technology

Bent IPhone 6 Plus Can Be Forced Back Into Shape

The fix for a bent IPhone 6 Plus may be to simply bend it back into shape.

That’s the advice being given by a repair company following reports that Apple Inc.’s new big-screen smartphones are prone to taking on a slight curve after sitting on them or being forcefully bent.

“We have tools that will reform the frame, but given that, it’s still not a 100 percent success rate because it’s not in the exact same manufacturer’s shape,” said Jack Murphy, a spokesman for iCracked Inc., a Redwood City, California-based company that fixes broken gadgets. “We absolutely do not recommend that people try it by themselves.”

While Apple saw record demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during their debut weekend, the rollout has been marred by the malleability of the larger model and by faulty updates to the latest version of iOS software. Apple is counting on the new handsets to fuel sales growth. The devices generate more than half of the company’s annual $171 billion in revenue and precede a swath of other products that will go on sale, including new iPads and Apple Watch.

This isn’t the first time Apple has faced the ire of customers after the debut of a new iPhone model. In 2010, the antenna in the iPhone 4 lost reception when held a certain way. The company gave away plastic cases to unhappy consumers in the aftermath of what became known as “Antenna-gate.”

Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, didn’t immediately have a comment about the bent iPhones.

Structural Integrity

The iPhone 6 Plus, made with aluminum, stainless steel and glass, was touted as being thinner than the previous version, even with a larger 5.5-inch display. The issue seems to mainly affect the iPhone 6 Plus.

“The structural integrity of the device is always going to be sacrificed when Apple consistently is trying to create a lighter, thinner and more compact device,” Murphy said. “This is more consumers not understanding or being accustomed to a larger device in their pocket or their purse or handbag. It’s more about user error than actual engineering.”

His company has seen similarly bent versions of the iPhone 5s and 5c in the past and has used tools to apply pressure to reshape the frames, he said.

“The bent frame in general makes it more susceptible to further damage,” he said. “A lot of it is more of a comfort and aesthetic thing. As long as it hasn’t adversely affected the function of the device, it’s more of a personal preference.”

Bends, Cracks

Several repair shops contacted today didn’t have a solution yet for the bent phones, largely because they’re still examining the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to see how they work.

“We haven’t seen any new ones come in because we don’t repair them yet,” Steven Nata, manager at Manhattan iPhone Repair, said in a phone interview. “However, we have been getting calls about the bends, and cracked screens.”

There is one drastic solution, according to Matt Nathanson, manager at The Device Shop in New York. “Replacing the whole entire frame is possible,” Nathanson said in a phone interview. “It’s something that we do every so often on the previous models.”

He cautioned that this may prevent customers from getting help at Apple Stores after a repair or replacement.

At the MacRumors fan site, a member named hanzoh wrote this week that the phone was “slightly bent after two days” in a front suit pocket. Unbox Therapy, a website for gadgets, posted a YouTube video that attracted more than 7 million views within a day of founder Lewis Hilsenteger bending his iPhone 6 Plus.

BlackBerry, Twitter

Even BlackBerry Ltd. Chief Executive Officer John Chen took his own shot at Apple today as he introduced his company’s new device called the Passport.

“I would challenge you guys to bend our Passport,” he said at an event in Toronto.

The issue was trending in U.S. on Twitter with the hashtag “#bendgate” as users rushed to post photos of their bent iPhones.

“If #bendgate leads to the end of hipsters in skinny jeans, we should all be eternally grateful,” Twitter user Josh Dorian wrote.

Some on Twitter defended Apple, including a user identified as RyWalters: “In all fairness, anyone who puts a gadget made of aluminium in their back pocket and sits down deserves for it to bend.”

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