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Apple investigates woman's death 'from iPhone 5' in China

Apple is investigating reports that a 23-year-old Chinese woman died from an electric shock while using an iPhone 5 smartphone.

Media reports in China say that Ma Ailun, a resident of the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, died when using the phone while it was being charged. She is said to have answered a call while the device was plugged in.

Apple has issued a statement expressing condolences to the woman's family over the reported incident. It has promised to investigate and cooperate with Chinese authorities over the matter.

Local police have confirmed Ma Ailun died of electrocution.

There is always a slim chance of harm from using any electrical device while it is being charged, so the authorities will have to find out whether there was anything intrinsically wrong with the specific iPhone, before confirming the exact cause.

Ma Ailun's family has said the phone was purchased last December and that it was still under warranty.

The iPhone 5 was officially launched in China last December. The authorities will want to confirm the source of sale, and Apple will be investigating whether it was an officially sanctioned Apple product or not.

The Chinese market has been a big target for "grey" Apple products, and outright counterfeits. The family has handed the phone over to the authorities for their investigations.

Earlier this year Apple issued an apology to its Chinese customers for misunderstandings regarding its repair and warranty policy.

Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to provide easily understood notices on its website that outline its repair and warranty policy, and to provide more comprehensive training to Apple personnel in China.

The company's lack of communication on its policies, Cook said, had led to speculation that Apple was "arrogant", and does not care about customer feedback. This is not the case, he said.