Bendgate is back in the news and this time, court documents show Apple knew about structural problems with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus prior to release.
Apple’s own tests revealed the handsets might have a bending problem but publicly defended the structural soundness despite widespread customer complaints of frozen or unresponsive touchscreens. As the complaints piled up, Apple quietly corrected the defect, the documents show.
The news site Motherboard broke the story Thursday after the U.S. District Court made some documents public in an otherwise closed class-action lawsuit that accuses Apple of misleading customers.
Apple was forced to turn over testing reports in the case.
“Underscoring the point, one of the major concerns Apple identified prior to launching the iPhones was that they were ‘likely to bend more easily when compared to previous generations,” U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh wrote in an opinion. The full opinion is published with the story on Motherboard
Apple blamed the bending on dropped phones in November 2017 but replaced faulty handsets for $149. The company never admitted to structural problems nor that it re-enforced other phones.
“After an internal investigation, Apple determined underfill was necessary to resolve the problems caused by the defect. As Plaintiffs explain, ‘underfill is a bead of epoxy encapsulate that is placed on a circuit chip to reinforce its attachment to the board substrate to stiffen the surrounding assembly. Underfill is used to prevent the manifestation of chip defects induced by bending because it reinforced the connections and prevents them from bending from the substrate.’
“Apple had used underfill on the preceding iPhone generation but did not start using it on the . . . chip on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus until May 2016.”
Apple did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment. The tech giant is asking the judge to deny the case class certification.