Although it already seems like weeks ago, it was only Tuesday that we began hearing stories about bending iPhones on MacRumors. Then a YouTube channel known as "Unboxed Therapy," one that is self-described as being one that "bridges the gap between advertising and entertainment," started a firestorm around the globe by showing how easy it was to bend the new iPhone 6 Plus. The owner of this video site, Lewis Hilsenteger, told CNN yesterday that you just have to "Grab it in the middle with the glass facing out and give it everything you have. It'll bend. We posted a report on this issue this week and stated that it was all hypothetical – even though the video was quite convincing on the surface. We added that the issue would work itself out in a few days one way or another. Well, it has.
Yesterday Apple finally broke their silence on the issue to say that only nine customers have officially contacted the company about a bent iPhone 6 Plus. Apple said both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus passed a series of tests meant to check the products' strength and durability through everyday use." In a sea of iPhone sales that are likely over 25 million by now, I think it's safe to say that 9 bent iPhone 6 Plus cases officially reported is meaningless.
Being that Samsung's Note 4 was debuting this week, the news about Apple's high-end iPhone 6 Plus being bendable with every day use was exactly what the doctor ordered. We know that BlackBerry took advantage of the bad publicity this story was generating. Being opportunist for a day usually comes back to bite you and so BlackBerry's CEO just shot himself in the foot, because the video has been proven to be anything but truthful.
A CNN reporter, shown in the video below, tested out Hilsenteger's claims of how easy it was to bend the iPhone and couldn't duplicate Hilsenteger's findings. Although millions wanted to test it out themselves, who wants to purposely destroy a thousand dollar iPhone and try to justify it to the guy at Apple's Genius Bar with a straight face? It was a classic catch-22 situation.
If you've never heard of FUD before, then this case has proven to be the ultimate example if not execution of this tactic in public. FUD stands for Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) and it's a tactic used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information. An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor's product.
That's why we used it in our byline: Did you hear the FUDDY Joke about the new Bendable iPhone? The timing of this in relation to the new Galaxy Note 4 debuting in North America today (and in Korea earlier this week) was just too convenient.
The Unboxed Therapy site definitely got on the map overnight if you had never heard of them before, but such sensational stories can also hurt a site and Hilsenteger's credibility has just been run over by a freight train. Unless you're the Hulk exerting super powers, the average user is never going to bend the phone as Hilsenteger told CNN. It's just not going to happen and it won't happen even in your front pocket if you're reasonable like 99% of us are.
I had to go to the Apple Store last night to exchange an iPad mini for an iPad Air and I asked the sales rep if I could put the iPhone 6 Plus in my pocket. I asked because I didn't want to try that and have bells go off that I was trying to steal it (Ha!).
I like wearing casual pants by Haggar and the iPhone 6 Plus had all the room in the world. I also found it interesting to watch the iPhone 6 table in the store and seeing potential customers trying to bend the iPhone. The shadow of this false story has been long indeed.
In hindsight it was a classic case of FUD or an opportunistic moment for Unboxed Therapy that snowballed into FUD. The temporary pause by reasonable consumers and fans in purchasing the new iPhone 6 Plus was justifiable. But now that the smoke has cleared, the verdict is in: It was a false alarm. As the old saying goes: it's better to be safe than sorry.
So if you were reasonably holding back a purchase to see how this all played out this week, you did well. You can now go out with a clean conscience and make that purchase of Apple's cool iPhone 6 Plus.
Unless you're really out to destroy your iPhone for publicity sake, it's not going to bend with reasonable "everyday use" as Apple has confirmed. After a short pause this week, I placed an order for a new iPhone 6 Plus last night at the Apple Store. After a week on the market they were sold out. Waiting a few more days for the coolest iPhone phablet on the planet will be just fine. And about that FUDDY joke. Well, it turned out to be a dud.
One More Thing
If you're still a little hesitant, Apple went out of their way to show the world the extensive stress testing that they did for the iPhone 6 Plus by inviting CNBC in to film the testing process the phones underwent before giving production the go ahead.