Apple Inc broke its silence on complaints about bending iPhones, hours after withdrawing a glitch-ridden software update as the company struggles to restore momentum to the rollout of its latest smartphones.
“With normal use, a bend in an iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said in an e-mail.
Apple shares closed down nearly 4 percent at US$97.87 on Thursday, wiping out nearly US$23 billion in market value.
The new phones face criticism over their flexibility, dubbed “bendgate.”
Social media and online forums have been abuzz with comments about how the new phones can bend when placed in back pockets or while wearing skinny jeans.
Apple said its iPhones feature stainless steel and titanium inserts to reinforce high-stress locations and use the strongest glass in the smartphone industry.
The only way an iPhone may have bent is if someone put it in their back pocket and sat on the phone for a very long time, said Laban Roomes, chief executive officer of Goldgenie, which customizes and gold plates iPhones.
Apple was also forced to withdraw a faulty update to its latest operating system after some users of its new phones complained of call service disruptions.
Users of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also complained about the inability to use the fingerprint-reading Touch ID after updating to iOS 8.0.1.
Apple released a new software update late on Thursday to fix the problems, which it said affected fewer than 40,000 devices.
“I do believe this speaks to execution issues at Apple,” JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna said. “At the end of the day, I believe this too shall pass, but we are noting with concern that the miscues pile up.”
However, customers might hope for replacements of their bent iPhones, depending on whether their devices passed an inspection, tech news Web site the Next Web reported, quoting an Apple support executive.
Rival smartphone makers took digs at Apple’s problems.
A Samsung Electronics Co advertisement showcased a bending phone against its own product, while BlackBerry Ltd chief executive officer John Chen (程守宗) said: “I would challenge you guys to bend our Passport.”
Nestle SA’s Kit Kat chocolate wafer brand tweeted “We don’t bend, we break.”
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