back to article Apple admits the iPhone 6 Plus has 'Touch Disease'

Apple has admitted that the iPhone 6 has “Touch Disease”, a glitch that leaves the handset's touch screen inoperable. The problem surfaced in August when repair site iFixit diagnosed a problem with controller chips that lost electrical contact with the phablet's motherboard. Apple, as is its wont, remained silent … until …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prove it

    Apple has the accelerometer data on the device. So show the customer where it was (gps) and the sudden deceleration data (impact). They could even have a 'iDroppedIT' app for this.

    Otherwise this is just unsubstantiated assertions by a billionaire tax dodging megacorp that its all your fault instead of it being their shit build quality.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prove it

      Pay attention to how very carefully Apple worded it as well.

      They haven't actually admitted *any* fault that would be their responsibility.

      They've blamed it on two causes and been quite specific about the part relating to it being "dropped multiple times on a hard surface"- the bit that would quite clearly be the user's responsibility and not theirs- yet they're not even trying to argue that's the sole cause and go on to say "and then incurring further stress on the device"

      They're quite vague about that "further stress". One might suspect it was the "excessive flexibility in the 'Bendgate' case leading to stress and fracture on the IC connections" that everyone else already considers the most likely cause... yet, that would likely be Apple's responsibility.

      The bit they're clear about is the bit where it's clear the responsibility lies with the user (i.e. the alleged phone dropping that no-one else had considered to be a factor). If those "further stresses" were also the user's fault, why so vague?

      Most likely because the stresses are caused by bending which is caused by Apple's own design flaw they've been incredibly careful to skirt round accepting *any* responsibility for.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Flame

    "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

    Bollocks.

    Apple's repairs (in and out of guarantee) are just another money spinner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

      >Apple's repairs (in and out of guarantee) are just another money spinner.

      Upgrades too - SSDs are soldered into the new Mac Book Pros - nice chunky labour charge and only Apple prices if you want a larger drive or lose too much to bit rot.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

      the repaies might be a money spinner in the USA but not in the EU (until we leave that is and 'free' warranty periods suddenly revert to 30 days but that is another story. No doubt the likes of PC world will be back selling those extended warranties again that cost as much as the device itself ). The rules here are different.

      A friend of mine recently got her 2012 MacBook repaired (Display port went U/S) for free.

      That ain't so bad is it?

      1. AndyS

        Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

        Hmm. What was the reason they did it for free? Had she bought an extended warranty?

        My 2011 imac screen failed after 23 months. I had the 2 year extended warranty. Without that, it would have cost about £450 for the repair, despite it being clearly a faulty product. I was less than impressed - since that was the third repair within the 2 year period, and since their products are getting less and less useful*, I won't be rushing back.

        * I just did a mid-life upgrade by doubling the RAM and adding an SSD along side the original HDD - things that the more recent Apple products don't let you do.

      2. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

        EU law on it, start looking at Guarantees and returns.

        The UK Gov't can leave parts of EU law in UK legislation if it wants to. It will be interesting to see who they think their friends are by seeing what remains and what is junked.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

          "The UK Gov't can leave parts of EU law in UK legislation if it wants to."

          And AFAICR "merchantable quality" pre-dates EU regulation on warranties.

        2. AndyS

          Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

          > EU law on it, start looking at Guarantees and returns.

          Yes, that provides a 2 year warranty on all products bought. I know it well, and have used to to return/replace faulty goods. There is absolutely no way it provides for free repairs to a 4 year old computer, so either a) the product was under an Apple warranty or b) Apple acted above and beyond their legal duty.

          Assuming it was b), she did well, but that is absolutely not Apple's usual course of action.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

            >> EU law on it, start looking at Guarantees and returns.

            >Yes, that provides a 2 year warranty on all products bought.

            EU Law just requires a _minimum_ 2 year warranty, individual countries are free to extend that and many do. UK Law (Sale of Goods Act 1979) requires 6 years warranty against failure for most Apple hardware - they are legally obliged to inform you of your rights when you buy.

            http://www.apple.com/uk/legal/statutory-warranty/

            [it's a standard template page on the Apple site which varies the terms in each Apple Store jurisdiction making the UK variant quite hilarious were if not for all the mugs who buy a warranty anyway]

            UK Statutory Warranty has been tested in court several times and various manufacturers of consumer electronics (mobiles, PCs, laptops etc) lost every time.

            It only covers faults due to manufacture in normal use (eg a component fails before 6 years is up) and doesn't cover batteries - for the latter they are allowed to charge a reasonable fee to cover cost of replacement.

          2. Mike Richards

            Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

            I had the graphics card on a four year old iMac repaired gratis at an Apple Store because apparently this component had a higher than expected failure rate. So Apple do sometimes do the right thing.

            Also worth mentioning that iFixit sound dubious about Apple's explanation that dropping the phone is responsible:

            https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/17/apple-will-fix-iphone-6-plus-touch-disease-for-149/

            Finally, for anyone in the UK who is affected, you might have a claim for a free fix/replacement under the Consumer Rights Act (replacing the Sale of Goods Act) if your phone fails and you are sure you haven't dropped it. This is in addition to your warranty and requires that Apple shipped an item that was fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. This extends for up to six years after purchase (five in Scotland) but it obviously becomes increasingly hard to prove an intrinsic defect as the item gets older.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              SIX year warranty?

              Maybe you guys should remember that next time you bitch about the unfair exchange rate comparison to US prices. Obviously at least some of that difference is down to the additional warranty expense over the one year warranty we get in the US.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: SIX year warranty?

                >Obviously at least some of that difference is down to the additional warranty expense over the one year warranty we get in the US.

                It's probably not much of a factor - in the UK we're very bad at asserting our rights - AppleCare sells well and I would be surprised if more than a few % of Apple customers actually get their devices repaired free for the 6 years.

            2. cambsukguy

              Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

              Dropping a phone has to come under reasonable use surely, it is a hand-held device.

              If the phone is physically broken by the drop, case, screen etc., the they might legitimately say that the drop was "Outside acceptable parameters" but if the drop didn't produce something obvious then it might be considered 'normal' use.

        3. cambsukguy

          Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

          I thought I read that the UK will 'absorb' ALL EU law at first, so we have a cohesive set of laws, no changes.

          Then they will set about repealing and amending any (now) UK laws at their leisure.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface"

          All of the chat regarding the 2 years EU or 6 year UK guarantee is skipping over the part where the consumer has to prove that the product was defective from the start when claiming after the first 6 months, which is very difficult to do...

  3. Graham Dawson
    Gimp

    "You're dropping it wrong."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Probably the lack of handles on the bag...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

    iFixit has a new teardown of the touchbar macbook. The internal design is just terrible.

    I can't believe the lack of common parts across two almost identical models, released at the same time. The macbook without touchbar / with touchbar internally are pretty much distinct designs.

    The SSD Flash is soldered directly to the motherboard on the touchbar model, as is the RAM, Processor. The motherboard shape/design is the most concerning, a curly moustache design, which looks very susceptible to heat and flex at the corners.

    I'd actually say its been purposefully designed to fail, over time, much like the lead-free Nvidia Geforce BGA 7600/8600 Graphics chipset motherboard designs by companies like Quanta, circa 2010.

    It's almost as though, those 'accidental' failures have been tweated in 2016 to include certain properties of those designs for buit in obsolescence.

    The position of the SSD Flash chips are right on the corners of the curl design and directly below the bottom lip of the keyboard recess, which is the perfect spot for spill liquids to seep through right to where the SSD chipset resides.

    Here, the ubiquitous 3 r's should be the 3 b's - BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP.

    Make sure you have backups, because in the past you could remove the NMVe m.2 SSDs and at least have a chance of getting your data back, even if you macbook ended up liquefied/dead from a Coffee spill on the keyboard. Now you'll need the most recent backup, and many an Apple user won't have bothered.

    Of Course, Apple will gladly sell you iCloud backup space for this. Coincidence? I think not.

    A lot of mac users are going to get caught by this change. Apple is really starting to show what it thinks of its users.

    This is a crap, purposeful, nasty internal design, to exploit Apple's userbase.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

      Apples sales model:

      - Build a closed software ecosystem.

      - Make component parts which often fail or require increasing, such as disk, memory & battery, impossible to replace.

      - Use poor manufacturing quality.

      - Charge premium prices.

      All of this is designed to maximise profits at the expense of the idiots buying it

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

        The macbook Pro with Touchbar is a sealed non-upgradeable limited 4 year life £2500 device. Doesn't sound as good when you describe it like that.

        The older circa 2009-2011 iMacs 20'',24'',27'' were over-engineered and well built. The nvidia graphics still overheated/failed because of blocked vents/fins but at least it was a removeable/replaceable part, had a well engineered heatsink to try and at least compensate.

        The Power Supply, Memory, Processor, Standard Hard disk, Wifi Card were/are replaceable. All cables plugged in, rather than glued. Glass held in by magnets, not glued, the iPad could have done this.

        Now, its just become downright vindictive, malicious, almost as though someone at Apple actually resents its own Apple customers. The charging method for the Apple Pencil and Magic Mouse 2, as beacons for this stupidity in design. Phil Schiller&Co seem to be having a 'in-joke' at the expense of Apple Customers.

        I certainly wouldn't buy the new macbook with touchbar with my own money. Company maybe, but for the so called advantages, there is one elephant in the room, using and carrying a £2500 device in public, in and around London.

        Why make yourself a sitting duck, when older Apple kit does just as well, without being shiny for magpies.

        The World (and its landfill) is crying out for a modular, common parts Apple Laptop, going forward. Apple needs to stop these minute differences for the sake of minute differences, which are all aimed at monopolising the whole ecosystem surrounding Apple Products/Repairs.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

          >I'd actually say its been purposefully designed to fail, over time, much like the lead-free Nvidia Geforce BGA 7600/8600 Graphics chipset motherboard designs by companies like Quanta, circa 2010.

          Seriously? You're suggesting conspiracy instead of cock-up? The same issue affected Microsoft's XBOX 360 console, and they honoured their commitment to the buyers affected by the issue, without even asking for proof of purchase. Lead-free solder was forced upon the industry by legislation, and there wasn't enough experience at the time to use it properly - hence it affecting quite a few companies. Leaded solder can still be used for military and aerospace applications.

          Since then, experience means companies are better at using lead-free solder - so we haven't had any major XBOX 360 / Macbook GPU style problems since. For a home user, I've been led to believe that you should use lead free solder as soon as you heat it. It isn't as tolerant of being left sitting on the iron tip as the traditional leaded solder.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

            Are you suggesting that this is a good layout for board components on the macbook Pro w/touchbar? It looks deliberately designed to fail over time. It's normally 'cock up' with most companies, but this is too well 'purposely' engineered to be cock-up.

            Those Sandisk Flash chips are sitting 'exactly' on the main stress points of this curly moustache shaped motherboard. There is nothing supporting the top of that motherboard except the fan when it is in situ. Lots of temperature changes/stress at the extremities of the board layout, and the area beneath those Sandsk Flash chips.

            The design is attempting to use the fans to form the rigid inherent structure of the motherboard. Fans/airflows which are varying in temperature by 40-60 degrees 'normally'.

            If I'm a betting man, this motherboard layout will see issues within 1-2 years, with failed SSDs, high up on that list.

          2. David Shaw

            Re: iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

            the wrong-type of solder problem was certainly an accidental design flaw, though for my Early 2011 Quad-core i7 MBP the shared-CPU/GPU heatsink design also contributed, failing as soon as I did 'heavy' processing. Apple then refused a repair, as ' we have no knowledge of this BGA failure ' - which was and remains b0ll0cks.

            Isn't the current deliberate fail industry component simply known as the "warranty cap"?

            http://www.nerdybynature.com/2013/10/26/fix-a-fried-asus-rt-n16/

            With a really nicely designed mobo, a new thermally engineered, beautifully laid-out Apple laptop could easily be designed to last 20 years; my fatMac512k+5MB HDD still works, the II's are OK, the LC's work - but their Sony monitors dont, the various weirdly shaped boxy powermacs are OK, the teardrop iMacs still work, originals+DV, my eMacs are a bit iffy (hot PSUs), the G4 macMinis refuse to die - need tenfourfox browser nowadays, all my lappies from newton, Duo, green Clamshell, white iBooks, various flat panel iMacs, unibodies, Airs work well, however mostly plugged-in, as batteries are fragile after 5 years (they have a tendency to balloon-fail at age 3-years) I use a MacPro hexacore 3.33GHz at work, still very decent and nearly as uptodate as the wastebin design!

            Anyway, I recently bought my kids used/refurb Lenovo X220/X230 for college to avoid inevitable fruit "shrinkage" - who wants to nick a dusty, black, not shiny linux laptop? (maxed internals, keyboard vented for accidental drink spills, designed to last with SSDs)

    2. Michael Strorm

      Re: iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

      "The motherboard shape/design is the most concerning, a curly moustache design"

      Ugh, that just proves they're targetting the insufferable hipster market.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iFixit's teardown of macbook touchbar

        Just trying to get it out there, so this future (potentially) failing macbook Pro w/touchbar, gets known as the Curly Moustache design defect!. You heard it first here.

        There is even a iPhone App for that:

        https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/stacheify-grow-a-mustache/

  5. djstardust

    Absolutely agree

    I just wish stupid people wouldn't keep buying their overpriced shit.

    I quite fancy getting my body cryogenically frozen so I can come back when Apple have gone. Well worth the 28k cost.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Absolutely agree

      >I just wish stupid people wouldn't keep buying their overpriced shit.

      Why? I mean, it doesn't affect you, does it? You're still free to buy what you want.

      Here's the thing: It isn't Apple that limits my choice of laptop, it is all the other vendors who don't offer, for example, 16:10 screens.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Absolutely agree

        >It isn't Apple that limits my choice of laptop, it is all the other vendors who don't offer, for example, 16:10 screens

        WTF? Dozens of manufacturers offer them - many with the same (LG, Samsung or Sharp made) screens as Apple buy.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Absolutely agree

          >WTF? Dozens of manufacturers offer them - many with the same (LG, Samsung or Sharp made) screens as Apple buy.

          Care to provide some links? Honestly, I have looked for them in vain. It just seems to be 4:3 Microsoft, 16:10 Apple, 16:9 everybody else.

          This is not the first time I've asked on a Reg forum if anyone knows of a 16:10 laptop - no joy.

          If you know of one, please share!

          Thanks in advance.

          1. Galimatias
            Thumb Up

            Re: Absolutely agree

            Interestingly, a couple moths ago I rescued an 2007 Dell Inspiron 1720 - http://tinyurl.com/zb3gn8c - from oblivion in the bottom of a closet at a friend's house. I did some computer geek work for him, and after paying me he says, as I'm leaving, 'Hey, can you do anything with this? You can have it.' The model had a 17" diagonal 16:10 screen {!}, so I figured it was worth downloading a service manual and doing a bit of research on the model. I can't stand the whole 16:9 display format either: I have a HP Zr2440 monitor on my main desktop, and I gave a friend a NEC EA244WMi-BK monitor as a Christmas gift - both excellent 24" 16:10 models.

            Of course, the 1720 not cutting edge tech, but a 17" 16:10 screen is very nice, and it's fun to snoop around for parts to rebuild/upgrade older good tech and re-purpose it for different things. A lot of times you can add upgrades like a WUXGA screen, SSDs, CPU, updated WiFi, etc. at really low prices, and have a decently performing second rig - you just have to find a good balance between the costs / benefits I think. Anyhow, it will be a nice platform to use on long trips where carry around portability is not a concern.

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: Absolutely agree

        If there is one product type that has tons and tons of choice it is laptops and their ilk.

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    iSheeple..

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    > MacBook Pro and its Touch Bar represents a rather smaller step forward than Microsoft's touchy Surface Studio workstation.

    Yes and no. Much of the functionality of the Surface Studio has been previously available from the likes of Wacom, but apparently MS have nailed the hardware implementation. For example, there is less stylus to cursor parallax on the Studio than there is on the Wacom kit. However, as a product it only really shines for some types of work. The 'Dial' part is fun, but isn't yet supported by the likes of Adobe - though of course Photoshop is already well-geared to stylus input (because of years of people using Wacom screens and tablets).

    The Touchbar is more general purpose, and is likely to se`ll more units than the Surface Studio. This in turns means that it will be adopted by more 3rd party developers, including Adobe Photoshop. 'Under the bonnet', the Touchbar includes a ARM-based SoC with secure enclaves inaccessible to MacOS, making it suitable for the fingerprint scanner, encryption keys and control of the webcam. This itself isn't a new concept - Microsoft tried having an auxiliary low power display with access to some laptop function years ago - but no hardware vendors could be arsed to implement it, and the rise of smart phones soon rendered it largely redundant.

    Interesting times.

  8. John Crisp

    My son had this recently. If I was in the UK I'd have argued that it is a design fault and up to them to fix it.

    "Fit for purpose" it the key.

    It's about your expectations. I expect the non moving guts of a phone to last a good few years without issue. I expect the phone to survive a few knocks and bangs. Equally I expect the screen is fragile and may not last/survive as long.

    My guess is that they'd have to show the 'design parameters' and that you exceeded them.

    Certainly, from the number of issues reported, the weight of evidence that it is probably a design defect is on your side.

    Unfortunately my Spanish, though good, is not quite as good as my English... certainly not on a legal level.

    I'm the one with no extended warranties and a 5 year old fan oven that has had the fan replaced 3 times free of charge.....

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "a 5 year old fan oven that has had the fan replaced 3 times free of charge."

      Don't remind me. It's coming up to that time of year again. One year the oven element blew on Christmas morning just after SWMBO had switched on to cook Christmas dinner. We've had at least one more element fail at about this time (not a real problem, I bought 2 after the first incident & keep ahead of that game now) and also a fan motor. At least it's a 15 year old oven so not as bad as yours.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Don't remind me. It's coming up to that time of year again"

        I have a marine cooker in the garage specifically for such eventualities. It has been used on Christmas Day once, but that was enough to decide to keep it.

        I am very taken with the £1500 Hyundai 7.2kVA generators you can get these days...that and a changeover switch might yet be on the shopping list, given who owns our utilities and how they might want to remind Leavers who really has the power around here.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple admit nothing - again

    A design fault on a piece of Apple kit? Shirley not. Must be a figment of the imagination.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Nimby
    Trollface

    It just works*.

    *=Except for when it doesn't.

    Seriously, what Apple phone generation hasn't had a "gate" involving design or quality control issues?

    If it happens once, fine, it's a fluke. But if it happens every single generation, then maybe you should fire your engineers and start over from scratch or something.

    Good thing customers are paying well over double the cost of an equivalent device (and losing out on all sorts of innovative technology that has been used in other manufacturers for six months, a year, and sometimes even more) for a product that is built so well. I'd hate to think that Apple customers might have spent all of that extra money for no good reason or something.

  12. kensal

    i've noticed some screen touch issues too...although i hardly drop my phone...but i guess you only have to drop it once for something that could happen.....hopeing my one stays intact until september when the i8 comes out

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