Apple’s “Bend-Gate” Scandal Continues Tradition of Faulty Design and Passing the Buck

by Matt Klassen on September 29, 2014

While Apple fans have come to expect inspiration and illumination from their iPhones, their implicit desires for their newest toys are much more practical and down-to-earth. You see, while Apple users think they want a sleek, inspiring design, what they really want is what we all want from our smartphones: durability and reliability. If we’re going to drop a few hundred dollars on Apple’s latest must-have phone, it better survive the trip home.

But as Apple’s fame continues to grow it seems the company may have lost sight of the importance of actually building a quality phone, as opposed to building something pleasing to the eye and intuitively simple to use. As I mentioned in passing last week, Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been hit with such controversy almost right out the box, as several users have posted images of their brand new iPhones now bent and misshapen from nothing more than resting in one’s front pocket.

It’s the sort of controversy that seems to plague Apple products, exacerbated greatly by the fact that Apple users likely consider the iPhone they just purchased to be an elite piece of technology, unrivalled in both quality and technological features (both not true), while Apple haters (of which there are many) relish the opportunity to show just how mediocre Apple really is. What Apple needs to do to quiet both parties, however, is quick and decisive action; what Apple will do, though, is likely what is always does…pass the buck.

When any company releases a product that contains any sort of defect the one thing that customers want to know is that the company cares about its customers, their investment, and their wellbeing. I get no such sense from Apple in this case.

“Our iPhones are designed, engineered and manufactured to be both beautiful and sturdy. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature a precision engineered unibody enclosure constructed from machining a custom grade of 6000 series anodized aluminum, which is tempered for extra strength,” Apple said in a response to this controversy released last week, explaining that the, “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use.”

The company also added that, “With normal use a bend in iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus.”

But how do we interpret words like “normal use,” “everyday” and “real life use,” in a statement about an embarrassing and possibly serious defect in the design of the new iPhone 6? One doesn’t need to parse this very deeply to see that what Apple is really saying is that the iPhone 6 doesn’t bend, and if it did, those people were doing something wrong. Not Apple’s fault, but the fault of the users.

It’s the same sort of public relations strategy the company employed last month with the celebrity photo hacking scandal, with Apple coming out with a statement that tacitly laid the blame at the feet of the users.

Not only that, but bend-gate is hardly the first scandal to plague Apple’s iPhones. Remember Antenna-gate, that quirky little design flaw that saw calls disconnected or disrupted if the user placed their hand on the wrong part of the phone? There too, Apple’s first response was to blame it on others, before it realized there was something to the claims. I truly hope the same happens here, that Apple is forced to acknowledge that it did something wrong (again), and perhaps finally realize that its first response to any crisis shouldn’t be blaming others, but instead accepting responsibility and working to do things better.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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