Apple has finally admitted to the existence of the mysterious iPhone ailment that caused unresponsive screens and came to be called the “touch disease.” The Cupertino firm’s diagnosis? User error. Or, more specifically, user fumbling.
“Apple has determined that some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit display flickering or Multi-Touch issues after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device,” Apple said in an online notice.
Some users and observers, however, saw the problem as a defect. In August, a nationwide class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Jose, accusing Apple of fraud and violation of California consumer-protection law.
And there’s been a loud chorus of user discontent ever since, with iPhone 6 owners taking to Twitter and Facebook and a slew of online tech sites to tell the world their tales of Touch Disease-induced woe.
Motherboard reported in September that the problem was affecting “thousands and thousands” of iPhone 6 Plus phones.
“The company continues to ignore one of the worst hardware defects to ever plague its smartphone line,” according to Motherboard.
In August, the Mercury News reported that iPhone 6 Plus users and repair technicians believed the problem appeared to derive from the failure of chips or solder joints inside the phone.
One purported Bay Area iPhone 6 Plus owner who posted on an Apple forum said he’d brought his troubled phone to an Apple store in San Jose and gone over it with a staffer.
“He acknowledged the problem. He was very familiar with it, but said Apple doesn’t recognize it as an issue, and so there is not much he can do,” the purported iPhone owner said. “I can either replace my phone with identical one for $329 or I can get a $350 trade in on it if I want to upgrade. No offer of free replacement, no consolation, nothing. I left.”
Apple said it would repair affected phones, provided they’re in working order and have intact screens, for a $149 service price.
“Apple will contact customers who may have paid for a service repair related to this issue either through Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider to arrange reimbursement,” the company said. “If you have not been contacted but paid for a repair that you believe was related to this issue, please contact Apple.
“The reimbursement amount will equal the difference between the price you paid for the original service to your iPhone 6 Plus and the $149 service price.”
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Photo: Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, announces the new iPhone 6 at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 9, 2014 in Cupertino. Apple unveiled two new models: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)