Just when Apple was basking in the spotlight for unveiling its brand new iPhone 15, the company hit a snag. France has officially halted sales of the iPhone 12, citing concerns over elevated levels of electromagnetic radiation. The French regulatory body, ANFR (Agence Nationale des Fréquences), has also instructed Apple to make necessary corrections to the existing phones in the market.

The Regulatory Hurdle

Jean-Noel Barrot, France’s digital minister, specified that the ANFR found the iPhone 12’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) to be above the legal limit. The SAR is a measure of how much radio frequency energy is absorbed by the human body. According to European Union standards, the SAR limit for mobile devices is 4.0 watts per kilogram. The iPhone 12, however, clocked in at a SAR of 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests that simulated close contact with the human body, such as being held in the hand or kept in a trouser pocket.

“If they fail to respond within two weeks, I am prepared to order a recall of all iPhones 12 in circulation,” Barrot stated. “The rule is the same for everyone, including the digital giants.”

A Global Standoff?

Interestingly, France plans to share its findings with regulators across the European Union. Barrot hinted at a “snowball effect,” suggesting that other countries could follow France’s lead. Apple, however, is not taking this lying down. The tech giant is contesting the ANFR’s review, providing lab results that, according to the company, prove the device is in compliance with all relevant global radiation standards.

The World Health Organization Weighs In

Contrary to the French regulator’s stance, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that there’s no substantial evidence to indicate that exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields is harmful to humans. “No adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use,” states the WHO website.

The Timing and What Lies Ahead

The timing of this development is crucial. It coincided with the same day Apple announced its iPhone 15, which marks a significant shift by adopting a universal USB-C charging port. This move was in line with new EU regulations aimed at reducing electronic waste.

Apple now faces a two-week deadline to resolve the radiation concerns related to the iPhone 12. A failure to act could not only result in a recall in France but could potentially set a precedent for other countries in the EU.

How to check if you have an iPhone 12

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on About.
  4. The model number of your iPhone will be listed under Model Number.

Final Thoughts

This incident serves as a reminder of the complex regulatory landscape that big tech companies navigate. While Apple is busy rolling out new models and features, compliance with health and safety regulations remains paramount. Whether this episode will have a lasting impact on Apple’s market share and brand reputation, or if it will merely be a hiccup, remains to be seen. As the clock ticks for Apple, all eyes are on how the tech giant will address this unprecedented challenge.