Bent iPhone phenomena - an alternate theory

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mrdm, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. mrdm macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2010
    Amidst the hoopla and frenzy over "bendgate" and "bendghazi" and then the consumer reports testing, apple response, etc. it occurred to me that both sides are probably right. The folks that have had their iPhones bend are probably not making it up (well, most aren't) and Apple has done exhaustive testing to ensure that the phone is reliable in daily use....that is, 70lbs of pressure cannot be exerted no matter how tight your jeans are ;-).

    So, having said that - I suspect the real cause of bendgate is a manufacturing defect. During the assembly of the iPhone it is obvious there are multiple "layers" that have to come together to make the phone...the screen, the PCB, the stress reinforcers, the chassis and so on. What if, during assembly, they have not all been installed in a flush manner or there is extra torque on one of the fasten points during assembly that place undue stress on other areas of the phone and so on.

    The is all speculation of course, but I'm surprised we have not seen this advanced by the popular media as a theory. It could be that the materials and design are just fine but that the problems are occurring over time due to assembly.

    food for thought....
  2. Robert1-1 macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2014
    Here is the best explanation I have read. And no it's not a manufacturing defect.

    Some excerpts,

    "...This isn’t right. iPhone’s bending problem has nothing to do with aluminum. It has everything to do with geometry.

    ((Edit: Material choice matters, always. But material has to work together with the geometry it’s been shaped into. The choice of aluminum here isn’t the limiting factor. The geometric design of the aluminum chassis is.))...

    ...Apple uses anodized 6000 series aluminum (most likely 6061, possibly a tempered variant like -T4 edit: apparently it’s 6003, which is similar to 6061 in properties). This is a good compromise between the extremes, and is the most ubiquitous aluminum alloy out there. It’s got good mechanical properties, easy to machine, easy to weld. Their choice of material was correct in this case.

    The problem with the iPhone 6 chassis comes from something we call “stress concentration” in engineering and this phenomenon is related to the geometry of an object. More specifically, it has to do with the cross section profile that is being bent...
  3. samiznaetekto macrumors 65816

    Dec 26, 2009
    I thought iPhones were assembled by hand?

    The most likely explanation of out of the box bent iphones is disgruntled foxconn workers, same as 2 yrs ago on i5 launch.
  4. Robert1-1 macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2014
    Hmmm, interesting theory. Doing a search on bent iPhone 5 and 5s does indeed retrieve many posts and articles on it. One article that was interesting commented about how early iphone 5 models were bending, then seemed to stop, but then when the 5s came out it too was bending. So how could Apple not fix this design flaw? Your theory could explain this perfectly. If a worker bent the phone, and even bent it back to where the bend wasn't very perceptible, it would compromise the structural integrity. This would also explain why the numbers reported are relatively few. On the other hand, if this really were the case, I would expect that Apple would be able to track down the factory and worker very easily and quickly from looking up the serial numbers of the returned phones.

  5. danilko1 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 21, 2010
    The media, haven't gotten their hands on bent phones. They bend them on purpose and say "SEE, IT BENDS" So you can't expect any investigative reporting from these folks, they don't care. They want page views.

    The only company that can possibly find the truth, is Apple, and they won't say anything.

    I do think it's coming from the factory.
  6. kingofwale macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2010

    no, it is indeed not a manufacturing defect.

    It's a engineering defect.. not making the internal geometry of the chassis strong enough, the issue lies both with the engineers and the people who test the device.
  7. asleep macrumors 68040


    Sep 26, 2007
  8. wxman2003 Suspended

    Apr 12, 2011
    They all bend, if you try. Every phone will have variances. Guess what, most will not be 100% straight out of the box. They could be off by 1 degree. It could be the glass, it could be the aluminum. It could be slight bending due to assembly. I wonder how may OOTB are completely straight. Not talking about the obvious bends, but the very slight wobbles. I would bet, many have the ever so very slight wobble.
  9. McDaddio macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2014
    Here's another theory that is actually supported by facts.

    People go out of their way to bend their phones...and...
    they bend...then...
    they are surprised and disappointed that it bent...

    I enjoyed the video of the 2 people from the U.K. who went into the Apple store to do a "test" first one said he couldn't bend it, but then he repositioned his hands and eventually was able to. Oh, what a scandal!

    Or the guy who admitted after bending his phone that his thumb was sore for 20 minutes after bending!

    Or the guy who had a daily test of his phone, and then claimed that on day 16 it magically was bent. Yeah, no OCD behavior here...
  10. Robert1-1 macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2014
    There is definitely a design component here that make them structurally less durable. But what's puzzling is not everyone seems to have an issue even those that seem hard on it.
  11. cababah macrumors 68000

    Jun 11, 2009
    SF Bay Area, CA

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