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As EU Investigation Intensifies, Apple Attempts To End The French iPhone 12 Controversy

As EU Investigation Intensifies, Apple Attempts To End The French iPhone 12 Controversy
In order to resolve a dispute over radiation levels, Apple promised on Friday to upgrade the software on iPhone 12s in France. However, worries in other European nations suggested Apple may need to take similar steps abroad.
Following tests that the country claimed revealed violations of radiation exposure restrictions, France this week stopped sales of iPhone 12 smartphones.
Apple refuted the findings, claiming that the iPhone 12 was approved by numerous international organisations as meeting all worldwide requirements, but announced on Friday that it would release a software update to take into account the French testing procedures.
Over the past two decades, numerous studies have been undertaken to evaluate the health concerns associated with mobile phones.
The World Health Organisation claims that there is no evidence linking them to any negative health impacts.
However, the radiation warning in France, which was based on test results that were different from those of other nations, has raised worries throughout Europe.
Germany claimed it was in contact with French authorities to come up with an EU-wide solution, while Belgium stated it will launch its own investigation. It was unclear right away if it may also entail a software update for the entire bloc.
Meanwhile, a government source claims that Italy would ask Apple to update the software on iPhone 12s there.
The Dutch Authority for Digital Infrastructure stated that it was in contact with Apple as well as German and French authorities and that it was also launching its own inquiry, which was due in two weeks. The organisation reported receiving calls from worried customers.
The rather dated iPhone 12 model, released in 2020, should be able to resume sales thanks to Apple's software upgrade, which was warmly welcomed by the French government.
"We will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators. We look forward to iPhone 12 continuing to be available in France," Apple said in a statement.
"This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern," it said.
For its computers and phones, Apple regularly releases software upgrades, most of which correct security flaws. They may be model- or region-specific, and occasionally Apple releases such updates many times per month.
The sale of the iPhone 12 was suspended because, according to France's Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR), its Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) was higher than permitted. SAR is a measure of the rate at which radiofrequency energy from a piece of equipment is absorbed by the body.
2020 saw a change in French legislation that made it possible to test SAR for limbs, such as those carrying a phone, in addition to the head and body, which are used elsewhere. The iPhone 12 failed the French limb SAR testing, where the measurement distance is 0 mm as opposed to 5 mm for body tests.
Regulatory limitations based on the risk of heatstroke or burns from the radiation from the phone were set much below levels where scientists have found evidence of harm, according to industry experts, thus there are no safety hazards.
"Ultimately I suspect the whole incident will be quickly forgotten," said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, highlighting that the iPhone 12 is an old model.
On Tuesday, Apple unveiled the iPhone 15, and the iPhone 12 is no longer on sale from Apple. However, it can be acquired from outside sources who have inventory or traded for used mobile devices.
A potential recall, which France had warned if Apple had baulked at making a software update, would have been a bigger problem.
In terms of revenue, Europe was Apple's second-largest market after the Americas with about $95 billion in sales. According to some estimates, it sold more than 50 million iPhones in Europe last year.
The American business does not separate its sales by nation or model.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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