iPhone 8 Plus Allegedly Splits Open While Charging, Apple ‘Looking Into’ Reports

iPhone 8 Plus Allegedly Splits Open While Charging, Apple 'Looking Into' Reports


  • Only two cases have been reported so far
  • iPhone 8 Plus battery being blamed
  • Apple is “looking into” the issue

Apple is said to be investigating two reported cases of iPhone 8 Plus ‘splitting open’ thanks to swollen batteries, which have been circulating on the social media. The news comes merely few days after the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus went for sale in several markets. Reports have emerged from Taiwan and Japan.

Apple has confirmed that it is “looking into” the two reports where the iPhone 8 Plus casing opened up, according to The Independent. For now, the Cupertino-based giant declined to further comment on the issue. It’s not certain what caused the problem, and it’s being thought to be a battery failure, which causes it to swell up.

A Taiwan-based report by ifeng, shared by The Next Web, last week claimed that a iPhone 8 Plus unit cracked open while charging, possibly due to a swollen battery.

ifeng claims that iPhone 8 Plus faulty battery was reported by a woman named Wu, who renewed her phone contract and bought 64GB Rose Gold iPhone 8 Plus. Wu noticed the swollen battery five days after purchase when the handset was plugged for charging. Notably, the faulty iPhone 8 Plus battery issue has been reported by Wu who was using the bundled charger and adaptor. The report adds Wu noticed the front panel bulging out just after three minutes of charge, and it finally came completely off from the device. The report claims that the iPhone 8 Plus unit was replaced and has been sent to Apple for investigation.

In another similar incident, a Japanese iPhone 8 Plus user noticed the screen eventually detaching from the chassis possibly due to swollen battery issue. The Japanese user shared images of the faulty unit on Twitter which attracted over 14,000 retweets.

For now, there are just two reports of isolated incidents, so it’s best to wait for the results of the company’s investigation into the issue before jumping to conclusions about the iPhone 8 Plus, and possible similarities with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled last year due a fire hazard related to the battery.

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Apple iPhone 8 Plus

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Looking for insights in all the wrong places

Image result for Looking for insights in all the wrong placesRecently, an article appeared in the New York Times titled, “Why You Should Read Books You Hate.” I didn’t read it. I already practice what the article was advocating: I only read writing by those with whom I disagree.

I have rationalized this habit by proclaiming: I already know what I think, so I am better served by trying to understand what somebody who disagrees with me thinks. But, as of late, I have come to a different realization. The main reason I read books by people I disagree with is to better understand my own thinking and my work as a strategic planner.  

Like brand strategists across the country, our strategic-planning department was “woke” by the 2016 election. Was there something that we were missing about people living in “red states”? So, we sent a team to America’s heartland to do ethnographic research and inform a talk called “100 Million People You Don’t Know, But Should“ at this past year’s SXSW.

What I found most interesting was the understanding that they brought back about “coastal elites”— about themselves.

Our conclusion was that people like us who work in Santa Monica, Calif., are actually taking cues from everyday living in places like Fargo and Omaha. Commonplace activities like baking pies, knitting and forming close connections with family and heritage are aspirational for my colleagues and me. In Sioux Falls, they are daily life. What we call the “Farmers Market” is just called the market in communities we visited.

For me, this is a fascinating insight about people living in Southern California. It points toward a desire for rootedness or connectedness and brings up questions of how we deal with often competing desires for freedom versus tradition.

Most importantly, this was not the picture of “coastal elites” gained from some of the typical ways we study them. Our team started with an MRI survey and looked for where the coasts differed from the heartland. The profile was of ambitious people, driven by discovery and success. Our team resented this cardboard portrayal of themselves. In the end, our understanding did not come from differences between coasts and heartland, which is what you get from indices. It came from the similarities.

Typically, when marketers study a customer group we look at how they behave, how they live, what motivates them. We do focus groups, ethnographies and look for where they index high in MRI or Simmons. These are all still valid and important. My department has been asking, though, whether this approach leads all marketers to the same place. What if we know too much about who our target audience is—and not enough about who they are not?

As an undergraduate, I studied at Boston University with Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. His class “Exile and Redemption” looked at exile from a variety of different perspectives. The mark of Wiesel’s teaching was that he didn’t tell us what to conclude. I was led to a simple observation that has stuck to this day: To be redeemed, one must first be exiled. We must venture outside to have a deeper experience on the inside.

As we think about our job in marketing, it strikes me that a similar principle may be true. To understand a particular audience, perhaps we may need to step outside of that audience. Can we enhance our understanding of Gen Z by studying retirees? Can we gain new insights about Hispanics by studying Koreans?

Reading books that you hate is a way to get out of a bubble. We need to start looking for insight and understanding in some counter-intuitive places. Maybe I will see some of you at next year’s Conference on Homelessness, which I will be attending on behalf of several of our home-products clients. To really stretch beyond what we think we know, we must look at the opposite of that truth. It’s true in life and I’m learning that it’s also true in marketing.

David Berne is EVP / chief strategy officer at ad agency RPA.

3 big insights for fashion brands looking to compete with Amazon

L2, the business intelligence platform that tracks brands’ digital performance, held a clinic yesterday in New York for fashion brands looking to compete with — or simply stay afloat amidst — Amazon’s rise.

It’s a hot topic of late, and for good reason: Amazon has seen a $64 billion growth in overall sales since 2010. What’s more, 52 percent of Americans currently have Amazon Prime. To compare, L2 pointed out that just 51 percent attend church monthly and 49 percent own a landline telephone.

While many have been suspect of Amazon’s ambitions in the fashion space, and whether it can really pull them off, L2’s founder Scott Galloway believes the company has effectively declared war in the space. “This is a company that has conspired with consumers and technology to destroy brands,” he said, alluding to shoppers’ preferences for low prices and the sophisticated algorithms the company relies on.

But there are a few insights, outlined below, that brands can use to either leverage Amazon’s power for their own benefit or compete with them directly.

alexa-cp-dotAmazon’s Echo Dot, with Alexa voice activation

Get in bed with Alexa
Voice, in general, is on the rise, according to Greg Hedges, the director of strategy at Rain Agency, who predicts user growth in the space will increase from 390 million in 2015 to 1.83 billion by 2021. He went so far as to call this coming paradigm shift the “Age of the Ask.”

Amazon currently has the first-mover advantage on access, purchase intent and reach in that space with Alexa — the voice service that powers their Echo device — and L2 believes they will continue to dominate in the space.

As a result, if brands don’t do the work necessary to get involved with voice — specifically by creating skills and actions (the voice version of apps) for Alexa — Amazon is going to use that very tool to kill off many of the brands we know and love.

As L2 pointed out, the company is already working to drive more consumers to shop via Alexa than their website by offering discounted prices for most items purchased via voice. When you use Alexa to shop, you’re not surrounded by the usual visual cues from other brands, lending more power to Amazon’s preferred recommendations. “They will slowly but surely take control of your preferences so that they’re the ones Amazon makes the most margin on or that are Amazon Private Label,” said Galloway.

To mitigate this, brands will need to develop the aforementioned skills and actions that are popular enough on Alexa to drive direct brand purchases that are equally as seamless as those purchases made via Amazon’s marketplace. Everlane, for example, could create a shopping skill for all of their best sellers, allowing consumers to opt for their coveted tees or loafers over Amazon’s selection.

Hedges did offer one warning, however. “Think of voice as a product, not a campaign or a one-off,” he said. “Alexa’s the proxy, but how can you make sure she’s using your brand voice?”

il_fullxfull.2894834781Heritage brands like Hermès are at less risk than others

Not all products are Amazon-able
Oliver Chen, a senior retail analyst at Cowen & Company, is confident that certain retail sectors are more immune to Amazon’s reign. These include brands like Tiffany & Co. that serve up emotional content or offer an emotional shopping experience, like that of picking out your wedding ring with a loved one.

Heritage and luxury companies like Hermès and Louis Vuitton also wield more power against the juggernaut, due to the trust and craftsmanship often required of those purchases, neither of which Amazon is known for. (Counterfeit products are an ongoing issue.) Such premium products also require a level of brand control that, according to Ryan Bonifacino, the former CMO of Alex and Ani, a longtime first-party seller on the site, is “next to impossible at Amazon.”

Companies offering products that are experiential in nature or service-driven are also well-placed to compete with Amazon. Think brands like 3×1, with its made-to-measure denim offering, or Drybar, where customers can opt for a quick blowout alongside any product purchases.

7102b710_c9f3Basics are Amazon’s bread and butter

Replenishment categories are key
If a brand does decide to partner up with Amazon, limiting its product offering to only their brand staples is important, said Maureen Mullen, the chief strategy officer at L2. The replenishment of basics like tees and underwear is what Amazon sells really well, so to compete in the same space, brands should look to do the same. “Focus on a core assortment of 5-10 products in these categories,” she said, adding that it could be particularly well-suited to any licensed items.

What’s more, this allows a brand to retain some control over their image and continue driving customers to their own e-commerce platforms.

Mullen also suggests that brands use the site to target product segments they haven’t touched before, such as plus or petite sizes. It’s much easier to connect with these hard-to-reach consumers on Amazon, where they’re already shopping, she said, than to spend extra time and money chasing after them yourself.



IRS Looking to Tax Free Lunches Offered at Tech Firms

employee lunch

Federal tax officials may bring more reality to the old adage “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

According to reports from the California Bay Area and Silicon Valley, the Internal Revenue Service is considering whether to tax free lunches and other perks routinely offered to employees at tech companies.

Silicon Valley Mercury News reported recently that employees at companies like Facebook and Google may have to pay taxes on free meals.  It’s a fringe benefit that their employers use as a selling point to recruit talented employees and keep them working on-site. A free lunch — and more — is seen by these and other companies as something they can offer to improve the workplace environment and morale.  But now the IRS is considering making that less free by taxing the benefit.

There are no details about what the tax would be on the free lunches offered at these workplaces. A report by The Wall Street Journal details debate among tax experts including tax attorneys practicing in the Silicon Valley.  They say the IRS has begun to focus on whether the meals constitute part of a compensation package.

Of course, the implications resonate far beyond Silicon Valley.

Businesses of all sizes offer a variety of benefits for employees that go beyond traditional payment for services.  Free coffee and soda beverages; free snacks; free meals; free dry cleaning services; free bus transportation; free health clinic services — the list goes on, and it’s all over the country.  Rules are complex about which additional compensations may constitute taxable perks.

The concern for the rest of us who do not get free lunches, is whether the American taxpayers are in effect giving already-highly-paid individuals a tax break.  Mark Maremont, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, called the food spreads “lavish buffets.”

A former Google marketing employee told MercuryNews.com that the free lunches his wife, a current Google employee, still enjoys are “a phenomenal convenience, a terrific motivator, and a great social thing.” He said the proposed tax is “stupid.”

Employee Lunch Photo via Shutterstock