Faced with the looming threat posed by the French Minister for Digital, who expressed his intention to recall iPhone 12 devices currently in circulation, Apple has ultimately yielded to the pressure. The iconic tech giant has decided to undertake an extensive update of the iPhone 12 within France, aimed at ensuring strict compliance with European standards governing electromagnetic wave emissions.
This dramatic development unfolded on Tuesday, when the iPhone 12 was officially pulled from the French market. The catalyst for this decision was the alarming results of tests conducted by the National Frequency Agency (ANFR), which raised concerns about the levels of electromagnetic waves emitted by the device. Despite the fact that the wave emissions were only marginally above the thresholds stipulated by the European Union, with the iPhone 12 emitting 5.74 watts per kilogram (W/kg) while the regulatory limit stands at 4 W/kg, this news triggered substantial anxiety among the multitude of iPhone 12 owners in France.
In response to the escalating situation, Jean-Noël Barrot, the Minister Delegate in charge of the Digital Transition and of Telecommunications, made a resounding statement: “After deliberations and in accordance with the request made by the ANFR, Apple has assured me of their commitment to implement an immediate update for the iPhone 12 in the coming days.” This update is crucial for the device to align with the requisite standards. Furthermore, Barrot mentioned, “The ANFR is preparing to expedite the testing of this update, which, in essence, will bring the model into compliance.”
Apple’s stance on this matter was communicated through an official spokesperson who stated, “We will be releasing a software update specifically tailored for French users to accommodate the protocol prescribed by French regulatory authorities. We are looking forward to ensuring that the iPhone 12 remains available in the French market.”
Initially, Jean-Noël Barrot had set a two-week deadline for Apple to rectify the situation. In the event of Apple’s non-compliance, he emphatically asserted, “I am fully prepared to order the recall of all iPhone 12s currently in circulation. The same rules apply to everyone, including tech industry giants,” as he shared in an interview with “Le Parisien,” the publication that first reported this development. It is noteworthy that, at the outset, Apple vehemently contested the ANFR’s measurements. According to Apple’s independent tests, the iPhone 12 was entirely compliant with the prevailing standards. Additionally, Apple pointed out that the iPhone 12 was considered compliant in numerous other countries across the globe. This latest move, where Apple has chosen to provide an update to ensure regulatory compliance, is not an admission of “any security problem,” as the company continues to vehemently deny any such concerns.
In reality, the elevated levels of electromagnetic wave emissions, while exceeding regulatory limits, are likely to be benign, as acknowledged by Jean-Noël Barrot. He stated, “The European standard is set at a level ten times lower than the emissions threshold, which, according to scientific studies, could potentially have adverse effects on users.” Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “there is currently no conclusive evidence indicating that exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic fields poses any risks to human health.”
This ongoing saga underscores the critical importance of stringent regulatory standards when it comes to electronic devices. It also highlights the pivotal role of government agencies like ANFR in conducting rigorous testing to ensure consumer safety. While Apple’s initial reluctance to comply with the ANFR’s findings caused consternation among consumers, the company’s willingness to cooperate and update the iPhone 12 is ultimately a step in the right direction for safeguarding public health and maintaining consumer trust.
As Apple races against the clock to implement the necessary updates and regain its footing in the French market, users can take solace in the fact that their devices will soon be in full compliance with European standards. The Minister’s commitment to ensuring a level playing field for all companies, regardless of their stature, underscores the imperative of adhering to regulations aimed at protecting consumers. In the end, the real winners in this saga are the iPhone 12 users in France, who can now enjoy their devices with peace of mind, knowing that their health and safety have been prioritized.