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Apple AirPod began smoking in ear, blew apart, says man

Commentary: A Florida man says his AirPods malfunctioned at the gym.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Can they explode?

Sarah Tew/CNET

We're quite used to tales of phones exploding

Lithium ion batteries can be volatile. After all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was withdrawn -- twice -- because too many of them kept blowing up.

A man from Tampa, Florida, offers a story of smartphone accessories that might worry some. He says one of his AirPods blew apart while he was at a gym.

As WFLA-TV reports, Jason Colon was at an LA Fitness club in St. Petersburg, Florida, listening to dance music. 

Suddenly, he said, he noticed smoke. It was coming from the area of his right ear. More specifically, the smoke was being emitted from one of his AirPods.

He says that he immediately put both AirPods on a piece of workout equipment and walked away. By the time he came back, the smoking AirPod appeared to have completely burst apart. 

"I didn't see it happen, but I mean, it was already fried. You can see flame damage," he told WFLA, offering an image of the disintegrated headphone.

Attempts to reach Colon were unsuccessful. Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The usual procedure, however, is for Cupertino to examine any device that might have suffered a dangerous malfunction.

I'm not aware of any previous explosions or even disintegrations involving AirPods. 

Last March, however, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau issued a warning after a woman's wireless headphones did explode, leaving her with burns on her face. In that case, the bureau believed the battery was to blame.

There are, of course, small batteries inside AirPods. That doesn't mean that one of them exploded here. Even Colon acknowledges he's not sure what happened. After all, he wasn't there to witness it.

Until the company examines the product and determines what happened, we won't be any the wiser.

For Colon, though, this was far too close for comfort. 

"I don't know what would've happened to my ear, but I'm sure, since it hangs down, it could've been [my] ear lobe. Ear lobe could've been burnt," he told WFLA.