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Reports of overheating Apple Watch SE in South Korea may be local issue

An alleged overheating Apple Watch SE in South Korea [via Reddit u/cozyplanes]

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A number of Apple Watch SE users in South Korea are allegedly reporting overheating issues with their wearable devices, with claims some units are getting hot in use and burning the user's wrist.

Apple introduced the Apple Watch SE as a low-cost entryway to Apple Watch ownership alongside the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6. However, in the case of some users in South Korea, the device is enduring some post-launch teething issues.

A post on Reddit claims there have been multiple instances where the Apple Watch SE has overheated, and either damaged itself or was on the way to cause harm to the user. The post includes six instances between October 10 and October 19 where problems occurred, all taking place in South Korea.

The issues occurred within a few days of using the smartwatch, and seems to be manifesting in a similar way, with roughly identical locations for heat damage on the display. While some discovered the issue when the Apple Watch was left on the charger, others wearing the device found it warmed up while on the wrist, and caused at least one user to suffer a burn on their wrist.

The post speculates that the location of the issue is above where the display connectors are located, between the Taptic Engine and the Digital Crown. The deduction was made by analyzing teardowns of earlier models, as Apple reused designs and components for the Apple Watch SE, and there has yet to be a public teardown of the model.

Of the six cases, the owner got a refund or exchange from Apple in three instances, with a personal response from headquarters supposedly expected within the coming days.

While the reports indicate there could be a problem with the model, it doesn't seem to be a widespread issue, as there are no reports found on social media for similar problems, nor reports in AppleInsider's collated Apple service department data. The highly localized issue suggests it may be a faulty production batch at worst, ant not a model-wide problem.