Apple knew iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were more prone to bending, court docs show

“Call it the curse of miniaturization,” Mark Sullivan reports for Fast Company. “As tech companies try to make devices at once smaller and more powerful, things go wrong… It’s the same story with Apple’s ‘Bendgate,’ which, you’ll recall, happened when numerous Apple customers complained that the aluminum shells of 2014’s blockbuster iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones were prone to bend in normal use.”

“Earlier this month, a San Jose federal court declined to allow a group of plaintiffs to form a class action around the complaint, but the judge in the case wrote an opinion that included information from internal Apple documents that were under seal,” Sullivan reports. “Federal judge Lucy Koh wrote that Apple knew about the new phones’ propensity to bend before it launched the devices in 2014. Apple also conducted an internal investigation of the bending issues, Koh wrote, finding that the iPhone 6 was 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s, and that the iPhone 6 Plus was 7.2 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s, court documents show.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple knew that version was more prone to bending than previous iPhones, but there’s no proof that Apple believed the amount of flex was problematic. The phones could flex more than other models but still be within Apple’s design tolerances. No intent to deceive or sell failure-prone devices on Apple’s part is proven by these court documents.

In fact, other phones sold at the time and later were more susceptible to bending than Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Video: Google’s Nexus 6P bends easier than iPhone 6 Plus, scratches like an iPhone 5 – October 30, 2015
New iPhone 6s bend test reveals super-strong aluminum shell – August 19, 2015
New Apple patents show continuing work on Liquidmetal – August 11, 2015
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge bends and breaks under less pressure than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus – April 6, 2015
Foxconn’s CEO: iPhone 6 Plus ‘bendgate’ nothing more than FUD from competitors – October 9, 2014
It bends! Bendgate hits Samsung’s bendable Galaxy Note 4 – October 8, 2014
T-Mobile CEO John Legere on bendgate: ‘That’s such horseshit’ – October 6, 2014
Consumer Reports stress test: Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus not very bendable at all – September 26, 2014
Analysts: Ignore irrational ‘bendgate’ noise and buy Apple stock – September 26, 2014
Inside the facility where Apple tortures the iPhone 6 – September 26, 2014
Apple opens testing facility to reporters, details exhaustive iPhone 6 Plus durability tests – September 25, 2014
Apple’s gauntlet of five durability tests that iPhone 6 Plus passed with flying colors – September 25, 2014
Apple: Only nine customers have complained about bent iPhone 6 Plus units – September 25, 2014
If ‘bending’ is all Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus rivals have left, they’re roadkill – September 24, 2014


      1. It is personal opinion whether Apple made the newer iPhones strong enough. Physics isn’t the question. Apple’s stupid quest for making iPhones thinner with each generation is definitely a problem. If Apple goes any thinner, they will almost certainly have to move to stainless steel or carbon fiber in order to prevent catastrophic failure of the fragile aluminum and glass iPhone body that Apple currently sells. Marginally acceptable durability is the reason that the vast majority of iPhone owners put their devices in clunky thick TPU plastic cases.

  1. People/companies/media often misuse relative measurements to imply a risk posture that is not valid.

    I have an iPhone 5s and it is significantly shorter and thicker than the iPhone 6/6+. Simple beam relationships will lead one to the realization than the shorter phone is not subject to as much binding and bending moment in a back pocket. Furthermore, the greater thickness and stainless steel frame render it more resistant to bending. Of course the larger, thinner iPhone 6 models were more subject to flexing.

    Stating a likelihood of “bending” is rather meaningless. Everything bends to some degree under load, even if it is infinitesimal. The important considerations are: (1) does it bend enough to cause internal damage to the battery, boards, display, etc., and (2) does the frame yield (take on a permanent deflection rather that flexing back to its original state.

    The statement that the iPhone 6/6+ was “prone to bend in normal use” is also ambiguous. Who can define “normal use”? I have seen some iPhones crammed into the back pockets of skin tight jeans on bodacious booties. When those ladies sat down, the forces and moments on those phones must have been tremendous. To me, that is not a “normal use case.” You might as well carve a storage slot in
    the sole of your shoe, put your phone in it, and walk around.

    Will it bend? Will it blend? The same answer always applies…yes.

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