Apple defended its iPhone 12 model on Wednesday after a French watchdog ordered a halt to its sales citing breaches of European Union radiation exposure limits.
Apple said in a statement the iPhone 12, launched in 2020, was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global radiation standards, that it had provided several Apple and third-party lab results proving the phone’s compliance to the French agency, and that it was contesting its findings.
Setting aside Apple’s contention that the iPhone 12 does meet the EU standards, it’s odd that France’s Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) would focus on a three-year-old phone that is likely Apple’s slowest-selling model, given that it is the oldest but not the cheapest. I see three possibilities:
- Apple convinces ANFR to accept the existing certifications, or ANFR switches to a different testing methodology that agrees with Apple’s results.
- ANFR requires Apple to reduce the iPhone 12’s power in a software update.
- Apple stops iPhone 12 sales in Europe, directing price-sensitive buyers to the third-generation iPhone SE or the iPhone 13. Which will happen anyway with the arrival of the iPhone 15.
The more interesting question is if newer iPhone models also exceed European standards under ANFR’s testing approach, which Reuters said assumes direct skin contact without layers of cloth between the device and the user. That could force Apple to reduce the power of its cellular radios throughout Europe, potentially reducing iPhone call quality and data throughput.