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My Phone is Dying
When it explodes, it will cast off its outer layers, leaving behind nothing but a slowly fading PalmPilot, calculator, or two-way pager.
Title text: When it explodes, it will cast off its outer layers, leaving behind nothing but a slowly fading PalmPilot, calculator, or two-way pager.

Explanation

Beret Guy's phone is about to "die". Cueball assumes this just means that the battery is running out and it needs to be recharged, but the phone in question appears to "die" in a way analogous to the life and death of a star: expending its fuel while heating up and expanding before ultimately losing its outer layers and becoming a white dwarf or similar "lesser" star. However, this is something phones usually don't do.[citation needed] The analogy suggests that Beret Guy's life revolves around his phone, just as a planet orbits its star...a relationship that has become all too common in recent years.

Stars constantly undergo fusion reactions. The pressure generated by these reactions counteracts gravity, preventing it from collapsing the star during its main lifespan. As the hydrogen mostly fuses into helium in the core, the core gradually becomes more dense and the region of fusion gradually moves away from the center. Then, the star grows in size, reaching the stage of a Red Giant. When most of the "fuel" for fusion has been consumed, gravity will collapse the star into a white dwarf while the outer layers are shed. For stars much more massive than the Sun, there will be a supernova explosion caused by a violent collapse, which is very powerful. Heavier stars have shorter lifespans while producing more energy; Beret Guy probably references this when he refuses the charger.

Both a supernova explosion and the collapse of red giants into white dwarfs shed their outer layers, which is referenced in the title text. Once extra mass is added to the dying star, analogous to "charging", the process only accelerates. The phone seems to have a certain mass because Beret Guy expects it to go (super)nova. Charging the phone may lead to a type 1a nova.

The comic also plays on the release of two new iPhone models with bigger screens, planned for 2 days after the release of the comic.

The comic could be also explained by the characteristics of Li-ion batteries, which are used in most cellphones. At the end of their useful life, these batteries grow a bit [citation needed]. In case of severe physical or thermal damage or multiple electrical failures, this type of battery can indeed overheat, leading to a run-away thermal reaction inside. That would result in the battery growing [citation needed] and eventually exploding. Connecting a charger to a battery failing in this manner would probably make the process faster [1].

The title text implies that after Beret Guy's iPhone goes (super)nova, it will become the cellphone equivalent of a white dwarf (evidenced by the faint and slowly fading glow). Additionally, some particles and atoms decay by breaking into smaller, more elementary particles. It is humorously implied that a PalmPilot (an early personal data assistant and precursor to the smartphone), a calculator (one of the commonly used functions of a smart phone), and two-way pager (a device for sending and receiving short text messages) are the more elementary components that make up an iPhone.

Transcript

[Beret Guy walks on-panel, carrying a smartphone.]

Beret Guy: My phone's about to die.

[The phone is now subtly larger.]

Cueball: Where'd you get a big iPhone? I didn't think they were out yet.
Beret Guy: It's my regular one. It's just dying.

[The phone increases in size again. Beret Guy now holds it in both hands.]

Beret Guy: As it consumes its battery, it heats up and expands. Soon it will swell to enormous size, engulfing us both.

[The phone is now the size of Beret Guy's torso; he is clutching it to himself. Cueball is pointing off-panel]

Beret Guy: Then it will collapse in a violent explosion!
Cueball: ...do you want to borrow my charger?
Beret Guy: That would only make it run out faster!


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