Only nine people complained to Apple about the iPhone 6 Plus bending in their pockets, but that’s not going to stop the Internet from joking about #Bendgate. So the company is trying to manage its PR crisis by opening the doors to its super secret testing facility. Yes, Apple puts its new phones through the ol’ sit-down test.
About 15,000 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units were tested before the devices began shipping last week. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 10 million phones Apple has sold so far, but the sample devices were run through various scenarios that they might endure day-to-day. Then they were tortured.
Is this a new era of openness for Apple? Not really. The company opened its doors to reporters in 2010 when the iPhone 4 antenna was causing dropped calls upon release. But the move signifies that, though few customers have actually complained about the issue, Bendgate is becoming a real problem for the company’s image (and stock price).
There are three kinds of sit-down tests, according to a Verge report from inside the Cupertino testing facility. The tests replicate real-world situations: sitting on hard surfaces, then soft surfaces (like couches), then hard surfaces at an angle where the phone might bend inside a pocket. A back pocket, even.
Then the devices are put through a bend test, in which a 25-kilogram weight presses down on the phone. Re/code noted that the phones do bend under the weight, but quickly rebound to normal. The phones endure a 10-kilogram pressure test and a torsion test, where the devices are twisted to an unspecified degree, to cap off the process.
The Cupertino tests are just a sampling of what quality control processes Apple puts new products through before launching. Even more tests are conducted at production facilities in China. But #Bendgate, like the iPhone 4 Antennagate before it, is causing such controversy that Apple needed to prove it does have quality controls in place—and that bent phones are outliers, not the norm.
Despite all of those tests, some iPhones are bending. If you’re noticing curves on your new iPhone 6 Plus that shouldn’t be there—and you haven’t deliberately tried to damage the device—then head on down to your local Apple store. Your warranty should cover a replacement.