Now if this was any other phone, I could easy pull off the cover, remove the battery, and stabilise the situation. But iPhones, as you know, don't allow you to access the battery at all. So what I had in my hand was effectively a lit brick which was getting hotter and hotter.
Now if you need emergency help with your phone, who should you call? Apple right? So I called the Apple helpline and told the guy the problem, emphasising that the iPhone was getting hot and asking what I should do.
The first thing the Apple guy did: ask me for my details, like the phone number, phone serial number, the exact outlet I purchased it from, etc etc.
I was like... dude, the phone is heating up. It's starting to get almost too hot to touch, and you're asking me the phone serial number??? The best part was when I flipped it over to see if the serial number was imprinted on the back, the CSO told me that to get the serial number, I could press the home button and... it was at this point that I told him again: the phone is dead. Luckily my dad kept the box so I could read the serial number off the sticker. All this while, the phone is getting hotter and hotter and the flash is starting to flicker.
After that, the Apple CSO tells me that the phone is still under warranty but the phone call-in service has expired, and also since it was accidental immersion, the warranty doesn't cover, so I will need to bring the phone back to SingTel.
Then he pauses. Then I pause. Then I say: "THAT'S IT???"
He says yes that's all, to which I remind him that dude, the phone is overheating, how do I switch it off? I was so exasperated that I just blurt out, "If this was a Nokia, I could just remove the battery but I can't remove the battery in an iPhone...." (I almost said "thermal runaway".) Then he finally grasps the urgency of the situation, and then tells me to put it "in a safe place so that it will not catch fire" (I'm like, the phone itself is the heat source, so where can I put it that it won't spontaneously combust?) and he calls his tech support guy to talk to me.
The tech support guy comes on the phone after about 2 minutes and asks me to press this and press that and to hard reset, but everything he tells me to do has no effect. He then says, "The iPhone comes with a safety feature that automatically shuts down the phone when it gets too hot... but in this case, since it was dropped in water, the battery is grounded, that's why the flash is on." (To which I wanted to say, "So that means your safety feature is not working what.") And then he tells me: since the phone is not responding, I will have to bring it down to Comcentre to shut it down.
I'm like... the phone could be melting in my hand and the only place I can bring it to is Comcentre??? And he says yes, nowhere else nearer can help me. So my dad and I jump into the car and head down to Comcentre, with the aircon blowing at full blast at the phone to mitigate the heat.
Guess what: before we even got there, the flash went off. The battery must've run out. -_-
The overall chain of events left me with an even worse impression of the iPhone. It's good—when it works. But when it screws up, its strict insistence of not allowing third-party interference is actually now counter-productive (I can't think of any other reason why they designed the phone such that the battery couldn't be accessed). There was really no way to isolate the battery and prevent it from potentially melting the phone. (In some way, it reminds me of the PAP, but that's another story for another day.)
What I found more disappointing was that in spite of this design flaw, when I called Apple, they were more concerned with certifying the warranty-state of the phone and making sure that we were within the allowance for phone assistance rather than attending to an immediate time-critical problem (caused by their own design, I might add). I really wonder what I could have done had the phone start to emit smoke or melt that day. Thank God it didn't and I hope I will never know, because there's no way I'm buying an iPhone now.
§ Tags: darwin award; online bitching
§ Location: Singapore