I’ve been carrying around an iPhone 6 Plus, the larger of Apple’s two new iPhones, for the past two months. When I pull it out of my pocket, I generally get asked two questions:
The second question is in response to a scandal that strikes me as silly even by the exceedingly low standards of “scandals” surrounding Apple products. After the release of the iPhone 6 Plus in September, someone intent on “stress-testing” the phone, or something, was able to induce a slight bend. The phone remained perfectly operational; it just featured a slight curve from behind.
For whatever reason, Internet commenters went nuts. Otherwise sane people entered Apple Stores and attempted to bend the display iPhones there, to the apparent indifference of Genius Bar workers. The hashtag “#bendgate” sprouted on Twitter and Tumblr, causing a miniature public relations headache for Apple. Were the new iPhones really delicate little flowers of smartphones, made from Laffy Taffy and Play-Doh, susceptible to bend from nothing more than the tickle of a feather?
Well, no. Tests from Consumer Reports showed that you had to apply an insane amount of pressure to a very specific spot on the iPhone in order to induce bending. Apple put out a statement downplaying the issue, claiming that only nine people had reported any bends in their iPhones. Photos and videos showing curvaceous iPhones slowed as, crucially, no one was actually experiencing the problem. The whole thing appeared to have gone away.
But now we have this: via the tech site BGR, a clever YouTube video showing, in quick succession, 300 unique bent iPhones, soundtracked by the Raffi classic “Bananaphone.” The video appears to have come from a blog called “One of the Nine,” which has thus far cataloged more than 300 instances of bent iPhones. (The name of the site refers to Apple’s claim that only nine iPhones had been affected. The number 300, you see, is comically greater than the number 9.)
The site has posted an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking, among other things, for clarification on the company’s return policy for bent iPhones. Many iPhone owners who have experienced bending have received replacements; others apparently have not, for reasons that are unclear. It also asks about the risk that a bent iPhone would pose to the phone’s battery; might the battery, for example, explode, as one man claimed it did after getting in a car accident with the phone in his pocket?
That would be a valid question, one that we might expect a chief executive to answer, if, perhaps, more iPhones had actually been affected. Supposing that 300 iPhones were naturally — and not purposefully and maliciously — bent, that still represents a teeny-tiny fraction of iPhone 6’s that are out there. Consider that Apple sold 10 million new iPhones on its first weekend of availability. It’s been more than a month since then, with many millions more iPhones out there.
If only 300 people have reported bent iPhones, then #bendgate probably isn’t on the top of Tim Cook’s mind. He probably cares more about the playoff prospects of his Auburn football team than he does a fantasyland scandal that has long since veered into the absurd.
So enjoy the video and the Raffi song. And to answer your two questions, for the hundredth time: Yes, it fits in your pocket, and no, it doesn’t bend unless you really, really put your back into it.