#Bendgate. In the roughly six weeks that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been in customers' hands, there have been reports that the devices bend without any provocation from owners. (There has also been plenty of evidence that the new iPhones will bend if you actually try to bend them, but that's besides the point.) Apple's response to the matter was succint: very few customers had complained about their iPhones bending, and if a customer had any issues, they should take their devices to an Apple Store. The company also invited media (including The Verge) to see its testing process for devices, including its various torture and wear tests.
Much of the media noise surrounding bent iPhones has died down since then, but Apple has sold tens of millions of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones, and it's very likely that more customers have experienced the issue. In fact, I was just one of them.
I purchased an iPhone 6 the first day it was available and have been using it as my main device for the past six weeks. Last night, while sitting on my couch, I noticed that it seemed like the Apple leather case my phone lives in had some obvious curvature to it. Upon removing the case, I realized that the phone itself had a very apparent bend, and it could easily be rocked on a flat surface. I also noticed there was a dent on the back of the phone. Neither issue impaired usability, but neither could have been chalked up to normal wear and tear, either.
I'm fairly careful with my devices. I've kept the iPhone in its case for virtually the entire time I've owned it, and the time between instances where I've actually broken phones can be measured in years — but I also live in the real world. My iPhone is one of my most used gadgets. It's constantly with me, in my pants pockets (front or back, I don't really discriminate), in my jacket pockets, or in my bag. I'm sure there are points where I have dropped my phone during everyday use, but none severe enough that I can pinpoint how this might have happened.
Following Apple's instructions, I used my bent iPhone to schedule an appointment at the Apple Store's Genius Bar for the following morning. I went to the store for my appointment, explained the situation to the employee, who then confirmed that the device was indeed bent without any obvious signs of abuse. I was then given a replacement iPhone and sent on my merry way. The whole process took less than a half an hour. From the time that I discovered my iPhone was bent to having a new phone in my hand was about 12 hours. Apple replaced the damaged phone under warranty at no cost to me, even though I had originally purchased the device from AT&T and not Apple itself. I'd never paid for any extended warranty or AppleCare Plus.
Getting my iPhone replaced by Apple took about 20 minutes and came at no cost to me
It's important to note that I scheduled the appointment using my personal email address and did not identify as a journalist at the store. It didn't appear that any one at the store recognized me as such, either. By all accounts, it was just a routine Genius Bar appointment and resolution. I asked the particular employee that helped me if they had seen a lot of customers complain of bent devices; they said of the thousands of people they've helped, they'd only seen it a couple of times. (They also noted that the other instances where a phone had come in bent, it had significantly more damage than my device, such as a cracked screen.) Apple PR declined to comment on this story when contacted by The Verge.
I'm not thrilled that my iPhone 6 bent under normal usage, but I can't say I'm unhappy with the resolution. I discovered a problem with my phone late in the evening and had a replacement the very next morning. (I'm fortunate enough to walk past an Apple Store every day on my way to work, so I didn't have to travel far to a store.) The worst part of the whole ordeal was having to reprogram my fingerprints for Touch ID on the replacement device. One of the big reasons that I often recommend iPhones to others is because of Apple's support structure — I can't think of another company that could resolve this kind of problem so quickly and painlessly.
The worst part of the whole ordeal was reprogramming Touch ID on the new phone
So yes, the new iPhone can apparently bend under normal usage. It sucks and could be a flaw in the design or construction of the phone. Of the many other phones I've carried, none have ever bent in my pockets or during normal usage. I was understandably skeptical of the early reports of iPhones bending, but obviously it's a real issue.
But I'm not going to stop using my iPhone 6 — it has a killer camera, great performance, access to the best apps, and the benefit of Apple's support infrastructure — and I'm not likely to stop recommending it to others. If this happens again (or if you also happen to own an iPhone that has bent), I'll go through the same process and hopefully have as good of an experience as I had today. Still, it shouldn't have bent in the first place.
Maybe I shouldn't put it in my back pocket any more.