‘The Apple Watch burned me’

An hour into her regular workout routine, Paula Cerutti says she started to feel a strange burning sensation. It seemed to be emanating from her wrist, on which she wore a brand-new, $349 Apple Watch Sport. Figuring it was just too tight after an hour of yoga and running, she loosened the band.

Later that night, Cerutti told Fusion she arrived home to find bubbling blisters in the same spot where she had felt the sensation on her wrist. The watch felt hot.

I am no skin specialist,” said Cerutti, who works in economic development in Washington, D.C.. “But it burned me.”

Early on, plenty of Apple Watch users reported complaints of skin rashes, especially from watches outfitted with the rubber Sport band. But for the much-talked-about Apple Watch, which has sold in the millions and launched about as many headlines, burns appear to be a new issue.

On Twitter, three other Watch users, two who work in technology, joined Cerutti in complaining about burns over the past few weeks.



One of them, Andrew Donnelly, an iOS developer in the U.K., said he noticed what appeared to be a burn 10 days ago.

It was [caused by] either one of two things: sweat from the gym or the lights on the back not switching off,” he told Fusion by email.

After a few days, it cleared up. He’s not entirely sure whether it was a burn or a rash, but he stopped wearing the watch while exercising to play it safe. (Defeating, of course, one of the major reasons people buy the watch: to use it as a health tracker.)

Apple declined to comment about the burn reports. On its support website, Apple notes that the watch can cause skin irritation for a couple of reasons, among them allergies to materials in the watch or a poor fit. Apple says that a too-loose band, for example, can cause irritation from constant friction between the watch and skin.

It is perhaps not entirely surprising that putting a gadget directly against your skin for days at a time can cause some issues. Fitbit ran into similar problems last year, eventually recalling its Force activity tracker after an onslaught of complaints about irritation caused by the device’s strap. Users of an early edition of the Android LG G Watch also reported skin irritation and some instances of burns, which Google attributed to a constant electrical current running between two metal contacts on the watch.

While Apple’s website addresses skin irritation, it doesn’t mention burns. Cerutti hasn’t visited a dermatologist, but she is certain her reaction to the Apple Watch was more than just a rash.

To make matters worse, she said, Apple seemed to not really take her in-store complaint seriously. Only after complaining on Twitter, she told Fusion, did an Apple employee phone her to issue an apology and a promise to look into it.

Cerutti believes her experience was just a fluke. She isn’t giving up on the Apple Watch; the company is replacing hers with a new one and she’s going to give it another shot. (“Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice…. everyone on Twitter is going to make fun of me.”)

Apple Watch sales are already reportedly plummeting just a few months after the product launched in April. Reports of burns might just cool sales even further.