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 …
The video is the usual #bendgate nonsense: you can see from the white fingers and shaking from the tension in the hands that a ridiculous amount of force is used. Apply that much force to most phones and you’re going to damage them, as Consumer Reports found when they did their own rather more scientific testing: it took 90 pounds of pressure to bend the iPhone 6 Plus.
But withdrawing media accreditation from a best-selling computer magazine sold in nine European countries might seem overkill when Apple had already debunked #bendgate claims by pointing out that with more than 10 million iPhone 6 models sold, only nine customers had complained. The company also showed journalists around its iPhone stress-testing facility.
It is, however, consistent with Apple PR’s approach to press relations, as noted in part three of Mark Gurman’s Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media.
One reporter who covers a number of technology companies opined that “the huge difference is that people love Apple, and Apple PR knows it.” With that in mind, Apple “understands that they’re giving [journalists] a favor,” says Lam. “Apple knows it has something other journalists want,” another reporter says.
Computer Bild responded with an open letter to Tim Cook in which it questioned Apple’s response and vowed to continue its “incorruptible tests.”
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.
The full text of the letter from Editor in Chief Axel Telzerow can be read below.
Dear Mr. Tim Cook!
Just like anyone else who is obsessed with digital technology we have eagerly awaited the new iPhone. We felt relief when the head of our telecom department one day shouted “Here we go!”, presenting an invitation to the great event. And certainly we took a flight, went all the way to California, just to tell our readers every detail about the device that you and your company have worked on so hard for such a long time.
When the iPhone 6 Plus finally hit the market we noticed a few reports on a possible problem. According to them the case seemed to be weak, “bendable”, to drop the evil word. Being popular for our tests with utmost scrutiny, we could not leave the subject without comment. Of course that required further tests since testing new products without any prejudice is our obligation to our readers.
And so we bought an iPhone 6 Plus, just to find out whether it was a singular problem or some kind of hoax. The test was quite simple, so we could easily record it on video. Just to prove that what happens is nothing but the truth.
To be honest: We were shocked about how easy it was to bend the device. And so were around 200.000 viewers who watched the video up until now. We can imagine that you and your colleagues must have been shocked, too. This might have been the reason why we got a call from one of your german colleagues the next morning. He was upset, and it was a rather short conversation. “From now on”, he said, “you won’t get any devices for testing purposes and you will not be invited to Apple events in the future.”
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.
Editor in Chief COMPUTER BILD-Group