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iPhone users see red over water damage

Apple has come under fire from BBC consumer champion Watchdog after users were refused warranty repairs.

No doubt sick of having to replace thousands of gadgets which been dropped down the loo by clumsy Apple fans, for the past few years the company has been adding externally-visible liquid contact indicators (opens in new tab) to iPods and iPhones.

These tiny tabs - which are usually hidden deep inside the headphone socket and are only visible using a powerful magnifying glass and suitable lighting - turn pink or red whenever the come into contact with liquids containing water.

The trouble is, it looks like the sensors are a little too sensitive, and punters have been contacting pitbull-in-a-ginger-wig Anne Robinson in droves, swearing blind that their iPhones have never so much as been near a cup of water, let alone fully immersed.

Watchdog took one such punter's handset to an expert repairer. The punter in question had taken his non-working iPhone to his local Apple store where one of the uniformed flunkies took one look at the gadget, and pronounced that it was water damaged, and therefore not covered by Apple's warranty. He'd have to buy a new phone or put up with the ignominy of having to use another brand.

The repairer, after confirming that both of the externally visible water indicators had been triggered, took the phone apart. It was clear that Apple had never inspected the inside of the phone, and that the two internal sensors (arrowed above) which appear to sit on the back of a sheet of internal shielding, had not been triggered.

Now, we all know that electronic gizmos and water don't mix, but there are lots of ways we can think of that these external sensors could get wet without causing major damage to your iPhone's innards, and allowing Apple to get away with refusing to repair the kit.

Anyone who lives in the UK will be well aware of the curse of condensation. And how many people use their iPhones in the gym? Has Apple never heard of sweat? What would happen if you plugged a slightly damp headphone jack into the socket, for example? And who hasn't handled their cellphone with damp hands?

We'd also like to know how many of the people showing unexpected positives have downloaded Smule's brilliant Ocarina from iTunes?

The App turns your device into musical instrument which is played by blowing into the microphone, which is sat right next to the 30 pin connector, which contains another of those pesky sensors.

Slobbery-lipped musos should beware. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.