After much speculation and internet chatter, it has been confirmed by Apple that “yes”, their phones do bend. While they have said that only nine cases have been reported, there’s no saying exactly what Apple’s definition of ‘reported’ is nor why the phones are actually bending.

Apple opened up their ‘iPhone Torture Lab‘ to various media outlets yesterday in an attempt to help show the public that yes…they do in fact test their iPhones before sending off manufacturing orders. But even if they do test their phones, who’s to say that their tests are exhausting all design flaw possibilities?

Imgur user ‘alleras4’ wrote up a detailed description of his or her analysis of the problem and compared their notes to the images taken at Apple’s quality control testing facility and those seen in various bending images and videos posted this week.

The results are fascinating and make you wonder how something like this could have slipped past Apple’s design and engineering team. In their defense, few products are truly meant to be put under as much stress as some of these examples popping up online…but on the other hand, this should have been foreseen with a product that is picked apart and analyzed by every last detail months before its release.

In summary, ‘alleras4’ explained:

“It’s not bc it’s thin or aluminum, it’s bc behind the volume buttons there’s a metal reinforcement that’s not well designed.”

After a further analysis of the insanely popular ‘iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test’ video from Unbox Therapy (below) they add:

“What we see in the video:

The red and yellow arrows represent the forces applied and how they affect the profile of the phone, and the blue graph represents the moment caused by the forces.”

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“Things to notice:

  1. The forces aren’t applied throughout the entire transversal section of the phone but mainly at one side.
  2. There’s only one point of the profile giving in to flexion under the area with maximum moment.
  3. There’s evident stretching of the upper portion of the profile, no evidence of compression in the bottom portion of the profile (seen with red and yellow arrows).”

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    “So I can get to the conclusion that it’s not about if it bends or not, as seen in the video we know it does where other phones don’t or less so. It’s not about how much force must be applied and if a pocket will do the trick or not. It’s just that under a particular type of flexing, the phone is prone to bend mainly because a metal insert meant to reinforce instead spins in an axis too close to the critical point. If they were further apart allowing better support to counter the flexing and not spining, it would make it more resistant.”

    The entire explanation is fascinating and worth a look.

    On a side note, the importance of the level of detail that goes beyond just the surface of an Apple product (or any product for that matter) was explained by the late Steve Jobs to author Walter Isaacson shortly before his passing:

    “I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it. When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

    Author

    Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.