Apple (Mostly) Not to Blame in iPhone 6 Plus ‘Bendgate’ Fiasco
If you buy a gigantic phone, pack it into a pair of skinny jeans, sit on it for 18 hours and find that it's bent, Apple's not to blame for the damage — you are.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Earlier this month Apple released a new iPhone. Well, Apple actually released two new iPhones, but only one of them is getting significant media attention beyond the expected glowing reviews from iPhone fan (iPhan) sites: The iPhone 6 Plus, and it’s in the spotlight for the wrong reason.
The gigantor iPhone 6 Plus apparently bends when certain people pocket it and then sit for extended periods of time. Of course, just a handful of users have experienced any serious sort of bending damage, and only nine customers officially filed complaints with Apple during the first week after the new iPhone release, according to BusinessInsider.com. Apple set a new iPhone sales record with 10 million iPhones sold (iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices combined) during the weekend following the release. So those nine complaints represent just a fraction of a fraction (of a fraction) of total iPhone 6 Plus users.
As soon as the bending reports hit the Web, hundreds, maybe even thousands of people started performing iPhone 6 Plus “stress tests” in silly-but-often-entertaining attempts to either validate or disprove the claims. Some of my fellow journos even starting crunching numbers (and cracking phones), to determine how the iPhone 6 Plus stacks up to other leading smartphones’ durability. (Guess what? The iPhone 6 Plus is actually stronger than many of them.)
Just like that, iPhone 6 Plus “bendgate” was born.
You can easily spend an hour or more surfing the Web, reading “expert” analysis of the topic and watching stress tests videos. (I just did, and I already regret it.) If you do, you’ll likely come to the same conclusion that I have, assuming you’re a rational human being: If you try to bend and damage your iPhone 6 Plus, you will probably succeed.
Another conclusion you just might reach is that the iPhone 6 Plus is likely too damn big to carry in a pants pocket. It’s almost definitely too big if you’re going to keep it in there for “about 18 hours…while sitting mostly,” as one MacRumors member did and then later wrote about the damage. (Seriously, man, take your phone out of your pocket, huh?!?)
I’m no iPhan, though I do use Apple products, including a new iPhone 6. I’ve been known to take the occasional jab at Apple in the past, even when it tries to play nice. But in this case, I’m inclined to take Apple’s side, because even if the iPhone 6 Plus does have some sort of design flaw that causes a weak point near its volume up and down keys, as some sites are reporting, the company shouldn’t be blamed for misuse.
Blaming Apple for your bent phone after jamming it into your skinny jeans and sitting on it for 18 hours is akin to blasting The North Face for damaging your 17-inch laptop after you jam it into a backpack designed to hold a 13-inch notebook and then toss it into an airplane overhead bin. If you buy a gigantic phone, you probably need to think about carrying it in a new way. That or get yourself some equally huge pants, a holster or maybe even a fanny pack. (If your hipster friends single you out for the Fpack, just cite Matthew McConaughey.)
I’m not letting Apple completely off the hook, and iPhone 6 Plus durability could prove to be a significant issue if the reports keep coming in. Honestly, the iPhone has always been a relatively delicate device, and this latest iteration is so big, and so thin, it should be no real surprise that it bends a bit in a tight pants pocket. That said, it would probably be wise for Apple to put some kind of anti-skinny jeans warning on the iPhone 6 Plus packaging.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.