Have you ever bent your smartphone? Some iPhone 6 owners are finding their new devices have started to bend and warp in their pockets, but why?
Whether accidentally or on purpose, yesterday reports started coming in of a select few iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners (mostly the latter) posting pictures and videos of their shiny new smartphones adopting an awkward curve or kink after prolonged stints in tight jeans pockets.
What is Bendgate?
In what has come to be known unofficially as ‘Bendgate’, the quality of Apple’s latest smartphones – a brand best known for producing beautifully crafted, expertly designed, premium personal electronics, is being called into question.
If you find tech in distress painful to watch, don’t press play, otherwise enjoy Unbox Therapy’s official iPhone 6 Plus bend test:
Just as with the iPhone 5 and 5S, the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus incorporate premium materials into their designs, namely a milled aluminium unibody, which is impressively lightweight and thin despite its durability and strength. That said, no matter how tough the material choices may seem, they still have to adhere to the laws of physics.
Both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are very thin smartphones. In the case of the iPhone 6, it’s the thinnest iPhone ever made at 6.9mm, the larger 6 Plus isn’t far behind at 7.1mm thick. Based on the initial reports and the subsequent photos and videos, it’s the larger iPhone 6 Plus that appears to be suffering more readily under pressure. The combination of its large size and thin profile work against it in tighter trouser pockets causing the chassis to bend and flex around the middle, typically where the frame is thinnest, near the volume keys.
Is the iPhone 6 Plus alone?
This may seem like a massive oversight by Apple’s design team, but the 6 Plus isn’t alone. Photos of metal and plastic-bodied smartphones of varying ages have emerged, all adopting incremental levels of bend, including various iPhones, the Sony Xperia Z1, BlackBerry Q10 and HTC EVO.
In order of appearance – top left to bottom right: iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, Sony Xperia Z1, BlackBerry Q10, Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC EVO. (Click an image to enlarge)
All of these handsets have proven susceptible to bending in certain scenarios, but as the iPhone 6 Plus is the latest to market and as it’s an iPhone, it’s caused the biggest stir so far.
Why does it happen?
Many have suggested that the reason why the iPhone 6 Plus suffers more readily than other smartphones of similar size and/or construction is to do with the chassis design. As we’ve already said, the 6 Plus’ unibody is predominantly aluminium, a relatively malleable metal. Meanwhile rival devices that have shown resistance to the effects of Bendgate like the Galaxy Note 3 (which has still proven to bend) and Mototola Moto X employ stronger magnesium alloy chassis on the inside.
How do I prevent it happening to my phone?
If it isn’t clear the two best ways to minimise the risk of bending your prized new smartphone are to try not to subject it to prolonged compression forces and slap a case on it. Cases may hide that beautiful aluminium body, but they also help improve structural rigidity and might just spare you the trouble of having to carry your misshapen blower into the Apple store.
What if my phone is already bent?
Whilst the guidelines aren’t clear it would appear that Apple stores are willing to replace iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets that have suffered from ‘Bendgate’ symptoms provided they are within the terms of warranty and pass a visual inspection from Apple store staff.
A customer support representative told TheNextWeb, “[whether the phone is suitable for replacement] is 100% up to the Genius that you speak with at the store. There is a test called a Visual Mechanical Inspection that the device will have to pass. If it is within the guidelines, they will be able to cover it. If not, the replacement would be paid.”
We’ve reached out to Apple’s UK teams to find out whether this same scenario applies to UK iPhone owners who’ve suffer the same fate, but haven’t yet received a response.
For those who haven’t been affected…
If you’re still sitting smug knowing that you’ve chosen a phone resistant to the horrors of Bendgate, why not enjoy the Internet’s initial reaction to the news…