An image of a seemingly exploded, badly damaged iPhone 7 surfaced on Reddit Wednesday, and some media outlets (as well as social media) are already comparing this to the seemingly never-ending Samsung Note7 Explodegate.
While we don’t know what really happened to that iPhone 7, chances are the incident is very different to what’s happening to Samsung’s Note7 devices — and there’s a good chance the phone didn’t explode (at least not on its own) at all.
Reddit user kroopthesnoop posted the first photo of the phone, claiming a coworker had pre-ordered it and that it had arrived in that condition. In later updates to the Reddit post, he claims Apple and AT&T are aware of the incident, and will send a replacement phone.
Jokes about Apple stealing features from Samsung aside, and judging by the set of photos shared on Imgur and Reddit, it appears that the iPhone was severely damaged during transport. Its packaging is punctured, and the phone itself has a large dent on the back, indicating that the damage was inflicted with a physical blow. The burnt parts of the packaging indicate that the battery did catch fire at some point, but that sometimes happens to batteries when you apply a lot of physical force to them (right, hoverboard industry?).
It’s also possible the iPhone did really explode on its own, causing all the damage to the packaging, but it just seems less likely — especially since the phone was probably brand new and turned off during transport.
For comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 devices overheat and their batteries sometimes explode (apparently due to an unusual error during the manufacturing process), but mostly when the phone is on and charging.
It’s absolutely possible for an iPhone battery to overheat and even explode — it has allegedly happened in the past. But these have always been isolated incidents, and — judging by what we know about this story so far — this one is not indicative of some bigger issue.