Apple fined more than 78 million yuan? It’s all caused by waterproof publicity!


With a scream from me, the new iPhone 12 mini, which was less than half a month old, slipped from my hand into a bathtub full of water. My brain was blank for a moment, and then I quickly picked up the phone like a reflex. Come up.

▲ Suddenly no photos were taken after the incident, which is probably the case

The moment the iPhone 12 mini was fished out of the water, a thought suddenly flashed in my mind. The current iPhone has IP68 water resistance. It has only fallen into the water for a while, and it should be fine to wipe it dry.

When I carefully checked the water in the phone, the iPhone 12 mini automatically turned on the screen, and then faceID recognized my face and launched a push. It turned out to be a message pushed by an information app: Apple was fined 10 million for waterproofing. EUR.


Apple fined 10 million euros? Yes.

According to foreign media reports, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) fined Apple 10 million euros (approximately 78.53 million yuan) because Apple made misleading claims about the waterproof function of the iPhone. The affected iPhone models can be traced back. IPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in 2017.

AGCM criticized Apple for not being clear enough about the waterproofness of the iPhone. It stated that the claim that the iPhone can have a waterproof function of up to 30 minutes at a depth of up to four meters only applies to certain situations, such as exposure to pure water. Control laboratory testing. The regulator also criticized Apple’s disclaimer, saying that although it sells water-resistant phones, water damage is not part of the iPhone’s warranty.

As early as 2018, AGCM issued a fine of 10 million euros to Apple for restricting the performance of aging battery equipment.

What exactly is IP67/68?

In the product introduction page of Apple's official website, almost all the iPhones currently on sale will regard water resistance as one of the important selling points, and convey the message of "iPhone is strong in water resistance" through vivid visual pictures.

The IP67/68 standards that everyone is more familiar with, what do IP and 678 stand for?

IP is the abbreviation of Ingress Protection. The IP rating is the degree of protection against the intrusion of foreign objects in the enclosure of electrical equipment. The source is the standard IEC 60529 of the International Electrotechnical Commission.

To evaluate the anti-solid and waterproof performance of the shell, mainly look at the two digits XX at the back of IP XX. The first X is the dustproof level, from 0 to 6, the highest level is 6; the second X is the waterproof level, from 0 to 9. The highest level is 9.

The relevant testing in China is based on the requirements of the GB ∕T 4208-2017 enclosure protection level (IP code) standard, which conducts conformity assessment tests for the enclosure protection levels of various products.

Theoretically, hardware equipment that meets the Chinese IP68 standard should be free of dust and the amount of water in the enclosure after continuous diving should not reach harmful levels.

IP68 is defined, why do users have questions?

From the perspective of theoretical definition, many parts of IP68 are regulated as "unclear", which may be due to consideration of practical and commercial factors. Some expressions leave a lot of space, and the expressions of businesses are relatively general.

1. There is a gap between the test environment and the real environment

As smart hardware with high frequency and high mobility, mobile phones need to face a variety of different and constantly changing living environments.

For example, an hour ago, the user was still scanning Weibo in the office, and an hour later he returned home and watched his mobile phone in the kitchen to learn cooking, and then put his mobile phone outside the bathroom to play songs. This season is still in Guangdong, where there is no winter. It is used in the province. During the New Year, it returns to Heilongjiang, where the average temperature is more than ten degrees below zero. He usually lives in low-altitude areas and immediately travels to Tibet. This allows some equipment that meets the IP68 standard to "turn over" in real scenarios. In extreme cases, even a little water may cause damage to the equipment.

▲ Under special conditions, maybe a glass of water can cause the phone to enter water

Users are just ordinary consumers. If they don't understand these professional knowledge, most people think that "IP68 that a certain brand says is fooling people", and then post their experiences on the Internet, which strengthens the public's negative perception of the brand.

2. The components used to prevent dust and water are aging or failing

The explanation of IP68 water resistance on the iPhone 12 Pro page is as follows:

There is a very critical sentence: Splash-proof, water-resistant, and dust-proof functions are not permanently effective, and the protective performance may be reduced due to daily wear.

The dustproof and waterproof function of the hardware is mainly realized by silicone parts, glue and adhesives. For example, many mobile phones use silicone rings to seal the SIM card slot and volume buttons, but in smaller places, such as the motherboard and microphone. At the place, glue and adhesive are preferred for sealing.

▲ There is a silicone ring inside the SIM card slot

▲ The adhesive inside the phone

These materials have two common problems. One is that the sealing performance will decline with natural aging, which is unavoidable, and the other is that they may fail due to external environmental influences, such as an inadvertent collision or beating, and numerous thermal expansions. Shrink and so on.

So we saw an interesting scene. Some people on the Internet felt that certain brands of mobile phones have good waterproof performance. "I often take a bath and wash it when I feel dirty." "It's okay to take underwater photos many times while swimming." "It's been more than a year, but I still wash it often." Some people say, "It's too rubbish and it will be broken if you accidentally touch it with water." "It's been flooded after less than half a year."

Good things don’t go out, bad things spread for thousands of miles. The majority of users who have not overturned the car in normal use are silent, but even if only a small amount of equipment gets water, they will be put on the Internet by users, causing a problem of "a certain brand of mobile phone waterproof problem is The illusion of "large-scale phenomenon" is the survivor bias effect.

3. The merchant's explanation is not in place

For ordinary users, most people only pay attention to the most conspicuous product descriptions given by the merchants, and seldom check the inconspicuous small print descriptions carefully.

Just like beef instant noodles, we saw the big chunks of beef in the most conspicuous position of the package. We opened the package with great expectation but found that the ground beef was almost invisible. There was a feeling of being deceived. Looking at the package carefully, we found that "pictures are only Reference" that line of small print.

▲ A life that has not been fooled by instant noodles is an imperfect life

In this regard, manufacturers such as Huawei and OPPO have done a better job than Apple. The detailed conditions are stated on the product pages of some mobile phones:

▲ Picture from: Huawei official website

In just three clauses, at least users have a clearer understanding of IP68. The conditions for achieving waterproof and dustproof are specific. IP68 is not a "diamond cover iron shirt", but a rigorous standard.

Why is the waterproof phone not covered by the warranty?

Before discussing this issue, let us summarize what IPXX is in simple sentences.

It is a dustproof and waterproof grade standard tested in a specific environment and under specific conditions, and may become invalid with the passage of time and changes in environmental conditions.

This is the first problem of "waterproof mobile phone without warranty". Dustproof and waterproof performance is an unstable state. After the mobile phone is flooded, it is difficult for users or businesses to define and verify "Is the water meeting IP68?" Entered under the conditions of

Whether the purity and temperature of the water meet the requirements, how deep the water is, how long the immersion time is, whether the waterproof performance of the mobile phone has decreased, etc. Once disputes arise between merchants and users, there is basically no solution.

▲ The environment of daily use of mobile phones is very complicated, and it is also related to everyone's habits

Secondly, there are deceptive behaviors among gray products and some users. For example, deliberately let the old mobile phone get water, then replace it with a new one or request free repair.

For example, according to the Silicon Valley technology media The Information report, two Chinese students collected damaged or even knock-off iPhones from China, and then went to the official Apple store in the United States to "replace old for new" and "replace fake for new". The amount involved was as high as US$900,000. Having to upgrade the after-sales policy, the service process has become more complicated.

Imagine that if the mobile phone gets wet, it can be repaired free of charge. Under normal circumstances, the flooded mobile phone basically cannot be repaired. The merchant has to directly replace the customer with a new mobile phone. What is the final result?

If the law stipulates that all mobile phones that are flooded are warranted, it was originally out of good intentions, but in areas with more dishonest behaviors, it is equivalent to encouraging dishonest arbitrage behavior in disguise. The final result is that the better the after-sales service is, the easier it is for merchants to go bankrupt. The coins were driven out by bad coins .

However, this does not mean that manufacturers can use the "existence of arbitrage behavior" as a reason to evade their own responsibilities, and give clearer product explanations and popularize the conditions for satisfying the IPXX standard, which are also obligations that should be fulfilled.

What really needs to be done is quality inspection and market supervision to ensure that every mobile phone that claims to meet the IP68 waterproof standard is qualified and reaches the consumer's hand, in order to rebuild consumers' trust in the market and brand.

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