Even for an almost 4 bln worth company, product compliance can become a challenge. Mid-September caught the largest tech company off guard after the French regulators tested the iPhone 12’s specific absorption rate (SAR).
The SAR measures the rate of radio-frequency energy absorbed by the human body.
France's National Frequency Agency (ANFR) which monitors public exposure to electromagnetic waves, said that when the phone was tested, SAR was over the authorised limit.
According to the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive 2014/30/EU limits electromagnetic emissions from equipment to ensure that, when used as intended, such equipment does not disturb radio and telecommunication, as well as other equipment.
To be compliant with European standards, the level of electromagnetic energy absorption should not exceed the EU standard of 4 watts per kilogram.
The agency recently tested 141 cellphones and found that when the iPhone 12 is held in a hand or carried in a pocket, its level of electromagnetic energy absorption is 5.74 watts per kilogram.
Although there have been multiple lab results carried out both by the company and third-party labs proving the phone’s compliance, there is a specific difference noted in relation to standardisation related to testing limits. Products in the EU are tested in a more real-world environment using a 10-meter Radiated EMI Limit, whereas, in the U.S., they are tested to a 3-meter limit.
Although the levels of EMC may have changed after software updates between the release of the model and the testing of the French authority, Apple confirmed ”to implement all available means to quickly remedy this malfunction" - a wise decision to make, to be able to keep the product on the French market. The tech giant will provide a software update that prevents radiation exposure from surpassing the limit.
Being always wary of the product compliance regulations for each of the target markets is a rule of successful presence with high brand recognition. Despite common belief, the authorities are checking EMC compliance. The updated EMC Directive can either be found here or in your email, with Product Compliance Manager.