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Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 10:15 am PT (01:15 pm ET)

"Exploding" iPhones in Europe prompt Apple-led investigation

Following various reports of exploding iPhones and iPod touches, Apple has reportedly informed the European Commission that it has begun a probe into the matter.

In a new report from Reuters, a spokeswoman from the European Union's consumer safety division stated that Apple is gathering information on a number of events in which users allege devices running the iPhone OS exploded. Apple has reported the incidents to the union as "isolated," but will do tests to determine the possible cause.

"What they've said to us is that they consider these are isolated incidents," Helen Kearns said at a news briefing. "They don't consider that there's a general problem."

A spokesman for Apple in Europe added little else: "We are aware of these reports and we are waiting to receive the iPhones from the customers. Until we have the full details, we don't have anything further to add."

Earlier this month, a report from the U.K. over a supposed exploding iPod touch said the company attempted to refund the family only if they agreed to keep quiet. In that case, an 11-year-old girl reportedly dropped the device, at which point it hissed, popped, and flew into the air. After the family requested a refund, Apple sent a letter denying any liability on the company's part. It also asked the family to "keep the terms of existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential."

Reuters also cites a recent incident in which a French teenager was "slightly injured" when his iPhone made a hissing noise and shattered. The boy's mother is considering taking legal action against Apple.

Earlier this year, Apple was sued over an alleged exploding iPod touch in Ohio. In that suit, the complainant states that a second-generation device exploded, set a person's pants on fire, and caused second-degree burns.