Apple sought to reassure the French government on Friday that several recent cases of its iPhones cracking and allegedly exploding were not caused by product defects, but were the result of improper handling by users.
The secretary of state for trade and consumer affairs, Herve Novelli, met with Apple France's financial director Michel Coulomb to discuss the issue and possible actions, according to Novelli's office.
French media have reported more than 10 cases of iPhone screens cracking or phones exploding.
Apple's chief European spokesman, Alan Hely, said the company was investigating “a small number of recent safety reports.”
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Hely said no cases of batteries overheating had been detected and that broken screens on the iPhones were due to too much external pressure applied to the phones.
Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., has sold 26 million iPhones since introducing the product in 2007. France was one of four markets where it introduced its newest model of the multimedia mobile phone, the iPhone 3GS, this summer. Europe accounts for about a fifth of Apple's revenue.
The first high-profile case of a malfunctioning phone came in early July, when an iPhone reportedly shattered and sent glass into the eye of an 18-year-old from Aix-en-Provence.
Frank Benoiton, of Acheres-la-Foret, said the screen of his wife's iPhone cracked without warning last week.
“It was not dropped and experienced no unusual shock,” he said. After reporting the incident, Apple e-mailed him that his phone will be replaced, free.
“I am very satisfied about that,” he said. “I wasn't trying to get a new phone, just a new screen, but sure, why not?” Bloomberg News contributed.