Back in August, it was reported that a growing number of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users were reporting their devices had been affected by ‘Touch Disease,’ a manufacturing issue that resulted in a flickering gray bar and, ultimately, an unresponsive screen. Now, Apple has finally acknowledged the problem and says it will repair it – for $149.
Touch Disease is a result of the devices’ bendability, which causes the controller chip’s soldering to crack and start to lose contact with the board. “As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent,” said microsoldering repair specialist Jessa Jones.
Up until now, the Cupertino company hasn’t even acknowledged the existence of Touch Disease. Some owners claim that Apple told them buying a new device was the only solution if the affected iPhone was out of warranty.
Now, Apple has launched a “Multi-Touch Repair Program” to address the issue. While Touch Disease has been reported in both variants of the iPhone 6, Apple’s service only covers the iPhone 6 Plus, which, due to its larger size, is more susceptible to the problem.
Unsurprisingly, Apple isn’t claiming liability for Touch Disease; instead, it is blaming clumsy owners whose iPhones have been “dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device.”
Not only is Apple blaming customers for Touch Disease, but the company is also charging $149 to fix it. While this is half the price of normal out of warranty repairs, it’s still a case of consumers paying for a design flaw. Anyone who had their device repaired or replaced for similar symptoms – which could have cost more than $149 – will have the difference reimbursed by Apple.
iFixit, which was one of the first publications to shine a light on the issue, has been critical of Apple’s repair program. CEO Kyle Wiens says he has seen Touch Disease on phones that have never been dropped. He added that an Apple Genius confirmed the company wasn’t repairing the affected iPhones but swapping them for refurbished devices. Moreover, the data from the old phones wasn’t being transferred.
Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit from owners of iPhones affected by Touch Disease. How, or if, the new repair program will affect the case is unclear.