What the Tech: Apple Being Sued Over 'Touchscreen disease'

What good is a phone if the touchscreen doesn't work?

That's the question many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners are asking as their touchscreens stopped working, turning their expensive iPhones into nothing more than a paperweight.

Dubbed "touchscreen disease", the issue has prompted a class action lawsuit that demands Apple replace damaged devices at no cost to the owners.

We spoke with a smartphone repairman for some answers.

"A lot of it has to do with the bendage of the phone, or the bending of the frame from wear and tear," said Adam Warner of UBreakIFix.

"Everybody wants a bigger screen and doesn't want a bulky device, so the thinner the phone and the thinner the frame, the more susceptible it's going to be to bending."

Warner said at least half of the iPhone 6 Plus devices that come into his shop for repairs show some degree of bending.

"When that phone bends, it's also bending the logic board inside," Warner explained.

When the logic board is bent, touches on the touchscreen are not making contact with the solder points which triggers the phone to respond by opening and closing apps or swiping.

Warner suspects the bending of the 6 Plus is due to people keeping them in their pockets and sitting down or leaning against something.

"It's a combination of what I would consider a flaw in the frame of the older phones," he said.

Apple, the lawsuit alleges, knew about the defect in the frame but will not cover damages caused by it. It asks that Apple replace damaged phones and extend the warranties of the 6 and 6 Plus.

The newer 6s and 6s Plus frames were changed to add protection.

"It is stronger," said Warner, "and it is supposed to prevent the bending of the phone."

A fix apparently is not possible.

My iPhone 6 plus started flickering in March and soon none of the apps would respond to my taps and swipes.

I contacted Apple Support over Twitter who responded that I should take the phone to an Apple Store. A technician there told me the device could not be repaired and, since it was out of warranty, I had to pay for a new phone.

The class action lawsuit was filed in California and seeks a jury trial.


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