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If you look at the issue, looking at the phone sideways allows you to see the amount of material depth supporting that area, where those two buttons are there is only a thin metal strip above the button which is subject to stretching, the loss of resistance due to aluminium work hardening under stretching which reduces the actual structural thickness to just the back plate and the little bit of metal joining the back plate to the button cutaway.
This could probably be fixed a few ways:
#1: have the thing wrapped in carbon fiber, 2mm of carbon added to the flat area of the backplate alone would make it fairly impervious to any bending without factoring in the additional stiffness created by the dished edges of the panel. Could be done in a small vacuum bag / oven / autoclave to the existing aluminium part.
#2: bond a little bit of carbon fiber to either the inside or the outside of the button cutaways ("how many of them did you say you wanted to order, Mr Cook? Well, at $6.50 each on multi-million volume... oh sorry you said billion?")
#3: put the thing in a rigid (oh you don't want plastic you say?) case made by somebody else to solve this problem non-invasively ($350 for solid titanium, five times that if you want it 3d printed rather than machined (very difficult) or die cast (difficult with epic tool-up costs and wastage / QC issues) ).
#4: reinforce the button cutaways with a die-cast steel or titanium sprue (suprised this isn't the apple method / fix)
#5: glue a chunk of carbon fiber plate to the back of it and sand the edges off [ghetto]
TBH Stainless steel is the best material apple have used in phones. Some cheapskate said it'd take too long to machine them out of stainless, let's use ally.
Today I broke a spoke and the rear derallieur on my bicycle, I'm not surprised. stainless steel and aluminium. It's amazing that a teeny little stainless steel spoke will take your whole weight whereas the chunky looking machined aluminium deraillieur bends in your hand, which is what I did to bend it back into shape. Now that I've done some bespoke bending, it actually works better than it did when I first installed it.
In a lot of design involving metals, you want stuff to bend in the right places, metals properly designed work like springs, the wheels bend when you ride (sometimes so much so that it causes spokes to shear off, being overly stretched). Generally you can stretch metals a bit, but if you really want to kill them you bend / twist and stretch at the same time using lots of torque rather than quick hammering kinetic energy, so the spoke usually shears off at the nipple or at the hub while cornering, rather than a violent impact onto a kerb, which would put a neat square dent in the soft aluminium rim.
The iphone bends and stretches in a really silly place, thinner than an aluminium spoke, and aluminium is approximately 7x weaker than stainless steel. One stainless steel spoke wouldn't take your whole weight, you need a whole bunch of them.
Apple also had to recall the new iOS.
That's why putting Jonathan Ive in charge of the UI and system design for iOS was not a smart move, basically. Scott Forstall, who did everything UI for apple since NeXT, and left due to crap Maps, was clearly a mean-faced and angry/agitated person, likely a thoroughly mean programmer, and quite psychotically good at making software actually work.
Hmm, wonder where he is now...
Y'see, his CV is way better for OS design, who cares about Maps, I highly doubt the actual software architecture was faulty, apple probably just got sold shitty data by some corner-cutter.
Google Maps was originally built for the CIA and US military, google acquired f the CIA and a few technology partners in 2004. That stuff was doubtless fully mapping the planet at the cost of $tn since the '60s, I'm sure that whatever Apple built using civilian data was vastly inferior to what google maps had become by 2012. Maps require a lot of checking, that's the map bit not the software bit.
Jonathan Ive is doubtless very good at metal, but probably not so good at UI design. Why is iOS in Helvetica Neue?! I mean WTF seriously people that can't be the best that apple could do, who in the meeting on typography failed to say "seriously... we can't be using no Helveticas". Problem is Jonathan Ive had no idea who you actually call in to sort that one out & discuss it properly... maybe commission somebody to produce a screen-specific typeface? No? Can't afford it? In a hurry? C'mawn.
Tim Cook is making decisions as a box shifter / ticker. Why would you get an engineering-based product designer to do interaction design & typographic layout? Who actually did this 'ere iPhone?
Yes, for when Jobs was CEO Apple was a better company.
There will likely be more trouble, and the trouble will cause more trouble...
... so then the shareholders will put in some evil bankster stooge who can't even write BASIC even with several helpful books on the desk, who will pull some iOS skank lockdown cashflow rinse stitch up maneuver, then everybody will flee the platform in horror, not wanting to live with an Apple
iWatch(cheap plastic Apple Watch)
iYou (bathroom mirror unit w/ face recognition toothbrush dispenser & facebook interface)
iAll (satellite push update hub built into your water heater)
the iTime (large wall-clock / 360º CCTV camera),
Designed by Apple in California, Made by Foxconn in Qingdao works / IBM zCluster paywall backend / NSA hover-dalek in your house.
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