The popular German science magazine Computer Bild has been put in Apple’s bad books after testing the bendability of the iPhone 6 Plus. Editors of the magazine released a video demonstrating how easily the iPhone 6 Plus could be bent in your hands and compared it to the rival Samsung Note 3, which would not bend. The video was a sensation and has received over 600,000 views on Youtube and has roused a controversial reaction from Apple.
The morning after uploading the video, Computer Bild received a phone call from Apple’s German PR branch telling them that “from now on you won’t get any devices for testing purposes and you will not be invited to Apple events in the future”. Whether these comments reflect the views of the entire company is unclear as Apple headquarters in California has yet to respond. However, Computer Bild refused to stay quiet.
In an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Editor-in-chief Axel Telzerow spoke out about how “deeply disappointed” he was with the response. Telzerow went on to explain that the bend-test was conducted only to address rumours stating that “testing new products without prejudice is our obligation to our readers”. In spite of heavy-handed threats, Telzerow insists that Computer Bild will continue to report on and test Apple products. At the end of his letter Telzerow addressed the CEO directly asking “Do you really think that a withdrawal of Apple’s love and affection could have an intimidating effect on us?”
Apple has previously barred the blog Gizmodo from attending their events back in 2010 after one of their editors released videos of a prototype iPhone 4 before the product was officially released.
In this instance it is easy to see why Apple would respond in such a way, but in Computer Bild’s case there appears to be no motive to this overreaction.
Regardless of the iPhone 6 Plus’ durability, the entire affair brings into question Apple’s relationship with the media. Every company fears bad publicity but Apple’s efforts at defusing the situation have only made matters worse. Apple’s attempt at controlling the media coverage of their own products through intimidation has only exposed the company’s own paranoia.