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Saturday, October 11, 2014
The real reason why the iPhone 6 (Plus) bends
The real reason why the iPhone 6 (Plus) bends

Just after the most successful smartphone launch in history to date, #bendgate was the trending topic on the anti-social media. The first adapters needed to inform themselves swiftly, because all of their friends and mom suddenly started interrogating them about this “design error” and they’d to defend their appalling phone purchase on top of the fact that most features were already in 2 year old Androids. Did Apple made the new iPhones too thin for the beauty of aesthetics, and from aluminium instead of Samsung-plastic™?

Apple had to come out with an official statement and so it happend, they even introduced the collective press to the unrevealed Cupertino testing facilities, something they’d also done after the iPhone 4 #antennagate. They came with the following statement;

bent iPhone 6

“Through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus,” Apple told Business Insider in a statement. Apple sold over 10 million iPhone 6s during its first weekend on the market. It has sold millions more since then. So, 9 actual complaints from customers is minuscule.

Video: Press invited to the Apple testing lab video, courtesy of re/code

Test that bending did supplemental testing which reveals the real problem to this story. Next to the new kids on the block, they tested several smartphones; the HTC One, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and most importantly the iPhone 5. Their test results show that the iPhone 6 plus is in the middle of the testing pack results, it starts deformation at 90 pounds—40.8 KG pressure. But remarkable is that it’s more ridged than the iPhone 6 which deforms already at 70 pounds—31.8 KG.

The three observations
So first important observation, someone started to deliberately bending the iPhone 6 plus by applying over 90 pounds on it and posted this online. This made us believe the longer and bigger smartphone had the design flaw.

Second important observation, the iPhone 5 bends at 150 pounds—68 KG. That’s 2.14 times the pressure weight compared to the iPhone 6, and 1.6 times tougher than the iPhone 6 Plus.

Third remark, the iPhone 4(S) had a front and back glass-panel which made it even rigid.

Steve Jobs iPhones
We’re used to put our “Steve Jobs iPhones”—for the last 7 years—in pockets because of their superb build quality. They weren’t as light as the plastic competition models but nobody complained about it. In fact the biggest complaint about iPhones were the relatively short battery life.

Enter the Samsung-plastic era, Samsung copied the iPhone and quickly made “millions” of iterative models and introduced bigger screens hoping to take market away from the Jesus-phone. They didn’t have the bending problem because plastic bends back after deformation.

Azian Bazaar
Apple is very focused on the Asian Bazaar as shareholders demand, and it became very visible in the post Steve Jobs—supply chain guru Tim Cook era of Apple. Remember the iPhone 6 keynote Chinese voice dubbing streaming fiasco, I couldn’t even hear the English of Mr. Cook.

The design fault
So here’s the mistake, the iPhone 6 (Plus) has a design fault, it’s too thin for the materials it’s made of, and bends over twice as easy as its predecessors. The first time I took the new iPhones in my hand they lacked the classy weight that you expect from such expensive material phones, it’s like you lift a chunk of gold that feels as light as plastic. Although you can defend that this is not a design fault and that these phones should be handled with “over” twice the care as the previous iPhones, I find it a bit naive to expect that from customers.

They could’ve added extra battery life, specifically in the iPhone 6 and make it a bit thicker and thus heavier and more rigid. Rushing into the Asian market without taking care of their founding customer ground—the US and European market—is a mistake which they should recover from if they want to ascent from the emerging competition and keep asking a premium prices.

Report your bent iPhone
After the first weekend Apple announced only nine bent new iPhones. The new web-site challenges Apple by allowing customers to report their bent phones. So far the counter is 71 of 9, and what I can see from the current posts is that the phones not only bend under the volumes buttons, contradictory to what some sites have reported to be “the design flaw”. Customers are reporting that Apple is changing policies and not replacing bent iPhones anymore at the genius bar, wasn’t it minuscule you told us? So why not help those customers?

oneoutofnine iphone 6 plus bends

Remember that after the iOS Maps debacle Scott Forstall had to leave Apple for less of an issue, nobody expected that iOS maps would be of the same quality as Google Maps in the blink of an eye, I personally think it’s time that Tim Cook cries Mea Culpa.


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