Apple admits problems with iPhone 6 Plus; launches repair program

Apple admits phone has 'touch disease'

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Apple will fix it, but you'll pay for it.

The company has admitted to issues with the iPhone 6 Plus first exposed in this WMC Action News 5 investigation and has launched a repair program to fix affected models at the customers' expense.

According to its repair program protocol, Apple will repair any iPhone 6 Plus exhibiting the symptoms at a cost of $149. For consumers who have already had their iPhone 6 Plus devices repaired for more than $149, the company will reimburse the difference.

Apple has essentially blamed its customers for the device's flickering and unresponsive screens, coined as the "touch disease" by computer repair trade blog Motherboard. "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," the company said in a statement on its website.

But in our investigation, a former Apple Genius technician (who asked not to be identified) explained the flickering and unresponsiveness are due to an inherent defect in the iPhone 6 Plus. "It is not the display that's causing it," the technician said. "It's the actual main logic board that the display attaches to. Somewhere in there is actually causing that display to flicker. It is an inherent defect.This has been happening since at least last summer."

Thomas Bledsoe, owner and chief technician of iRepear in Bartlett, Tennessee, and Motherboard said the device's defect is centered at the "touch IC" chips inside the phone. They are the chips which convert finger touches and swipes into machine-readable phone functions. Both Motherboard and Bledsoe said the chips are losing their solder, causing them to detach and lose their ability to detect touches on the display screens.

"It is a manufacturing defect," Bledsoe said. "It has been an issue for a lot of customers. I think the iPhone 6 Plus should be recalled under a certain criteria if it's functioning like that, not having the touch functionality."

Apple, whose media staff did not respond to three emails and a voice mail, has not indicated any plan to recall the iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6 Plus owners whose devices are still either under their one-year limited manufacturer warranty or under an Apple Care extended warranty may be eligible for free replacements. Owners should check with either Apple or their cell service carriers.

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