As Apple was soaking in the limelight after the launch of its new iPhone 15, a regulatory speed bump in France has cast a shadow over the tech giant’s older model, the iPhone 12. France has officially put a halt to the sales of this model due to exceeding legal limits on radiation exposure. Following France’s lead, other European nations like Belgium and Germany are now considering similar actions. But what does this mean for Apple and the broader landscape of mobile technology in Europe?
Belgian Regulator Steps Up
Mathieu Michel, Belgium’s state secretary for digitalisation, informed Reuters that the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (IBPT) has been immediately tasked to assess the iPhone 12’s compliance with radiation norms. “We immediately asked the IBPT for confirmation, or at least an analysis, and this is currently underway,” Michel stated.
Germany Follows Suit
Germany’s network regulator BNetzA has also shown interest in the French findings, suggesting that France’s work could “act as a guide for Europe.” The German authority will delve into the issue further once the process in France reaches a mature stage.
Italy and Britain Hold Off
Italy’s industry ministry has stated that they are closely monitoring the situation but have no immediate plans for action. Similarly, Britain, where the iPhone 12 met radiation safety standards upon its release, has not announced any new scrutiny following France’s decision.
Apple has not taken the French ban lightly, arguing that the iPhone 12 complies with global radiation norms. The company has provided lab results defending its position and stated that the device has been certified by multiple international bodies.
The World Health Organization’s Take
In contrast to France’s stringent measures, the World Health Organization maintains that there is no conclusive evidence to support the claim that low-level electromagnetic fields pose health risks. “No adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use,” states the WHO.
Revenues and Market Share
Apple’s revenue in Europe totaled about $95 billion last year, and the region is its second-largest market after the Americas. According to some estimates, Apple sold more than 50 million iPhones in Europe last year. With the iPhone 12 making up a portion of these sales, the scrutiny could have ripple effects, albeit potentially limited ones given the age of the model.
DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte said, “Limiting iPhone 12 sales, in and of itself, should not be that impactful for iPhone. We would be more concerned if newer models were involved.” Forte also pointed out that Apple could face bigger issues, like new data regulations in Europe and potential restrictions in China.
Wrapping Up: A Regulatory Quagmire or a Brief Setback?
As Apple navigates this intricate regulatory landscape, it faces a crucial two-week deadline to address the radiation concerns in France. A failure to do so could set a precedent, inviting similar actions from other European countries. While it remains to be seen whether this episode will have a lasting impact on Apple’s market share and brand reputation, it certainly serves as a wake-up call for the tech giant and the industry at large.