Bent Out of Shape

Unless you have been living under a rock on the far side of the moon, you probably have seen or heard the news stories about “Bendgate”.  As a lover of technology, and ridiculousness, I was drawn to this story.  YouTube is filled with videos about it; there are currently over 111,000 results when you search YouTube for “iPhone 6 bending”.  The top result is a tech reviewer who bends his own iPhone 6 Plus with his hands. it has nearly 53 million views. T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, has made expletive-filled rants about it. Consumer Reports has even performed official bend tests comparing the flexibility of popular mobile phones, which is all really much ado about nothing.

For all you subterranean Lunarians out there, who somehow found this blog, “Bendgate” is the media and internet frenzy surrounding the Apple iPhone 6 and its apparent flexibility and potential for breaking when sat on while in your pocket. Apple claims that it is not a cause of concern and that only a few people have actually bent their iPhone when used normally.

As part of their ongoing public feud, Apple’s largest competition in the mobile phone market, Samsung, is running an entire marketing campaign on “Bendgate”.  Samsung has even created a “butt robot with mom jeans to prove its phones don’t bend” as a response to the frenzy.

I’ve seen some videos where people bend iPhones with a lot of force, causing the aluminum casing to deform and the glass to separate from the case. One video shows a couple kids going into the Apple Store and, right in front of Apple Geniuses, bend the phone and separating the glass from the case.  Because Apple is known for its quality of products, this problem is embarrassing. But it is more like “someone pulled my pants down” embarrassing, rather than “I forgot to put pants on” kind of embarrassing. Yes, there is a difference.

Apple has fought other battles regarding the iPhone in the past.  Who could forget 2010’s “Antennagate”?  When calls were being dropped by holding the outside metal casing of the iPhone 4. The problem was design.  In order to make it look the way the Apple designers wanted it to, they wrapped the antenna around the metal rim of the phone.  Apple’s explanation was that if you held the phone a certain way, the so-called “death grip”, you would bridge the gap between two segments of the antenna which caused antenna attenuation.  Apple and the iPhone survived.

Even though it suffered a black eye from “Antennagate,” Apple sold 88 million iPhone 4’s and continues to break sales records with the iPhone 6. The Verge reported that Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus’ during its opening weekend, despite its unavailability in China, the world’s largest smartphone market. All indications point to continued success and sales records for the iPhone 6.

Apple builds a quality product, so does Samsung, HTC, and LG.  Consumer grade phones really shouldn’t be put through a torture test to prove their toughness. Not too long ago, manufacturers were trying to make the smallest possible phones à la Zoolander.  Today, the trend is to create the IMAX experience in your hand.  But some benefits come with a compromise, including perhaps a more delicate phone. The smartphones in the market today are more powerful than the supercomputer that put Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the moon.  They have sensitive electronics encased in glass, and are designed to be lightweight and slim.  They aren’t intended to be folded up like George Jetson’s car. Should we all just buy shoulder holsters for our pocket entertainment systems we call smartphones and call an end to “Bendgate” so we can get on to more important things like, when is Dean Kamen going to release the hoverboard? 2015 is a couple months away. I want my hoverboard!

What are your thoughts? Share them with me in the comments below.

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