From #Bendgate to #Hairgate

We’ve all heard about the infamous crowd of customers camping out for days outside the golden gates of the Apple Store, anxiously waiting to get their hands on the new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 plus.  Shortly after the initial “new toy” excitement, it was reported that the iPhone 6 plus was suffering a design failure and bending while stored in people’s pockets.  This bending property quickly began trending on twitter as #bendgate and started a frenzy of “who can bend their iPhone 6 plus”.


As soon as the bending ordeal began to simmer down, a new problem arose with the iPhones.  Known on twitter as #hairgate, users are complaining that the new iPhones are snagging the hair from their heads and faces.  The issue here lies within the small empty seam between the glass interface and aluminum casing.  While iPhone owners are talking on the phone, their hair gets stuck inside the seam.  As the user moves the phone away from their head to put it down, their hair is torn out of their head.


Both the bending and hair pulling kinks are design issues that have no noticeable affect on the actual usage of the phone.  So what’s the big deal? Well customers don’t want to wait days for a phone that works great but bends after a few days of regular use.  Customers want a phone that has the whole package, software and hardware.

Although I think it’s safe to say that the pros have definitely outweighed the cons when it comes to the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the question still remains, why does this highly awaited phone have two significant design issues?  I believe that the answer lies within the operations management of Apple Corporation.  Somewhere along the deign process, employees decided to turn their heads and ignore pertinent issues with the design of the new iPhones.

The lack of design in the iPhone reminds me of the paper puppet activity we did in class.  Two sheets of green paper were noticeably damaged, however, not a single employee in the design process tried to communicate the damage.  Why? Well it could be for various reasons, but the most obvious answer would be the idea that someone else will take care of it.  Each employee saw the damage and brushed it off since it was not part of their job description.

Lack of communication occurs in the operations management of many companies, Apple is simply the latest to be publicly criticized for it.  Had some of their employees simply verbalized their observations on test models, perhaps Apple would not be obliged to replace so many bent iPhones.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the new iPhone’s design issues could have been avoided with more effective operations management? Or do you think this was simply an accident?