Pathetic Politics: The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards is Considering a Recall of Apple's iPhone 6s
In September when the U.S. government forced the first recall of the Samsung Note7, a top Korean tech news site went ballistic calling the U.S. recall a clear sign of protectionism to assist Apple. The Korean report stated that "Although Samsung Electronics is looking for ways to solve this situation such as even recalling the entire quantity of Galaxy Note 7, a controversy has reignited as American authorities are taking a variety of excessive actions. Rather than simple problems involving a product, some believe that American Government is trying to protect its industry." Then in October another Korean press report attempted to cause a controversy over a smoking iPhone 5s onboard a Korean airline flight. Korean Air reported the incident to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the authorities started the investigation into the cause of the incident." The South Korean press is obsessed over the Note7 recall and discontinuation and blame it on Apple. So it's no surprise that a new controversial move has arisen today.
According to a new Korean report, South Korea's industrial standardization bureau said Wednesday it is mulling over an investigation into Apple Inc.'s iPhone handsets, which randomly shut down despite battery remaining.
The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) said it is looking into the matter as the iPhone 6S battery problem could potentially be a safety issue, like Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which underwent a global recall over a safety risk.
"The agency is well aware of recent iPhone issues and is taking a close look at it," said a KATS official not to be named.
Apple earlier said iPhone 6S devices that were manufactured between September and October 2015 showed battery malfunctions, adding that it will replace the battery for free.
However, there are media reports in China that other iPhone 6 smartphones also power off randomly with battery remaining for no apparent reason.
Also, a Chinese consumer watchdog reported several users have claimed that their handsets caught fire or exploded.
"However, this does not mean that an investigation was launched," the official said, adding everything is under review.
The agency, which has a right to order a national recall, said it is in talks with Apple Korea, the local unit of Apple.
Apple said "a very small number" of iPhone 6S devices malfunctioned and that the shutdowns did not constitute a safety issue.
Apple, which immediately launched a battery-exchange program in China, came under fire in South Korea for a belated response, which included initially notifying users about the program in English."
There's been absolutely no link between iPhone 6s batteries shutting off prematurely and fires or a safety issues. This has been an obsession of the Korean press to retaliate against Apple for the U.S. shutting down Samsung's Note7 sales. This obsession, this anger, is misplaced and it's apparent that Samsung is using the press to vent their anger. For now at least one rational KATS official is on record in a second report published today stating that "As there have been no reports of injuries here, it remains to be seen whether we will launch a probe into the firm and the problematic devices." And yet the Korean tech press is playing this up loudly to score political points with Samsung.
At the end of the day, if the Korean inquiry pushes for an iPhone 6s recall over this battery issue, and more importantly, over a non-existent safety issue, then we'll know it's pure politics playing out to appease Samsung's lingering anger and embarrassment over having to kill their beloved Note7 that was rushed to market to outflank the iPhone 7. For now, lets hope that cooler heads prevail.
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