Mrs Informer, ever alert to telecoms news as she is, was kind enough to alert the Informer to a piece of news being covered by the BBC breakfast team this morning. It concerned the apparent scandal that some of the new super-sized iPhone 6+s have started bending. The thing is they’re not supposed to bend, you see, made as they are from glass and intricate circuitry.
If Apple had launched an iRuler, an iTyre or an iYoga Teacher it would have been grateful for breathless reports of their bendiness. “They’re our bendiest products in the world, ever!” Apple might have proudly claimed, while tacitly implying nothing was ever bendy prior to their launch.
But this was an iPhone, designed to perform a bewildering array of tasks, none of which involve it bending. On the contrary, the iPhone is known for its inflexibility. “Say what you like about the iPhone,” Android owners grudgingly concede, “but you can’t fault it for rigidity.” They might then go on to observe that this inflexibility extends to the entire philosophy behind the device, allowing as it does, minimal user customisation, but there’s no escaping the inherent obduracy of the iPhone.
For them to start bending, therefore, is a story, and a big one at that. And when you combine that with the new operating system’s teething problems, you’ve got yourself a good, old fashioned media feeding frenzy.
But this is not a unique set of circumstances, in fact each new iPhone launch is highly reminiscent of all the previous ones. This doesn’t just apply to the stage-managed, formulaic nature of the event itself, but the speculation leading up to it and the scandal-mongering immediately after it.
It tends to play out something like this, and you can apply a similar template to other over-hyped annual events such as the start of the football season.
9 months prior to launch – “Next iPhone likely to launch in 8-10 months time”
8 months prior to launch – “Next iPhone likely to be one number higher than last iPhone”
7 months prior to launch – “…or it might be the same number, but with a letter on the end”
6 months prior to launch – “That letter is likely to be S”
5 months prior to launch – “New iPhone likely to be a bit different from the last one”
4 months prior to launch – “New iPhone will be hexagonal, according to appropriately manufactured Shenzhen sources”
3 months prior to launch – “Actually, it’s not going to be hexagonal, but no harm done eh?”
2 months prior to launch – “Apple’s got something really cool up its sleeve this time and no mistake”
1 month prior to launch – “Launch event to happen in roughly the same place as it always has and you’re not invited”
4 weeks prior to launch – “What could the wording of the event invitation imply? We speculate over 47 pages”
3 weeks prior to launch – “10 things we definitely know about the new iPhone”
2 weeks prior to launch – “Of course you can’t be totally sure about these things, but we’re definitely quite sure”
1 week prior to launch – “I’m so excited I can’t sleep”
Day of launch – “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god”
Liveblog – “Some of the speculation was right!!”
Immediate aftermath – “Nothing will ever be the same again, ever”
Day after launch – “Copy and paste Apple launch press release”
2 days after launch – “Actually, I was hoping for a bit more than that, if I’m honest”
1 week after launch – “Copy and paste Apple preorder announcement”
2 weeks after launch – “Review: the best smartphone ever”
3 weeks after launch – “Flaw discovered in new iPhone – now known as ‘Flawgate’”
4 weeks after launch – “Copy and paste Apple press release addressing Flawgate and telling everyone it’s a storm in a teacup, that they’re nonetheless working tirelessly to resolve”
1 month after launch – “Sorry, we’re not having that, Flawgate is still a big deal no matter what Apple says”
2 months after launch – “Last desperate attempt to keep Flawgate story alive”
3 months after launch – “Next iPhone likely to launch in 8-10 months time”
Of course there’s also the iPhone launch satire circuit. UK satire site Daily Mash had a good take on ‘bendgate’, saying “Anything bends if you f**k about with it enough, says Apple” (warning, rude words therein).
But the prize for most mischievous post iPhone launch satire has to go to anarchic imageboard site 4chan, which was reportedly the origin of the fake Apple ad shown here, encouraging people to quickly recharge their new iPhones by putting them in the microwave and turning it on. Sadly, some people fell for it.