back to article iPhone 12 deemed too hot to handle for France's radiation standards

Apple's launch party for its latest iPhone was marred slightly yesterday as the French National Frequency Agency (ANFR) told the company that its iPhone 12 breached electromagnetic wave limits. At issue is the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) observed on the iPhone 12, which the ANFR has said exceeds European limits. The phone …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I suppose they'll just send an update to lower the maximum power when operating in France. If the range becomes inadequate users will just have to buy a new shiny. It'll improve battery life - where did I hear that before?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      While you might be right about Apple reduce the power, rendering it almost useless is likely to leave Apple in whole different world of trouble with the French.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        The maximum power limits are only hit when a phone is on the edge of range from the tower, so all it would do is make your phone stop working in the outer fringes of distance from the tower where it needs maximum power for the tower to hear them - basically in places where you see only one bar today. And probably only in certain bands. I imagine Apple could release this update and few would notice except people who get only one bar of reception in their house.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Exactly. And if that's not good enough there's a new Ooh Shiny just out.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In a smaller country it would perhaps be unnoticed. But absolutely barking mad huge areas of France are extremely rural and the phone signal is shit...especially in mountainous areas like the Pyrenees etc.

          The infrastructure in France isn't great for comms in quite a lot of parts of France.

          There are large areas of France where it is still impossible to get broadband and large numbers of people still use dial up. I'm not kidding! It's a similar story with mobile networks...any Frenchies here living in the Pyrenees? Tell us what it's like.

          Just like Britain isn't in London, France isn't in Paris.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      France also has some additional regulations on Bluetooth.

  2. mmccul

    "Apple unsurprisingly rejected the ANFR's claims. It told The Register that ..."

    Apple actually responded to The Register?

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Jesus H.C !!

      Now THATS news!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And they just dropped that bombshell casually on us unsuspecting readers. We've got the right to know when Apple started talking to ElReg again! What happened? Was there lawyering involved, maybe the signing of a secret binding agreement using a vulture quill dipped in vulture blood?

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "Apple unsurprisingly rejected the ANFR's claims. It told The Register that ..."

      Apple actually responded to The Register?

      This isn't the same The Register of old...

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Yes, looks like they asked, and Apple replied.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          The Reg having people based in Silicon Valley versus all in the UK like in days of old probably helps, just from better overlap of time zones.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "While the iPhone 12 had no problems with the "trunk" limit, it exceeded the "limb" limit."

    Holding it wrong?

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      > While the iPhone 12 had no problems with the "trunk" limit, it exceeded the "limb" limit.

      That's the elephant in the room...

    2. Mishak Silver badge

      I need to look at how the test is done

      It sounds strange to me that the "close to the body" test gives lower readings that the "at a distance" test.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: I need to look at how the test is done

        Measured in W/kg therefore presumably there's more kilograms to absorb those Watts in the trunk than in the limbs (=near vs far)

        1. Mishak Silver badge

          Re: I need to look at how the test is done

          True, but you also have to factor in propagation and directionality (and therefore what percentage of the radiation is absorbed by what mass).

          As an aside, it always amuses me the way people fuss about "radiation from the mast" when the field strength to someone holding a phone is much, much lower than that generated by the device they are holding.

      2. Woodnag

        Re: I need to look at how the test is done

        It sounds strange to me that the testing was done 3 years after product release.

        1. RM Myers
          Coat

          Re: I need to look at how the test is done

          Yes, that does seem rather quick by French bureaucracy standards.

          1. Korev Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: I need to look at how the test is done

            >> It sounds strange to me that the testing was done 3 years after product release.

            > Yes, that does seem rather quick by French bureaucracy standards.

            Yeah, it can take that long to prove you're not dead...

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I need to look at how the test is done

        It sounds strange to me that the "close to the body" test gives lower readings that the "at a distance" test.

        They have different limits.

  4. Binraider Silver badge

    So what about the whole raft of laptops that, if actually used on a laptop, run a hell of a lot hotter than any iPhone in normal operation?

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Do you hold your laptop to your ear usually?

  5. Emjay111

    I had dealings with the French approval authorities whilst working for a major consumer electronics manufacturer. They were unforgiving. If our products didn't meet the same specification as the pre-production sample, nothing was getting onto their market.

    And don't get me started on their insistence that multi-lingual instruction manuals were unacceptable, ditto for box labelling. I think you get the picture here....

  6. steelpillow Silver badge
    Boffin

    Geekology

    Ex-electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) test engineer here. Usually, European national bodies such as ANFR follow the standards set by the EU authorities, CENELEC and/or ETSI. These in turn follow the internation bodies such as CISPR and the IEC.

    So what we evidently have is ANFR testing a random sample and finding it wanting. Strangely, they do not necessarily accept that the original sample or exercise regime, put forward by the manufacturer for formal testing, necessarily reflects (sic) the production version in use. How can anybody not trust Apple? Aww.... Anyway, the burden is now on Apple to show that the ANFR result is either flawed or incredibly rare. No show, no deal, it's how all EMC consumer testing works.

  7. DS999 Silver badge

    So it took them three full years to determine this?

    It isn't as if the phones spontaneously started emitting higher power. Any French citizen actually worried about this should probably be more worried about how backlogged they appear to be in such measurements. How many phones have been introduced to the French market by all OEMs in the past three years, and they are only getting around to Apple now? Good luck getting some off brand Android that sells less than a quarter million a year tested in less time!

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: So it took them three full years to determine this?

      > and they are only getting around to Apple now?

      It'll be a long long long time before they get to Zyxel, then...

      1. DS999 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: So it took them three full years to determine this?

        Oh no, I hear France just banned the 9600 bps Zyxel modem I bought 30 years ago!

        Nuke icon in case that's true.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: So it took them three full years to determine this?

          > Oh no, I hear France just banned the 9600 bps Zyxel modem I bought 30 years ago!

          I'd have thought you'd have got baud of it years ago...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So it took them three full years to determine this?

      They tested 141 phones. Between our vacations, lunches, and strikes, hey, it takes time. Also, of course, finding a phone plan for extended families to get 141 phones for cheap.

      https://www.anfr.fr/liste-actualites/actualite/retrait-temporaire-du-marche-de-liphone-12-pour-non-conformite-de-ces-appareils-a-la-reglementation-europeenne

  8. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    W/kg

    Ghost of Steve Jobs: You're not eating enough.

  9. Mike Flex
    Boffin

    Eh?

    "It is measured in watts of power"

    There are other sorts of watts?

    1. KarMann Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Eh?

      Well, there are the ones I hear people talk about in phrases like 'kilowatts per hour', which presumably must be a measure of energy, instead.

      </PetPeeve>

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      There are other sorts of watts?

      No - but power is also measured in "Where's" and "why's".. As in "where the hell is the power going" or "why the hell is it drawing so much power?"

  10. Tron Silver badge

    Macron is hugely unpopular.

    Maybe the French government are hoping to get a refund from Apple for every French iPhone-owning citizen, to buy a few gratitude votes.

  11. thosrtanner
    Mushroom

    There's more than one sort of radiation, you know.

    PLEASE. First time I read that, I thought iPhones were radioactive. If it's emitting too much Electormagnetic radiation, then say so in the headline.

    1. Anonymous Cowpilot

      Re: There's more than one sort of radiation, you know.

      "radioactivity" (gamma radiation) is also electromagnetic radiation (at the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum). I am fairly sure you weren't thinking that the phones emit large numbers of beta particles (they will emit small amounts of beta particles because the Carbon-14 isotope is present in many organic materials).

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: There's more than one sort of radiation, you know.

        The distinction is that these standards are for non-ionizing radiation. That is confined to EM fields (including electric, magnetic and electromagnetic) with photon energies below that of hard ultraviolet light / X-rays. All nuclear radiation is ionizing, and is subject to separate legislation. The English language is such that the term "radiation" should be understood in the context in which it is mentioned, one does not endlessly repeat obvious qualifiers.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like