Apple's Responds To Tech Mag Showing The Amazing Bending Phone By Freezing Them Out Of Bendy Apple Products

from the the-bends dept

If you’ve paid attention to anything tangentially related to technology news over the past couple of weeks, you’re probably familiar with “bendgate”, the feverish reaction to the realization that Apple’s newest iPhone 6 Plus includes the feature of a bending case if you accidentally sit on it or something. As an Android loyalist, these reports have been an endless source of entertainment thus far, but even that has now been trumped by Apple’s reaction to the issue. Apparently the company has decided that the best response to a technology news organization’s reporting on the bendy Apple phones is to threaten to freeze that publication out of future bendy phones and likely-bendy Apple events.

Computer Bilde, a German site, put up a video showing the new iPhone bending and reporting on it. That’s when they received a call from a local Apple guy.

The German PR department of the company reacts in a disturbing way: Instead of answering the questions about why the iPhone 6 Plus is so sensitive, a manager called COMPUTER BILD and told us, that COMPUTER BILD will not get any testing devices and no invites to official events any more.

How very Apple of them. It apparently is time to remind Apple that it makes products. It is not the corporate embodiment of Judge Smails threatening to keep honest reporters out of its country club. This idea that journalists who report to the public about very real issues with Apple products should no longer get access to reporting on Apple products is a strategy doomed to failure. Once the word is out that only favorable reports on Apple products are allowed, then nobody is going to trust the reports any longer. That means less sales, since people won’t trust the information on the products they’ll be receiving. And it won’t even stop the independent reviews, any way. Computer Bilde made the point nicely in an open letter to Tim Cook.

Dear Mr. Cook: Is this really how your company wants to deal with media that provide your customers with profound tests of your products? Do you really think that a withdrawal of Apple’s love and affection could have an intimidating effect on us? Luckily we do not have to rely on devices that Apple provides us with. Luckily, a lot of readers are willing to pay money for our magazine to keep us independent. So we are able to buy devices to do our tests anyway. Even devices of manufacturers that seem to fear COMPUTER BILD’s independent judgement.

Even if we are quite dismayed about Apple’s reaction, we won’t give up our principles: We will continue our incorruptible tests that have the same high reputation in the german media-landscape as Apple has for its products. So far. We congratulate you to your fine new generation of iPhones, even if one of them has a minor weakness with its casing. But we are deeply disappointed about the lack of respect of your company.

Nice attempt at strong-arming the press, Apple. Too bad it will accomplish nothing except to build distrust of your brand.

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Companies: computer bild

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Comments on “Apple's Responds To Tech Mag Showing The Amazing Bending Phone By Freezing Them Out Of Bendy Apple Products”

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Violynne (profile) says:

Once the word is out that only favorable reports on Apple products are allowed, then nobody is going to trust the reports any longer.
Wouldn’t matter. This “gate” has an eerie pattern to that other infamous “gate” regarding reviews and games, yet game sales aren’t down because of it.

If Apple knows one thing, it’s they can take a giant shit on everyone but still make billions all by sticking a new number on a device they didn’t invent.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Wouldn’t matter. This “gate” has an eerie pattern to that other infamous “gate” regarding reviews and games, yet game sales aren’t down because of it.”

Blech, the two have nothing to do with one another. Which is why it’s REALLY important we don’t keep on just throwing the word “gate” at the end of everything last thing….

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I suddenly feel the urge to add gate to everything.

Breakfastgate, the story of how Tim blasphemously doesn’t add syrup to his morning pancakes.

Toiletgate, the story on how techdirt trolls pull ‘facts’ out of their arses with alarming frequency.

Googlegate, the story of how evil Google became the internet.

I’m not in a creative streak here but I hope other readers can follow up ;D

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Except that Apple is in more financial trouble than it’s being open about.

Shareholders are dropping shares…iTunes revenue is being obliterated by Google Play and various other services..

Shareholders also asking for basically COMPLETE dividends…leaving apple with little to no spare cash for aquisitions….etc

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That is not really true. They can send a guy out to get one as early as reasonably possible. They can they write their review in plenty of time for their target audience.

The people getting an iPhone on the first day it is out don’t care about reviews. Those are made up almost entirely of apple fan boys that would buy pretty much anything with an i in front of it. The people that you are writing reviews for are those that have chosen to wait a week or two and do some research before buying.

Jeffry Houser (profile) says:

Hasn't Apple done this for years?

Hasn’t Apple done this for years? A famous example is the Gizmodo iPhone leak in 2010.

I read that the iPhone 6 release was the first time Gizmodo was at an Apple event since then.

I’ll also add that nothing prevents sites / articles from writing about Apple products even if Apple does not provide them free units or early access.

If Apple is having a private event to announce new products they should be able to invite [or not invite] whomever they want.

scottbp (profile) says:

Did you contact Apple for a quote?

Firstly other media organisations have done bend tests and shown that the iphone isn’t any more bendy than other devices, and the Bild video either showed a VERY strong dude, or they pre bent the device.
But about this article… did you reach out to Apple or try to find any corroboration of the claims from Bild? They claim they have been banned for some reason, but is that the whole story?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Did you contact Apple for a quote?

That is incorrect. Tests have shown it’s more bendy than most, but not all… and more bendy than previous iDevices.
The problem is that they don’t bend back.
No, it’s not as bad as some are making it out to be, but there is a bit of an issue with the build quality vs. the price.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Did you contact Apple for a quote?

Actually, according to Consumer Reports, it is more bendy than most phones. It required less pressure to bend than a samsung (which required the most force) but not more than an HTC M8. Its weaker than an LG G3. And the 6 is weaker than the 5.

So yes, it IS more bendy than other devices.

I’m shocked at how Consumer Reports tries to paint this as overblown when their own numbers prove without a doubt that the iphone 6 is not as strong as other phones. Thats some crazy spin on results.

And for a very good discussion on why Consumer Reports dropped the ball, read the comments here:

Anonymous Coward says:

Overreaction to a hyperbole

Face it, the ‘bending iPhone issue’ is not really that big of an issue; acoording to a number of independent tests the new iPhone is not exactly the strongest, but neither is it the weakest of the smartphones around…

On the other hand, it’s pretty petty of Apple to react this way to a negative review. Even if they believe the entire thing is blown way out of proportion.

My guess is that they now no longer consider Computer Bild ‘unbiased’.
And they are perfectly welcome to do so.

Randy the Pumpkin says:

Re: Overreaction to a hyperbole

Just for the record: BILD is Germany’s News of the World/SUN. Their tech magazine Computerbild always seemed to me pretty trashy, flashy, low quality. I wouldn’t want to be seen visiting their site or reading their print version. So fair enough, Apple definitely shouldn’t act like this. And maybe Computerbild did some minimal amount of reporting and/or test. But this: “We will continue our incorruptible tests that have the same high reputation in the german media-landscape as Apple has for its products.” is ridiculous. If Computerbild produced smartphones, they’d run Win ME on a shiny shoe box-sized forgettable covered in boob stickers, with mainly old, blissfully ignorant people buying it and none of them noticing that all it does is display the BSOD.
but damn – highest selling computer magazine in the EU, that hurts)

Rabbit80 (profile) says:

Re: Getting the facts right

The problem with these tests is that they are misleading.

In the Consumer Reports test, they apply pressure evenly across the middle of the back of the device – not stressing the weakest area of the device, but most likely putting stress on the battery and the stronger side structures. Numerous videos have shown that the phone is much more easily bent if applying pressure to a localised area on the back of the device near the volume buttons.

How that affects the way the phone reacts in a pocket is still unclear – however I would think in a pocket the phone could be subject to uneven pressure and twisting which could have an effect.

Also unclear is how the phones react to repeated bending under much smaller pressure – since the iPhone does not have any springiness, over a period of months a much smaller pressure could lead to the same effect and result in a bent phone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Bending the truth

I disagree.

It is about the reaction of a company against what they consider a misrepresentation of the product they produce.

And I personally think that cutting the writer off from perks such as invites to events and/or pre-release models is hardly ‘strong-arming’.

More than a few other companies would have opend “legal options” by now…

John85851 (profile) says:

Can we stop with the "-gate" nonsense

I’m reminded of a joke from Cracked: what do you call a scandal involving the ex-CEO of Microsoft about building a fence? That’s right- it’s the Bill Gates gate gate.

So, can we please stop adding “gate” to the end of every wanna-be scandal? Besides, the word comes from “Watergate”, which was the name of the hotel in Washington. It wasn’t the “water” hotel.

And I’ve been reading plenty of stories about the bendy iPhone (including on ArsTechnica) and this is the first site I’ve seen refer to this as “bendgate”. I think this site is better than coming up with a word like that.

TheLastCzarnian (profile) says:

Re: Can we stop with the "-gate" nonsense

Well, you can’t call it “Apple makes another shitty product” because it totally lacks shock value and the fanbois will dos your server with death threats. “Bendgate” fits easily into an article title, whereas “Why did you twits preorder a device before anyone had tested it in the wild, really, is that your brain or a load of rotting armadillo feces” just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

Case says:

COMPUTER BILD will not get any testing devices and no invites to official events any more

Looks like Computer Bild’s definition of “independent judgement” is mostly centered on champagne receptions hostesses.

Getting your test samples during a gala dinner in some resort with flight and all expenses paid is exactly what independent journalists should avoid, instead they’re crying about being cast out from paradise. Then again, we are talking about the magazine which downgraded laser printers for not printing in color, so…

Gcow says:

Apple's iPhone bending

Overall, I like the stuff I get in Techdirt. I also like my neat little Moto ‘Droid Razr Maxx, which I bought for its outstanding battery life, which allows me to stay connected to my disabled spouse.
What I don’t even give a shit about anymore, is the Bad Apple chatter. I’ll admit that I haven’t been around Techdirt long enough to know whether it’s like “fanboy/hater” chatrooms of yore, but it’s getting close to the silliness that I recollect from AOL days.
It could all be tongue in cheek, or even partly tongue in cheek. I don’t care. It’s just silly, and for the future, I’ll pass on even reading it.
Thanks anyway for the generally great info.

James Smith (profile) says:

Consumer Reports

Why is it that almost no one is paying any attention to the Consumer Reports test that demonstrated that the iPhone 6 and 6+ are no more prone to bending than other smart phones and better than some, the Much-touted HTC for example.

To me, this is another example of the “Hate Apple and never mind the facts” that anyone can see all over the internet. Methinks thou doth protest too much.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Bilde should just run a front-page article constantly for days prior to the Apple conference/leadership worship session…

Apple releases ‘iPad 5’..but they only let paid shills review it….etc

‘iPad 5’…We ask the difficult question…WHY doesn’t apple want us to check it out before it ships?…

You can cause a lot of damage with questions….

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