iPhone 8
A South Korean retailer has reported about an iPhone 8 with a swollen battery. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

A South Korean smartphone retailer has reported that it has an iPhone 8 unit with a seemingly swollen battery. This is the first time that Apple’s new iOS 11-running handset is reported to have a serious battery issue in the country.

On Thursday, Korea Herald has learned from a local retailer that it found an iPhone 8 handset with a swollen battery — a problem that poses safety concerns to consumers had the device been sold. “We found that a battery was swollen after opening a new product,” the retailer, which is based in the city of Busan, said. The unit was identified to be a gold 64GB version of the iPhone 8. No other information was disclosed.

This is the latest in the number of reports pertaining to swelling battery problems found in the Cupertino giant’s new smartphone. The iPhone 8 — along with its bigger counterpart, the iPhone 8 Plus — launched in Samsung’s home country last Friday. When the iPhone 8 in South Korea, it was met with a relatively tepid response. As previously reported, industry sources claim that the sluggish sales of the yearly upgrades could be due to consumers holding off on upgrading their handsets until iPhone X officially arrives in the country this December.

On Monday, The Verge reported about a couple of complaints regarding the battery problem found on the iPhone 8. The complaints were mostly about the device splitting apart on arrival or just a few days of use. The culprit was found to be the battery swelling inside, causing the front panel of the phone to bend and separate itself from the body.

The first report about a swollen iPhone 8 battery was recorded in Taiwan. The owner said that she found her handset swollen after just plugging it in to refuel its battery. Other similar cases were reported in Japan, China, Canada and Greece. Though the issue affects units from different countries, the total number of complaints thus far is less than a dozen. Hence, the problem is described to be sporadic, given that Apple has sold over millions of iPhone 8 units.

Even though the swollen battery problem appears to be affecting a very small quantity, there’s still enough reason to be concerned here. Smartphone batteries shouldn’t be swelling, especially when the devices affected are newly bought ones. Carin Energy Research Advisors managing director Sam Jaffe says, “[Swelling is] very unusual for a brand-new battery and leads toward the direction of there's something fundamentally wrong with this battery.”

Apple has since issued a statement regarding the swollen battery complaints. “We are aware and looking into it,” the tech giant said early this week. It has yet to come up with a follow-up or a clarification as to what is causing the swelling in reported cases.

Last year, Samsung had to recall all Galaxy Note 7 handsets after multiple complaints of units catching fire or exploding. The company said at the time that the problem was a result of poor battery design and its desire to rush the release of a new Note installment, as per Business Insider.