Apple internally knew about iPhone 6 bendgate, touch disease

US District Court Judge Lucy Koh has denied a lawsuit against Apple from attaining class action certification. Koh mostly based it on Thomas Davidson’s attorneys’ failure to present a legal model to obtain damages. Plaintiffs are considering a refiling or appeal.

However, in the the judge’s opinion, as distributed by Motherboard, we learn that Apple had internally reviewed problems with the iPhone 6 and others including “bendgate,” a vulnerability the structural integrity, as well as “touch disease,” a deterioration in the display  — both are the issues at hand in the suit with regards to whether Apple misled or concealed its knowledge from the public.

Full disclosures from Apple and the class action are still under seal, but Koh cites the company’s papers saying that:

Apple’s internal testing “determined that the iPhone 6 was 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s (the model immediately prior to the subject iPhones) and that the iPhone 6 Plus was 7.2 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s.”

[…]

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.”

On “touch disease,” which progressively grayed out the pixels on the top of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus displays and greatly reduced touch sensitivity on those portions, Koh cited Apple documents saying that the company had added “underfill” padding to the logic board and the connection to the display panel of the models some 20 months after launch.

As Plaintiffs explain, “[…] Underfill is used to prevent the manifestation of chip defects induced by bending because it reinforces the connections and prevents them from bending away from the substrate.”

[…]

Apple had used underfill on the preceding iPhone generation but did not start using it on the Meson (U2402) chip in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus until May 2016.

Apple has publicly denied that bending was caused by a fault in its design or materials, even though independent repair technicians claimed that normal torsion wear from pocketing. It has also said that “touch disease” only results from when devices are hit against a hard surface repeatedly.

We’ll keep a tab on this to see if the case continues and we get more information out of this.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.