new iPhone 4 caught on fire while being hooked up to a computer using the Apple USB cable that accompanied the device.” Neither AT&T nor the Boy Genius, who follows iPhone matters as closely as any Internet news outlet, had seen a flaming iPhone before. Hence, it appears this could be an isolated incident.

However, in the comments section of the Boy Genius post, blogger Carlos Martins wrote the following: “A couple days ago, while doing a UStream from my iPhone 4 I had to plug it to charge it (while streaming), and in a couple of minutes I got my first ever ‘excess temperature’ warning – with the iPhone entering safe mode! Yesterday, as I plugged it to charge at night like usual, it began heating up seriously!”

Other commentators thought the story might be a hoax, but the Boy Genius Report notes that “an Apple Store did confirm to our AT&T connection that this did appear to be a defective USB port and not some sort of user error.” The damage to the phone was severe and it did slightly burn the owners hand, according to the story. “The USB port in the phone was slightly melted and the cord was badly melted.”

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Ouch.

Is iAd math different than regular math?

A report surfaced Thursday that said one app developer earned $1,400 in a single day using Apple’s new iAd ad serving platform for apps.

According to Business Insider, “Jason Ting started selling an app yesterday that turns the LED camera flash on the iPhone 4 into a flashlight. The free version of the app is supported by Apple’s iAds, and with 9,000 downloads yesterday, made it into the no. 8 spot of free utilities, Ting tells us. Not bad!”

But another app developer, Kenneth Ballenegger, notes in his post that we need to “put these numbers in perspective.” Because of iAds slower refresh rate for ads, the eCPM number being tossed around for ads is too high. “Most competing ad networks refresh their ads every 30s. iAd does it every 3min. Thus, for the time it takes iAd to display one ad, another network gets to show 6,” Ballenegger writes.

Still, he notes that the iAd eCPM appears pretty high and is very encouraging. However, both Ballenegger and Ting caution that the iAd platform is so new that the novelty factor of clicking on an ad at this point is likely adding to inflated numbers.

Patent trolls strike again

Finally, the patent-holding company that cost Research in Motion $600 million is now going after Apple, Google, Microsoft and other companies in the mobile space, according to a New York Times report. NTP, which holds key patents surrounding mobile emails, filed suit against those companies Thursday.

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The dispute surrounds how email is exchanged over mobile networks, and NTP believes it holds patents for the technologies that the mobile device makers are “are infringing with impunity.”

We shall see how this sorts out, but NTP’s huge settlement with RIM, which makes the BlackBerry, is obviously concerning. The New York Times piece offers a clear and interesting debate on whether NTP (and other companies like it) that buy patents are trolls, or if they have legitimate cases.

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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