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Apple posts charger warning

By Yu Wei in San Francisco | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-26 12:12

Tech giant Apple Inc has added a new page to its China website following the death of a Chinese flight attendant who was believed to have been electrocuted by using a fake iPhone charger.

The web page says that Apple always puts customer safety first, that all of their products go through safety and reliability tests, and are designed to meet worldwide government safety standards, including the iPhone and iPad USB power adapters.

Apple recommends using the supplied USB power adapter and USB cable, adding that these adapters and cables can be purchased from Apple and Apple authorized dealers.

The company also provided details on how to identify authentic Apple USB power adapters.

Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old flight attendant in Changji, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, was electrocuted two weeks ago when she picked up her iPhone 4 to answer a call while it was plugged in to an electrical outlet.

Apple sent a four-people investigation team to the city on July 18 and communicated with the local authorities to work on the investigation, according to local media.

Although the cause of the tragedy is still under investigation, video released by China Central Television suggested that the victim was likely using an unauthorized iPhone 4 charger.

Anna Han, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, said there could be several causes of electrocution - wiring, outlet and so on - but "the charger could certainly be a factor".

"Without knowing more, what Apple advised is probably a good point. Many Apple compatible accessories are sold and I think consumers often buy the non-Apple items because they are cheaper," Han said.

"However, if some of them pose a danger, then using the genuine product is probably a good idea. If it turns out that the cause is something else, then this warning is jut an added precaution and still harmless," she said.

China has become Apple's second-biggest market, after the US. The company's Chinese sales last year totaled $23.8 billion, which was 15 percent of total worldwide revenue.

Apple's Q3 earnings report on Tuesday showed a sharp drop in its Greater China Region revenue. A 43 percent decline from the previous quarter and a 14 percent decline from a year earlier marked the first time revenue fell for the region.

Some analysts attribute this revenue slide to Apple's less diversified product lines.

"The Chinese market is very diverse, which puts pressure on companies to create products to serve the different segments," said Andy Tsay of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.

Tsay said Apple's rival Samsung offers a much greater variety of phone and tablet products and that Apple has so far "resisted this kind of strategy but might not be able to hold out much longer".

Greg Linden, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, said, "Apple created the modern wireless computing market through innovation, and it can only have leadership of the market if it continues to surprise and delight consumers," he said.

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