After all these years of people telling us that planes are going to start dropping from the sky like dead birds if we don't turn off our smartphones during takeoff, it looks like the real threat might actually be the planes killing our smartphones.
Okay, planes are probably not killing your devices, but apparently an iPhone blew up during an Australian flight landing in Sydney. Passengers on Regional Express flight ZL319 were startled when someone's iPhone went demonic and started smoking profusely and glowing red.
Here's the airline's official statement on the incident, which they are calling "self combustion":
Regional Express (Rex) flight ZL319 operating from Lismore to Sydney today had an occurrence after landing, when a passenger’s mobile phone started emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow. In accordance with company standard safety procedures, the Flight Attendant carried out recovery actions immediately and the red glow was extinguished successfully.
All passengers and crew on board were unharmed.
The matter has been reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) as well as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for investigation and directions. The mobile phone in question appears to be an Apple iPhone (see picture below) and has been handed over to ATSB for analysis.
As promised, they provide a photo of the malfunctioning device. Although it's unclear whether the device is an iPhone 4 or and iPhone 4S, what is clear is that something happened to this thing. It kind of looks like part of it exploded. Check it out:
There have been sporadic reports of iPhones running hot and "exploding" in the past, and The Next Web suggests that the battery housed on the right side of the device could be to blame for the problem.
Whatever the issue, I'd like to think that it's the planes fighting back. For too long, people have secretly been activating their devices on takeoff and landing - against the wishes of aviation officials (however suspect they might be). It looks like the planes have begun to take matters into their own hands. Be warned: if you use your phone while landing it will be spontaneously combusted.