Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bentgate: Why You Shouldn't Worry Just Yet About It

UnboxTherapy image from "Bend Test"
The past 24 to 36 hours have been remarkable in terms of how viral “bentgate” has spread. Apple has gone from being in celebration mode to defensive mode in a matter of mere seconds. From praises to condemnation, things haven’t exactly swung in Apple’s favor in the slightest. However, I can’t help but think I have seen this scenario before. This inevitably leads me to ask even more questions of how one video and a few forum posts can take a highly touted and praised product from a throne to the dumps. 

While I wanted to stay out of this situation, I couldn't help but be angered by the quick, reactionary journalism and belief of legitimacy before there was even time to process it. Every year there seems to be a bent iPhone or two that happens from “pocket use” or some other trivial usage of the new iPhone. Don't believe me? Just try google searching the phrase “iPhone bent,” which brings up iPhones going back to the 4/4S having small and minor issues of bending. So what makes this situation so different that it causes wide spread fear and panic? 

I have heard a lot of crazy stories about “bentgate" on the forums and other tech sites about fowl play, Samsung attacking Apple indirectly through negative press from technical issues. Before we chase that story down a rabbit hole, lets try and approach this from a more logical, quizzical approach. 

The story broke that a man had an iPhone 6 plus in his suit pocket for roughly 18 hours as he drove, attended, and partied at a wedding. After the wedding ended and the dust settled, he noticed that his iPhone was bent. After realizing it was bent, he took to the forums to vent his frustration which led a small, but quick growing fear that the iPhone was easily bendable and not durable. But lets start from the very beginning, but lets ask some logical questions that I believe should be asked, that to this point haven't been asked, that would explain why the iPhone 6 plus appears to be much weaker and susceptible to bending. 
First report of bent gate from man sitting 18 hours with iPhone

Here is the process I think everyone should consider before canceling that pre order or trading in your iPhone 6 plus. 

The video from Unbox Therapy, which shows a guy with a bent iPhone before he ever even starts to bend it. He explains that the iPhone randomly was bent doing “normal” activities like storing the phone in his pocket. The first question you should ask, How was this iPhone bent? Is he telling the absolute truth about the situation? What does he stand to gain from manipulation of the iPhone?

The guy proceeds to put a lot of force behind an already damaged metal iPhone. Once metal, like the iPhone’s is damaged, the integrity of the chassis is compromised, therefore easier to bend. Despite that, the guy still struggles to bend the iPhone. After he does, he goes “The end,” and thats it. 

After the first video, which went viral as panic set in, he made another video doing “bend tests,” yes you heard right, bend tests. This time, he pulls out an iPhone 6, a Moto X, HTC One, and a Nokia Lumia phone to test. While this is all good and dandy, lets look at it a little closer. With the iPhone 6, notice the device is NOT compromised as it is in perfect shape. The guy then struggles to even slightly bend it, declaring it much harder to bend than the iPhone 6 Plus. Comparing a solid, metal phone to a half plastic or mostly plastic phone that is designed to have the back plate and battery come out doesn't seem like a worthy or fair test. After two videos of “bend tests,” I am left with more questions about the tests that were performed on the products rather than the durability of the products themselves. 

But how can you make that claim? One phone was damaged and the other wasn’t. Anything could of happened to the iPhone 6 plus that made it bend, but we don't have any other evidence other than the guys word. He could of had a defective iPhone, which isn't out of the realm of possibility seeing Apple made well over 10 million devices to be ready for this launch. There just isn't a way this early on to know for sure if this is a design flaw or an individual unit defect.

I am not trying to say that this guy is a fake or the video is. Metal does bend and thin, warm, aluminum phones could potentially be very weak, weak enough to bend under pressure from pocket wear potentially. However, after watching the videos, looking at pictures, and reading forums, there just aren't enough legitimate cases for me and anyone else to make an accurate assumption just yet.

For the record, my iPhone 6 plus has with stood being pocketed for hours in fairly tight jeans with moments of pressure that should bend the phone, but to this point, no damage. All I can say is wait, enjoy your phone, and check back in a few weeks. The worst that happens is that Apple replaces your iPhone if you truly do have a defect or issue with your shiny new iPhone.