Wired reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘Too big to fail, but not to bend’

“Here’s the best way to start an iPhone review: Goddamn do I love Android. I love its flexibility and efficiency. I love the way it bends to my will,” Mat Honan writes for Wired. “And I’ve spent the past couple years loving that I can get a phone that isn’t made for someone with doll hands. So when I first saw the iPhone 6 Plus, bursting with extra inches — and iOS 8, finally sporting modern mobile features — I thought to myself, this might be the phone that brings me back to Apple.

“And guess what: The iPhone 6 Plus is the best, most exciting phone Apple has released in many years. I love this phone. The hardware is unparalleled, the app ecosystem is unparalleled, and the operating system has really matured. In fact, from a hardware perspective at least, this is the most compelling smartphone I’ve ever used,” Honan writes. “Mostly.”

“There is nothing bad to say about this camera. The camera hardware and software represents a new gold standard. Everything about this phone is, at first blush, a new gold standard. It even bends faster than other phones… Like a lot of people, I have a bent iPhone 6 Plus. It’s almost imperceptible, but it’s there: a slight warp right at the buttons on the side. Put the phone screen down on a table, and it wobbles. I haven’t purposefully bent it and I don’t recall sitting on it (but I probably have),” Honan writes. “So why is this one bending? I have a theory: It might have something to do with it being both very thin and very big and made of aluminum. The Samsung Galaxy Note3 is big, but it’s also 4 mm thicker than the iPhone 6 Plus and doesn’t have an aluminum back that, when bent, stays bent.”

“This is the best smartphone hardware I’ve ever used. It’s gorgeous and luxurious and seems almost decadent. I adore the display. I’m even more smitten with the camera. The battery life is a triumph. The applications are so much better and more varied than what you’ll find on Android or Windows Phone that those other two platforms seem almost untenable by comparison,” Honan writes. “Everything about it is wonderful, and if the bending doesn’t get any worse, and the scratches remain minor, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.”

Tons more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: With reports like this, the whole iPhone 6 Plus bending thing is losing its pure FUDness.

Lately, the thought has crossed our minds: Was iPhone 6 Plus designed with Liquidmetal in mind, but Liquidmetal, unfortunately, wasn’t quite ready in time?

MacDailyNews Note: The Apple-Liquidmetal deal is basically this: Apple contributes engineers and R&D – basically figuring out how to practically make Liquidmetal into commercial parts – and contributes their inventions back to Liquidmetal (via Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, a Liquidmetal subsidiary) which gets to use Apple’s inventions in fields other than consumer electronics (sporting goods, aviation, medical, military, etc.). In exchange, along with an already-paid one-time license fee of US$20 million, Apple owns sole rights to use Liquidmetal in electronics via “a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products.”

Related articles:
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s banana skins: U2, ‘Bendygate’ and iOS 8.0.1 – September 25, 2014
Video: Apple iPhone 6 Plus bend test – September 23, 2014
Apple granted two new Liquidmetal production patents – August 26, 2014
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2015 – May 21, 2014

Apple posts new how-to guide: Switching from Android phone to iPhone – September 16, 2014

DxOMark reviews iPhone 6/Plus: ‘Apple sets gold standard for smartphone image quality’ – September 23, 2014
Ars Technica reviews Apple iPhone 6/Plus: There’s a lot more going on here than just big displays – September 23, 2014
Camera test: Apple’s iPhone 6 still won’t beat a DSLR (but it’s close) – September 22, 2014
iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus tested at Disneyland: ‘So badass’ – September 17, 2014
Re/code reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘A statement phone,’ not a ‘plastic toy’ – September 17, 2014
Megapixels mean nothing: Apple iPhone 6 trounces Samsung Galaxy S5 in camera shootout – September 17, 2014
The Telegraph reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘It’s peerless’ – September 17, 2014
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone available’ – September 17, 2014
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus: ‘Smartphone stars’ – September 17, 2014
Walt Mossberg reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone on the market’ – September 16, 2014
The Wall Street Journal reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone you can buy’ – September 16, 2014
Macworld reviews 64-bit iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Bigger is better (in the right hands) – September 16, 2014

25 Comments

      1. Nice. At least you were paying attention. He, as many here, jumped up and started making excuses. Stupid. Speaking of stupid, what the hell is with the protruding camera lens? Make the fucking phone thicker and you won’t have to do that. Make the fucking phone thicker and it won’t bend! Or just kept complaining that it’s all FUD!!!

    1. Yes stronger, lighter, and flexable. It will bend and return back to prior shape like plastic. This design has pushed both aluminan and glass bonding to its limit. I would expect the iPhone 6s plus to obtain a new material addressing this. Like MDN stated, we were expecting a new unibody material for this revision.

    2. Yes. Very.

      Liquidmetal Alloy is stronger than high-strength titanium, with a yield strength of 1640 MPa (238 KSI). High-strength titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) has a yield strength of 830 Mpa (120 ksi) and an ultimate tensile strength of only 900 Mpa (130 ksi). Like most glasses, the yield strength of Liquidmetal Alloy is nearly identical to its ultimate tensile strength, meaning that when the material is stressed to its yield limit, rather than plastically deforming, it will break, and is therefore technically considered brittle, even though it is highly elastic.

      The exceptional strength of Liquidmetal is more remarkable when compared with other metal molding or casting processes. The ultimate tensile strength of die cast materials (zinc, aluminum, and magnesium) does not exceed the 425 Mpa (62 ksi) mark.

      While Liquidmetal alloy may be more brittle than some high strength materials, LM001B can undergo 2.0% of elongation before reaching its yield point. This is driven by the material’s Elastic Modulus, which is 93 GPa, and its unique amorphous atomic structure. Other high strength materials tend to be much stiffer, reflecting their higher modulus of elasticity. Only Liquidmetal alloy can provide this unique combination of high strength and elasticity.

      Our alloy also has a very high hardness which can prove beneficial for parts that require a durable scratch and wear resistant surface. The hardness value of LM001B is 550 Vickers (52 HRC), which is significantly harder than conventional metal alloys. Die cast alloys can achieve a hardness of 130 Vickers, Titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) can reach 340 Vickers (34 HRC), and Stainless Steel (17-4 PH) can reach 325 Vickers (33 HRC).

      http://liquidmetal.com/properties/properties/

  1. MacDailyNews Take: With reports like this, the whole iPhone 6 Plus bending thing is losing its pure FUDness.

    MDN – will you publish apologies and retractions to the dozen reports you’ve prominently dismissed as “FUD” over the last couple of days?

      1. I’m not sure I agree. Apple markets and sells a product which it claims is premium, and prices those products accordingly. Most of us find the value in said premium products, and happily pay more. If those products aren’t up to snuff in terms of design or quality, then Apple deserves to be called on it.

        I’ll say it again: Was anybody – and I do mean anybody – complaining about the thickness of the iPhone 5? Why make it even thinner instead of adding durability and battery longevity. Given the choice between thinness or durability and batter longevity, I know what exactly 100% of my peers would choose, and it isn’t thinness.

        1. A $30K Patek or A.L&S is much more easily damaged than a $100 Casio; a $1.5M Koenigsegg or LaFerrari is much more easily damaged than, say, a $40K Camaro. Quality and craftsmanship have little connection to durability, and Apple have done an excellent job of balancing those virtues.

          1. First of all, I don’t necessarily agree that a Koenigsegg or LaFerrari is “more easily damaged”. Are there some parts which are? Perhaps a carbon fiber splitter on a curb. On the other hand, you could take a LaFerrari to Laguna Seca and thrash on it for 100 laps, and I’m not sure anything is any more likely to break than something on the Camaro.

            To expand on your automative analogy, Apple is like BMW. The owner of a new M3 damn well expects that he should be able to use his car as the manufacturer intended, and that it shouldn’t be any less durable than a Camaro that’s half the price. It may be more expensive to fix when something does break, and most BMW buyers should expect that, but it should be just as durable to begin with.

            Second, Apple isn’t building extreme luxury cars or watches for the wealthiest 5% of the market. They’re making more premium versions of things we all use every day. Phones, tablets, computers, music players, and now watches. Tools that make our lives better.

            Remember “the computer for the rest of us?” Steve wanted to democratize technology with great design, not make delicate, impractical, objets d’art for the wealthy.

            We’ll see whether this is a real concern or whether it’s just blown out of proportion. I have to say, based on seeing several videos of competitors’ (cheaper) products showing much more resistance to bending, I’m a little concerned at this point—both as a stockholder, and as a long-time fan of Apple in general.

            1. After the bending, does the phone still work?
              Is there additional damage following the initial bending?

              Not trying to minimize any damage, trying to understand the full impact.

            2. From what I’ve seen and read, the “bent” condition appears to be aesthetic in most cases. So, yes – the phone still works fine, but your $400-600 iPhone 6 Plus is then ever-so-slightly banana- or Pringle-shaped. The deformation is enough apparently that if you set it on a flat surface face-down, it will actually rock or wobble.

              If that’s happening in any significant numbers, then I think it’s potentially a problem. This doesn’t appear to be like antenna-gate, where all wireless devices’ signals can be attenuated by holding the device a certain way. There are many other cheaper Android devices, even some using similar materials, which don’t deform when treated the same way. Yes, they’re probably thicker, and clunkier, but still… If true, I think that’s a problem. People expect to be able to put their phones in their pockets, and if they can’t do so safely without deforming the device, I think this could look bad for Apple.

            3. My analogies are not to compare products being used in an expected fashion, but to compare products being subjected to unusual forces.

              The luxury watches mentioned will be more easily damaged than a cheap digital watch, when physical forces inappropriate for a watch are applied to them. Throw them against a wall, and see which watch fares better.

              Bump a Camaro into another car at 15-20 mph and you might not be able to see any evidence. Try that with a CF-bodied car, and you’re looking at an astronomical repair bill.

              The iPhone may not be exclusive to the top 5% of the population, but Apple are the Ferrari, Koenigsegg, Patek, and A.L&S, rolled into one, of the smart phone universe. They are the leading edge in material science and craftsmanship and, sometimes, that means the products they offer us can be more easily damaged than competing items that are thicker, heavier, less leading-edge. Anyone expecting otherwise is foolish.

              We can agree that if these phones are being damaged in genuinely *normal*, everyday use – Apple has a problem. That would mean that Apple’s tests for structural integrity are a failure, and somebody’s got some ‘splainin to do.

      1. Or because it’s not really a widespread problem like Wired would have you believe with its “Like a lot of people, I have a bent iPhone 6 Plus.”

        A lot of people? That’s a huge assumption, especially when Apple has said 9 people have complained to it about bent iPhone 6 Pluses.

    1. For the same reason that no other phones were criticized for signal strength sometimes diminished by how you hold it — because it’s Apple. Members of the public put out videos at that time showing the same phenomenon with other phones. Only Apple got jumped on.

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