#BendGate on the iPhone 6 is Not Acceptable, Whatever the Laws of Physics Say


I was not particularly fussed by the announcement of the iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus, neither is likely to ever become a phone I own, but what did interest me was hearing about was the apparent bending of the larger iPhone, the 6 Plus which houses a 5.5 inch 1080p display. The outcry surrounding this has been dubbed “Bendgate” and anyone with a passing interest in smartphones has probably heard of it. The aluminum chassis of the new iPhone has been reported by several people, according to news reports, to bend under not a lot of pressure. The video linked to in the Tweet above shows a demonstration by a YouTuber who has no problem deforming his own device into a state that could not be easily ironed out and would make your iPhone 6 Plus a lot less beautiful to have and to hold.

Now of course it is argued by iOS defenders that any phone would bend given enough pressure, especially one so long and thin and made out of aluminum, so for that reason it is ACCEPTABLE! All part of the laws of physics and no one, not even Apple – the god of smartphones can do anything about that. But that excuse is utter rubbish. I have a Lumia 1320 – it has a 6 inch display and is less than a centimetre thick and the worst that happens when I exert some pressure on to the device is the plastic back pops off, easily replaceable.

I find the excuse that physics is the only thing at fault as hard to believe as when people excused the iPhone 4’s anodized aluminum body chipping because “that’s just what that coloured metal does” (see #ScratchGate). It shows a remarkable amount of arrogance to believe Apple are so good at making smartphones that any hint of a flaw, be it in design or build materials, must be attributed to faults beyond Apple’s control (remember “you’re holding it wrong“?)

Let me paint a scenario for you: Your friend or partner or whoever offers to make you a mug of hot chocolate, and knowing how much of a chocolate fan you are, instead of using a ceramic mug they decide to serve it in a chocolate Easter egg. When the Hot Chocolate is served up you find not a steaming mug of cocoa ready to be enjoyed, instead a puddle of hot milk and melting chocolate is forming at your and their feet. “It’s not my fault” Your friend says with a shrug “that’s just what chocolate does when you pour hot milk onto it”.
BUT IT IS THEIR FAULT! You don’t serve hot drinks in chocolate Easter eggs and you don’t sell phones for over £750 that are too thin to handle the pressures of being in someone’s back pocket.

There are many that believe this isn’t a problem, “BendGate” is instead a smear campaign by the rivals of Apple designed to make the new iDevices look crumby, poorly thought out and rushed to market. There is always a possibility that is the case, I have linked you to various articles in this post, click them and judge for yourself.

I am not making a criticism of the iPhone here, there is no doubt Apple makes nice gadgets that people love to use and own, and in all honesty I have never laid hands on the iPhone 6 Plus to test for myself it’s durability – or lack there of. What I criticize is the attitude that Apple can do no wrong. This mentality is understandable; if you had just paid a thousand dollars for a smartphone, of course you wouldn’t want to think you’d wasted your money. But please, in this case defend it in a way that makes sense, and isn’t the same lazy excuse everyone else has started using whenever someone raises the issue (like this HERE – It’s YOUR fault by the way 😉 )
A quick tip from someone who knows nothing about Research and Design; If you are falling foul of the laws of physics then it is you that needs to change your approach, not everybody else.

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Comments
16 Responses to “#BendGate on the iPhone 6 is Not Acceptable, Whatever the Laws of Physics Say”
  1. kevwright says:

    Oh Chris, where do I start. First of all, why did you not just hold off on this for a few days before writing this, just so we can get more information on this whole issue.

    For example, the guy in the TR article you appear to scoff at has it right, it is hot to be Anti-Apple right now, always ha been actually, and the whole thing blew up because a couple of people (out of over 10 million) *say* all they did was went to a wedding and sat down. Actually, did you read this article or just read the headline (which is irony in case you did not get it)

    And of course, anyone (me included for this I guess) who dares to even question the facts in this case (of which there are hardly any yet) is an “iOS defender” or an Apple fanboy. Of course, unlike many in store purchases, EVERYBODY who bought an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus on release day still has over a week to get a full refund if they are unhappy with this situation.

    Oh wait a moment, almost nobody who is unhappy with this situation has actually bought one have they? Odd that.

    Think for a moment, we don’t even know if that is true. You know I sell cars right? People take delivery of a perfect car, and often come back a few days later and actually say, “that dent must have been there when I picked it up”. I know it wasn’t, but they are looking for somebody else to blame, because they simply can not admit that it was either them, or most likely some git in a supermarket carpark. I had one guy last month actually tried to tell me the car had not been out of his sight at any point in 10 days!

    The point is, the guy who did *that* video saw a great opportunity to make a ton of money off Youtube. Note the Squarespace advert at start and end? He is earning well out of it, and good luck to him, but to say he bent it with little trouble is kind of silly *if* you actually watched it.

    Once the video was done, news outlets jumped on it, as a negative Apple story if money in the bank for these guys. Will there be lots more of these, you bet there will. But really, even you are hedging your bets by saying “according to reports” which is your way out if it turns out later this wedding guy actually did sit on it.

    Now, on to the Physics part, which seems to have really upset you. I was one of the people who said this to you, but I did NOT say it was acceptable, and to be frank, I can not find many people saying it is acceptable. What we are saying is that *if* you build a phone like this, Physics do come into play and you can not change that. However, with hindsight, of course Apple could (and likely will now) put some internal frame in to stop this happening, and they should do so *if* this turns out to be a widespread issue for people.

    I can not really bring myself to comment on your chocolate mug story, as frankly it does you now credit, really just a silly comparison that only highlights your Anti-Apple outlook, and adds nothing to the real story here.

    Kev

    • Hi Kev, thanks for your feedback, it is almost as many words as my original post which is great to see.
      I found that techradar article to be complete bs if i’m honest, i did read the whole thing because I thought to begin with they were being ironic or at least sarcastic, but no Marc Flores, the author was being serious! He completely dismissed the notion that the 6+ in question could have been damaged as originally claimed, while the YouTube video by Unbox Therapy demonstrated that with a little force in the right spot it did put a kink in the frame. He followed up the video by doing a test on the Note 3 and it appears he is using more pressure on it – or at least the same- with no major damage caused. Unfortunately these are not scientific tests so we don’t know for sure but I don’t think the YouTuber has an agenda other than to give a fair comparison.

      I agree it can be the in thing for some to be anti Apple, same as for others to be pro Apple (like those dreadful iPhone 6 reviews which seemed to come straight from Apple’s PR department… The Verge spring to mind). But that wasn’t my mind set, I am not anti Apple, and while you and I had a back and forth on Twitter about this whole thing (and you used the “physics” argument) my post wasn’t a direct response to you or anyone particular, it was a response to all the feeble excuses that come up whenever an iPhone seems to have a fault; AntennaGate – “You are holding it wrong”, ScratchGate – “That’s just the nature of anodised aluminium” and now BendGate. You maybe right, I could have held off posting on the subject until more facts/excuses have been established, and believe it or not I’m not that upset by it, I was coming from an angle that faults are being reported and the first response is that Apple can never be at fault. Really? I guess we will see.

      Anyway Kev, I have not listened to your latest Podcast yet, last I heard you were planning on getting the 4.7 inch iPhone, is it now with you? Let’s hope you didn’t change your mind and go for the 6+ and if you did lay off the skinny jeans!

      • kevwright says:

        Well, I just re-read the whole thing for a third time and I can find nothing that bad about it, but then unlike you I am not viewing it with a dislike for Apple.

        You say you are not anti Apple, but the very fact you wrote this suggests otherwise, as does your comment above that gives it away, you say “You maybe right, I could have held off posting on the subject until more facts/excuses have been established”, if you were not anti Apple the word excuses would not have needed to be there.

        You add further evidence of this by not being able to stand any positive review of the iPhone. What are reviewers supposed to say if they think the phone is good?

        Now, as for the video guy ” demonstrated that with a little force in the right spot”, sorry but *that* is utter BS! The guys thumbs are *shaking* FFS!

        What makes me laugh is that we who like Apple are always being accused of being sheep, and yet it seems to me that the real sheep here are the people getting on the bandwagon of saying something negative about Apple.

        Kev

    • Well Kev, with regards to the YT Video, I think it does demonstrate that the 6+ is more susceptible to bending than say the Note 3, is it gonna be a problem for 90% of users? Probably not, but the fact there is a weakness needs to be recognised and not glossed over, as I have said on Twitter it is the glossing I don’t like.
      Which brings me on to my stance towards Apple. Seriously, I am neutral, it is not Apple (so far) coming out with what I see as excuses. It is people like yourself who I called Apple defenders, not in a derogatory sense, but in that you are defending the brand against criticism, same as I would if someone criticized the Windows Phone device I was using.
      Finally, in regards to the reviews I was talking about. You get favourable reviews of the iPhone as done by folk like Lisa from MobileTechReview (she is great, imho), you get biased reviews like are usually done by PhoneArena (based on previous models, not seen their ip6 reviews) and then about twenty times worse are the ones done by, in this case, The Verge. Seriously, it was sickening to read, almost quoting straight from the press release in some cases. Now you notice I don’t mention bad reviews, because from what I have seen there aren’t any/many. The iPhone 6/6+ are of course impressive devices, even to someone like me that has no interest in buying one. So I don’t believe I’m on any bandwagon, I just don’t follow the sound of the iSheppards voice!

      • kevwright says:

        Of course the metal phone is more likely to bend than a plastic phone, but that is not the point here, which is (or should be) will the iPhone 6+ bend just by putting it in your pocket, and to that I say it will not, and like Richard, if this proves to be wrong I will come out and hammer Apple for it don’t worry.

        The fact is probably that the video guy has done everyone a favour, by highlighting the issue and making people take care of what is a very pricey thing. What I dislike is the sneering tone taken in relation to this, and with each mention of iSheep and the like, you make it worse.

        Now, you admit it won’t affect 90% of users, I think its more like 99.9% myself, for starters most sales will be iPhone 6, which does not bend even with that guy trying his best, and anyone who wants the 6+ will have to take greater care if they want one, or lets face it, they can buy a different device.

        The other thing I am curious about is why *you* personally care so much?

        Kev

    • Kev, the part of your last comment that I did agree with was where you say the author of the vid did everyone a favour by highlighting the issue, and you also hit the nail on the head by saying not to get the phone if this worries you.

      Kev I never refer to anyone as iSheep and the original tone of my post may have seemed abrupt but never sneering, you must have read it wrong 🙂 .

      And what interest do I have in the whole thing? Well I try not to write about anything for the sheer sake of it, but this is a major happening in the tech world. I don’t agree someone needs to meet any criteria to have an opinion on things, and stories like this do come around fairly often, the previous to this was the chipping paint on the iPhone 5.
      I don’t include Apple Maps in this because on that occasion Apple came out and put their hands up.

      I don’t qualify myself as an expert on anything, and would always remind people of that if they decide to take an interest in my opinion.

  2. I have to say that I agree with Kev here Chris. To be honest I’m pretty disappointed you climbed on this guy’s bandwagon without checking your facts because there is plenty of evidence to say this is a stunt. I know I can usually rely on you to do things properly, which is why I give weight to what you write, this article simply isn’t up to your usual standard

    When I first read this I hastily extracted my 6+ from my front pocket where it has been most of the time since I had it. Given that I am not thin! my first thought was to check it carefully. In fact it is a straight as the day I got it

    As to laws of physics, if I stood on any phone it would break most likely and certainly bend if not – if you put enough weight on anything it will be deformed.

    This guy has made much more than the cost of a new 6+ from his stunt, good luck to him. Likely he has bought a new one with the proceeds and is laughing at us all

    Suggest that you look here for example to see how easily this bends:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29349998

    Sorry if this sounds grumpy – I usually trust what you write, but this is simply misleading

    There, fate tempted, will let you know if you get last laugh:-)

    • Thanks for the kind words Richard (and the not so kind!) and for linking the video, which I watched and found a bit annoying. Is that reporter saying that because his iPhone was unaffected then we should all stop worrying about it? There was another video on the BBC site interviewing the guy whose phone did bend, so he must be lying?
      I would like the BBC (or anyone) to conduct a scientific experiment with the 6+ and compare the same pressure with other devices of a similar build and see what is found, although I wonder if Apple may get an injunction out on the broadcast, it would settle any arguments.

      I also don’t think the YouTuber, Unbox Therapy has an anti Apple stance, he seems quite unbiased. I am sure the video has served him well, which it still would have done if he had not been able to bend it.

      And Richard, you do not sound grumpy in the least, I always welcome all comments whether they agree with me or not (and I can always delete the ones that make me look too stupid!)

      Thanks for your feedback.

      • kevwright says:

        Are you saying that because one bloke *says* his was damaged *just* by being in a pocket that all the other 10 million people who bought one *should* worry?

        All of those can be returned for a full refund by the way if anyone who bought one is worried.

        Not quite sure why *you* would be worried about it though?

        And where are you going with this BBC/Apple injunction fantasy? You say on another reply that you are not that upset about it, but this suggests otherwise?

        Kev

  3. Mark Webster says:

    Might comment fully in due course, after I’ve finished choking on the chop bone I nearly swallowed she accuses you of bias whilst possessing the innocent expression of a new born lamb 😊

  4. Gerard says:

    For me (someone who is never going to buy an iPhone) my opinion doesn’t matter much. I think Apple have obsessed themselves with thinness and if this results in quality control issues then they will soon sort it in a new production run. That should be it. If you buy a product that you are unhappy with then return it. Simple.

    All this doing your best to bend your $1000 phone for a few YouTube hits is ridiculous but Apple bashing sells and in all honesty apple deserve it occasionally.

    But as I say, I don’t own one and I never will so I can sit back and watch everyone throw shit at each other and enjoy.

    • I think you are spot on, I also usually prefer to watch from the sidelines, but my original intention wasn’t to throw shit at anybody but instead state my very unimportant opinion on the whole debate.

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