A possible flaw in the design or manufacture of the iPhone 6 Plus is apparently leading Apple's latest smartphone model to bend in users' pockets. The computer and device manufacturer normally known for its superlative design abilities finds itself having to explain the apparent defect to customers who paid a premium to get their hands on the new phone.
Several videos of users apparently bending the iPhone 6 Plus with their hands and photos of bent phones began appearing on Web sites like MacRumors earlier this week. The images were accompanied by comments from iPhone 6 Plus customers saying that the phone had been damaged while being kept in their front pocket after dancing, extended periods of sitting, or bumping into people.
Some journalists have reported seeing their iPhone warp after little more than keeping their phone in their front pocket for several hours while driving. The Web site MacRumors has advised iPhone 6 Plus users to buy a protective case for their phones and to avoid keeping the phone in their pockets altogether.
During its keynote media event earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook made much of the two new iPhone models' thin aluminum unibody. The iPhone 6 is only 6.9 millimeters thick, while the 6 Plus's case is slightly thicker at 7.1 millimeters. While the thin form factor and choice of material help make the phone lighter, they also risk making it less durable.
The larger form factor for the iPhone 6 Plus, with a 5.5-inch screen versus the 4.7-inch screen on the iPhone 6, may also be contributing to the problem.
Brand Bent Out of Shape
Apple may find "Bendgate" to be particularly damaging to its brand. The company has carved a niche for itself in the device world for having the best-designed hardware available, a reputation which has allowed it to charge premium prices for computers, tablets and smartphones that often lack some of the features that competing devices have.
Reuters reported that Brandwatch had found tweets were flying about the "bend in your pocket," the challenge of wearing "tight pants," and that the iPhone 6 Plus bends "with bare hands."
Another key topic, Brandwatch said, was a comparison with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone, which has nearly 4,500 mentions.
Covered by Warranty?
Apple has made no official public comment regarding the issue.
A reporter was able to get a comment out of an Apple support representative in an online chat, in which the representative said a bent iPhone would qualify for a replacement under warranty if it passed a "Visual Mechanical Inspection" at the "Genius Bar" in an Apple Store.
"That is 100 percent up to the Genius you speak with at the store," the representative told The Next Web site. "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 a paid one."