iPhone 6 Plus Bendgate – Pure Hogwash?

By | October 9, 2014

Everyone (except for Apple, of course) seems to be having a quiet chuckle at the ongoing ‘bendgate’ controversy that has shrouded the iPhone 6 Plus. In here, we explain why ‘bendgate’ is not at an issue worth so much of discussion.

Since the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the internet has been flooded with troll pictures, memes and jokes about the ‘bendgate’ controversy that riddled the latter. The major competitors of Apple jumped on the bandwagon and mocked the new iPhones – on the basis of complaints raised by a handful of early buyers. The so-called problem has not been able to stump Apple fans, however – and the combined sales figures of the two phones is nearing 45 million already. So many people cannot be simultaneously naive enough to spend big bucks on a ‘defective’ device. We here present some points which prove that the iPhone 6 Plus bendgate is not a defect at all:

 

  1. Bendgate isn’t statistically significant – Over 10 million units of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were bought over the first weekend. The total number of bendgate complaints registered? A paltry NINE! Even if we assume that a few other buyers did experience glitches in iPhone 6 Plus, the total number of such problematic handsets is a very tiny fraction of the overall number of units sold. You cannot mount a proper allegation based on what only nine people have said.
  2. iPhone 6 Plus is not meant to be stuffed into small trouser back pockets – A member of MacRumors reportedly kept his new iPhone 6 Plus in his back pocket, sat down for close to 18 hours (in essence, he was sitting ON the device), found out later that the device has become bent – and registered a complaint. Let’s just say that putting such pressure for so long would be enough to crack even the good ol’ Nokia 3310/3315 phones. If you are buying an expensive, high-end phone, you can surely take better care of it.
  3. The viral YouTube video has added to the buzz – When Lewis Hilsenteger uploaded an iPhone 6 Plus Bendgate Test video on YouTube, he was probably not aware a controversy of this scale will spin off from it. People who have seen the video have started to test their newly purchased iPhones, and the extra pressure has resulted in the devices actually getting damaged. No professional mobile analyst or iPhone app developer has approved the video – and the video has only served as a negative fad. Nothing more.
  4. It’s made of softer aluminum – It’s high time people realized that the iPhone 6 (unlike its predecessors) is made of aluminum – a metal which is rather highly malleable and ductile. Titanium and stainless steel is present for support only at the port connector points. Aluminium is much more difficult to break, but is way more easily bendable than the glass cases of iPhone 4S/5.
  5. Flexural test has proved iPhone 6’s toughness – Empirical proofs have also started coming in, highlighting the body strength (‘non-bendability’) of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. A 3-point flexural test was recently conducted by Consumer Reports, where the strength of iPhone 6 Plus was compared with that of LG G3, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It was proved beyond doubt that the iPhone 6 Plus does not bend under ‘typical use’.
  6. Memories of iPhone 4 Antennagate are back – The late Steve Jobs might still be the face of Apple Inc., but he has had an indirect role to play in the ‘bendgate’ furore. When the iPhone 4 was launched, there were widespread connectivity problems. Jobs made the folly of telling users ‘not to hold the phone in a particular way’. It dented the image of Apple considerably, and with nine people actually registering complaints about iPhone 6 – many felt a problem similar to Antennagate was cropping up. It’s nothing of the sort – if you do not willingly put too much pressure on iPhone 6/6 Plus, the handset would remain (physically) fine.
  7. The super-slimness is a factor – Experts from mobile software and iPhone app development companies feel that the ultra-thinness of the new iPhones enhances their ‘bendability’. The width of iPhone 6 Plus is only 7.1”, and while it is sturdy enough (as shown by the Consumer Reports tests) – it is NOT an indestructible device. Under normal circumstances, it can get bent and return to its original shape. However, if too much pressure is put on it for hours on end, it can become permanently broken. It will be the user’s fault, and not that of the developers at Apple.
  8. The ‘Hairgate’ is a sham – You might even come across a so-called ‘iPhone 6 Beardgate’ problem. The allegations that user’s facial hair is getting stuck in the gap between the aluminum and the front glass panel cannot be true – simply because the gap is significantly narrower than the breadth of a human hair. The bevel cannot cause the hair/beard of users getting ripped out. The glass and aluminum are actually fused, in both the phone and the phablet. ‘Hairgate’ is in the news simply because it is now a ‘cool thing’ to criticise Apple.
  9. What has the Bendgate test video got to do with actual usage anyway? – The Youtube video uploaded by Unbox Therapy shows considerable force being put on the sides of the iPhone 6 Plus, to bend it. The #Bendgate controversy is about how the handset supposedly bends automatically within people’s pockets. The two instances are not even remotely related – and the second allegation is mostly untrue.
  10. There’s a difference between ‘pressure’ and ‘too much pressure’ – Arguments and counter-arguments would rage on among mobile app developers regarding whether Tim Cook and his team was correct in emphasizing on slimness in the new iPhones (instead of, say, trying to improve battery performance). However, the phone and the phablet can withstand 70 pounds and 90 pounds of pressure respectively, without any permanent damage. Why would anyone try to put more pressure on a pricey new smartphone?
  11. Many people do not yet use protective cases for iPhone 6 – And it’s pretty much unfathomable why they don’t. There are several protective cases in the price range of $30-$50, which offer a fine combination of sturdiness and stylish appearances. It’s rather foolhardy to splurge on the latest iPhone, and then expose it to ‘bendgate’ risks by not using a proper protective case for it.
  12. Bashing up expensive products has always been deemed ‘cool’ – Consider this: Person A (from India) has reported a defect in his cheap Android One phone, while Person B has reported that his iPhone 6 Plus is getting bent. Which one do you think is going to make more news? That’s precisely what has happened here. A handful of people have been careless in their handling of the new iPhones and damaged the devices, and every Apple-hater has joined in to clamor about how the Cupertino company is nearing its demise!

 

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are not flawless devices, by any stretch of the imagination. The battery life remains rather unsatisfactory, the underlying iOS 8 platform has been causing sporadic cases of call-drops, the 8.0.1 update was a disaster, and installing third-party keyboards has not been particularly easy. Apple definitely needs to iron out these defects soon. What it does not need to do is lose sleep over the ‘bendgate’ controversy. After all, all smartphones get bent (but spring back to their original shapes) under extreme pressure – so why single out iPhone 6 Plus for all the negativity?

 

Oh, and by the way, if you try to bend your iPhone 6 Plus just as an experiment – remember one thing. If you are successful in causing any lasting damage, you will lose nearly 90% of the device’s resale value. iPhones are not above criticism – but they have always been positioned as ‘premium’ products. You are not supposed to check out its toughness just for kicks!