When the iPhone 7 comes around, some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners might find themselves upgrading to that, or to an iPhone 6s/6s Plus equivalent, albeit very begrudgingly. That’s because it will be a forced upgrade brought about by an affliction that is suddenly hinting iPhone 6, especially iPhone 6 Plus, owners really hard recently. Called the “Touch Disease”, the issue includes a flickering strip of grey at the top of the display, eventually ending up with a totally unresponsive touch screen, and, therefore, a useless iPhone.
The Touch Disease, unfortunately, isn’t a software bug that can simply be wiped away by a reset or a software update. Apple has naturally not commented on the issue, despite a flood of complaints and reports from users. The iPhone community had no choice but to rely on the expertise of microsolderers working in, of course, unofficial repair shops. And according to them, the problem can actually be traced back to Bendgate.
For those who might have forgotten, Bendgate was the nickname given to the phenomenon of the iPhone 6 and most especially the iPhone 6 Plus bending easily in pockets and hands, thanks to a new slim chassis and very weak points in the body. Apple addressed the matter in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, strengthening those points. Sadly, there is nothing that can be done for the earlier models, and now it is coming back to bite users in the proverbial behind.
Because of the iPhone 6/6 Plus’ bendability, the touch controller chip inside the iPhone has the tendency to break off its soldering and lose contact with the rest of the board. The result? There is nothing to translate touches into input data needed by the system. In short, you get an unresponsive screen.
While the disease isn’t totally incurable, none of the options are desirable nor cheap, ranging from replacing the chips or replacing the logic board itself through unofficial shops to buying a new iPhone. The latter is, unsurprisingly, Apple’s “formal” suggestion, especially after the device has gone out of warranty. And, also unsurprisingly, it is ticking off owners.
It is just really bad coincidence that this is happening just weeks before a new iPhone 7 is due to debut. Just like it was a suspicious coincidence that Surface Pro 3 owners started having battery problems immediately after the tablet’s warranty lapsed. Given the root cause of the Touch Disease, Apple can’t really be accused of planting a ticking bomb, but it would still be perceived as using a rather heavy-handed tactic to get people to upgrade, especially considering it remain silent on the issue.