Bendgate: iPhone 6’s rocky rollout

Apple_iPhone_LogoBy Kimberly Jane

With such radical changes to Apple’s new iPhone, many were anticipating how sales would fair in light of the iPhone 5 being the largest selling phone. Apple broke previous records with four million iPhone 6 pre-orders in the first 24 hours. In the first three days, ten million units were sold in the ten countries, another record. The tech giant would have seen even larger numbers had it not been for manufacturing limitations. Since the new iPhone’s release on September 19, it is now selling in more than 30 countries. Apple may have enjoyed record breaking stats the opening week, but they have not been enjoying the breaking news: Bendgate.

The Bendgate saga began when the Internet group UnboxTherapy posted a video of Lewis Hilsenteger showing how easy it is to bend the iPhone 6 Plus with his bare hands. In true Apple fan fashion, naysayers came forward claiming the video was a fake due to what appeared to be time manipulation. Hilsenteger quashed the claims by releasing a new uncut video where it took only three minutes to bend another iPhone 6 Plus. Consumers and media alike took notice of the video. When a tech giant known for quality has four million preorders, consumers assume the product has been put through stringent testIng.

Apple tests at 55 pounds of pressure (or the equivalent of trying to break three pencils side by side). Shortly after the Bendgate scandal broke, Consumer Reports initiated their own testing and released a corresponding video to the public. Out of the six phones tested the strongest phone was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 holding up until 150 pounds of pressure. Next in line were a tie between the LG3 and iPhone 5, both withstanding 130 pounds of pressure. If one owns an iPhone 5, always wear skinny jeans and throws the phone in the back pocket, they may want to hold off on an upgrade. The iPhone 6 Plus only withstood 90 pounds of pressure. The iPhone 6 deformed at 70 pounds of pressure and broke at 100 pounds. The HTC One also tested at withstanding 70 pounds of pressure (but rather than bending it just broke). Consumer Reports concluded that “Bendgate may be overblown” at which time Apple’s stock temporarily rallied.

After the Consumer Reports test it may have been easy to conclude Bendgate would fade into the background. Additionally, Apple released a statement claiming during the first week of sales the company had just nine bent returns. But many are doubting Apple’s claim due to the bent iPhone photos circulating the Internet.

On October 1, the Bendgate scandal picked up more steam when Europe’s largest computer magazine, Computer Bild, released a video of their own. The German magazine’s video clearly shows the bendability of the iPhone 6. Allegedly, Apple did not take kindly to the magazine’s video. The magazine claims an Apple representative made it clear they will no longer be providing them test units and that Computer Bild is no longer permitted to attend press events.

Apple is known to be quiet with the press, only executing press statements when it benefits them. Many are wondering if this is what can be expected from the retailer when media dares to go against the grain. How informed will consumers be when Apple products do go awry? If they threaten the media will this stop the truth? So far, it doesn’t look that way. Computer Bild has made it clear they do not need Apple’s support to perform their own testing.

What is a consumer to believe? As big phones go, the bigger the handsets are the more likely they will bend. That being said, the new iPhone is certainly not the weakest. It falls somewhere in the middle. Apple stated that they will replace all bent iPhone 6s after a visual inspection at the Genius Bar, Apple’s in store repair station. It will be at no cost to the consumer if determined they were bent under “normal circumstances.”

What else can iPhone 6 owners do? Most users adorn their phones with cases which strengthens durability. There are also a variety of warranties available for around $100. These warranties are comprehensive and even include accidental coverage for two years, the length of most contracts. SquareTrade offers a three year warranty for $129. Oftentimes Squaretrade warranties can be further discounted with Internet coupons. They cover Genius Bar repairs in addition to their own repair options. What was once called Antennagate, when the iPhone 4 suffered antenna issues, Apple chose wisely to resolve the issue by offering a free case that prevented loss of signal. Many are hoping Apple steps up and resolves this issue by offering consumers a free reinforced back. Time will tell if Bendgate has a resolution that consumers will be happy with.

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