Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement earlier this month revealed two big-screened devices. The product unveiling barely moved the needle on the company’s stagnant stock price, but consumers were salivating beyond analyst expectations.
In fact, consumer demand was—and is—so piping hot that Apple literally cannot make enough iPhones to sell. After four million online preorders within 24 hours and 10 million sold units three days after launching in stores, Apple’s supply is not coming close to meeting demand.
That is a good problem to have. But a buzz about how your phone bends in pockets? Not such a good problem to have.
#Bendgate, as it has become known, is the most media-frenzied iPhone fiasco since Antennagate plagued the iPhone 4. Hundreds of YouTube videos show people attempting to bend iPhone 6 phones (and, in many cases, succeeding). The same thing happened with Antennagate when videos showed people tightly squeezing their entire hands around certain parts of the iPhone 4 to reduce the phone’s signal.
People don’t hold their phones like that, so Antennagate was never a real issue. People also don’t deliberately try to bend their $1,000 mobile devices with two hands, so when the hype dies down people will accept that Bendgate is not a real issue either.
Apple says only nine out of well over 10 million customers have formally complained about a bent iPhone 6. Consumer Reports offers the most convincing and scientific argument yet that Bendgate is all bark, no bite.
All that said, after watching a dozen videos of people on both sides of the fence, bending both iPhones and other smartphones, I could not help but observe something: not a single video I saw used a BlackBerry device. Samsung Galaxy Notes, Moto X’s, and virtually every other Android phone have now been compared to the iPhone 6 in terms of bending resistance. But the Z10 or Z30? Nowhere, at least that I’ve seen.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen did try briefly to capitalize on Bendgate, challenging consumers during the Waterloo company’s recent Passport product launch to bend the steel-framed device. However, the jab got lost amidst more popular competitors hurling more aggressive punches in Apple’s direction.
Perhaps one reason for the glaring omission of a Canadian-made device in the Bendgate frenzy is that for every Passport BlackBerry will sell, Apple will sell 100 iPhones—suggesting that, despite inching back toward solid footing and even profitability, BlackBerry simply doesn’t come to mind anymore when an American thinks of a smartphone.