Galaxy Note 5 and 'inserting it wrong'

Earlier today on MacBreak Weekly, the long-running podcast hosted by Leo Laporte, Leo was joking about the stories involving Samsung Galaxy Note 5 S-Pens getting stuck backwards in their slots when—you guessed it!—his S-Pen got stuck backwards in the slot. You can see it happen in the video below at around the 49:40 mark.

Leo found the story suspicious so decided to see for himself. He thought he'd feel some tightness or other physical feedback and be able to remove it before it got stuck. Unfortunately, that's why it's getting stuck—there's nothing to indicate anything is wrong until it's too late. My colleague, and the editor-in-chief of Android Central, Phil Nickinson wrote about it again today. Teeth marks and all.

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People are saying "you're inserting it wrong" in reference to an infamous email from the late Steve Jobs. In the email Jobs quipped "just avoid holding it that way" in response to iPhone 4 reception issues.

With the iPhone 4, if you bridged the antenna gap on the outside of the phone, it would reduce signal reception by a couple of bars. So, if you were in an area with bad reception, you could lose reception entirely.

"Antennagate", as it became known, required both bad signal and antenna bridging, so going to an area with better signal or moving your finger could alleviate the problem. So could putting on a case.

Apple ended up giving away bumper cases to every iPhone 4 customer to address the issue, and updated the antenna in the Verizon iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4s to prevent it entirely.

The Galaxy Note 5 S-Pen problem and the iPhone 4 antenna problem are similar in that both could be reproduced. They're dissimilar in that touching the antenna gap once didn't stick, break, or otherwise render the antenna permanently unusable. Which, unfortunately, is what appears to be happening with the S-Pen.

Some have also tried to draw a parallel to the largely media-manufactured "bendgate" controversy that followed the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Bendgate required people to start a video recorder and then apply incredible amounts of force in order to bend an iPhone. Earlier versions of the iPhone too, as anyone with a repair business would tell you if you bothered to ask. Or any metal phone, really, including those made by Samsung.

There were so few real-world cases of bent iPhones that Apple didn't have to take any extraordinary actions to deal with them. So, bent phones are similar in that they do permanently affect a phone. They're dissimilar in that it appears to take no excessive or brute force to stick a stylus. If you simply picked a metal phone up off the table by the "wrong" edge and it bent under its own weight, that would better equate to what's happening here.

Apple has, however, just this week issued an iPhone 6 camera replacement program (opens in new tab) for a small percentage of devices suffering from a bad camera component. As unfortunate as it is for everyone involved, problems like that happen and companies respond to them.

The issue with the Galaxy Note 5 isn't the first for Samsung. Last year's Galaxy Note 4 had a screen gap so big it could double as business card holder. It won't be their last either. Nor will the camera replacement be Apple's.

Conversely, some are going after Samsung using Steve Jobs' "if you see a stylus, they blew it!" quip from the days of the original iPhone as if to say Apple knew better and was somehow prescient about pens getting stuck in phones. Nothing of the sort.

Jobs was referring to resistive touch screen technology that really needed a stylus to be functional in most situations. That's what we all used in the dark days before the coming of the iPhone and the capacitive revolution.

Apple Stores have been selling capacitive stylus pens for years and anyone who's ever worked in illustration—hi!—will tell you how great pen input is. The Galaxy Note, if nothing else, is an amazingly portable Wacom-style tablet and it's terrific that it exists.

What's not terrific is that the S-Pen gets stuck, and that it's something that could have been avoided with better design. As implemented, it fails secure by locking down. It doesn't fail safe by letting out.

Imagine, with an Apple Watch band, if you slid it upside down into the groove, it became stuck and couldn't be removed without damaging the parts. That would be a terrible experience.

Instead, if you try and insert an Apple Watch band upside down, the lug slides all the way through without the catch firing, preventing it from getting stuck and also letting you know you're inserting it wrong.

That's what good design does—it protects customers from themselves. Even and especially when they make mistakes. It's called poka-yoke and in the case of the pen, it's something that's been solved since the Newton.

So, yeah, if you're even thinking about blaming customers for this, or telling them to RTFM, please stop. Just like Gorilla Glass is used to minimize the chances of screen scratches from keys in the same pocket, poka-yoke needs to be used to minimize the chances of a pen getting stuck.

Customers may be making a mistake by sticking the pen in the wrong way, but Samsung made one first but not designing the mechanism in a way that minimized or prevented it from happening.

I've already piled on Samsung's lack of design consideration enough for one year, so I'll leave it at that.

Except to say this: Apple is rumored to be readying an Pen for use with the rumored iPad Pro. It sounds like it might be more of an optional accessory than something built into the device. Either way, I hope the S-Pen issue causes Apple's hardware design team to be even more thoughtful and considerate about the error-proofing of their products.

And I wish Samsung, and those affected, the very best of luck in getting this resolved quickly and to everyone's benefit and satisfaction.

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Update: It was (rightly) pointed out that "you're holding it wrong" is the headline used by Engadget when reporting on Steve Jobs' email, not the actual quote. The actual quote was "Just avoid holding it that way". We've updated to correct that. Thanks Kenny!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • What is wrong with the world? Don't put the pen in backwards. The antennagate thing was a design flaw. You could be using the phone as intended and it wouldn't work. Bendgate? Dont put your phone in your pocket or it might bend. They didn't save us from ourselves on that one. And now they are going to fix that problem that "didn't exist" with the next iphone. This is just misuse and carelessness. We should be able to drop our phones and not break them also. That's just a user mistake also. What a joke....
  • Yep. People want to blame Samsung for their ignorance.
    The pen is SO easy to tell which end goes in first, this is pure idiocy at its best.
    Just like people blame apple for their phone bending when they stick it in their skinny jeans and plop 300 lbs on it and expect it to take that sort of abuse.
    If you can't insert the pen right, get a flip phone, you're too dumb to use anything else.
  • I don't think that I would put the pen in the wrong way but I can see others doing this. Perhaps absentmindedly. It shouldn't Bork the device if you do. Sent from the iMore App
  • Blaming customers for something good design could easily prevent is pretty sad. Plugs have a wide and narrow end to help people know which way they properly go into an outlet. It's simple care and consideration.
  • Rene the instructions even say to not do it. I am sorry, but there is such a thing as personal accountability. Once again you make a non-Apple related article to drive page clicks here from your non-normal users because you are OBSESSED WITH SAMSUNG.
  • The instruction says not to do it? Wow. That makes it just as physically impossible to do as actually designing it well, but with no design effort required! Amazing! And to think Steve Jobs stopped production on the original iPhone just because keys were scratching the screen, and had his team rush to replace it with the then-unknown Gorilla Glass, just to prevent the same thing happening to customers, when all he had to do was put a note on a PDF somewhere telling people not to put keys in their pockets! I guess Apple looks super silly now.
  • They looked super silly after they accused customers of holding iPhone 4 wrong and losing a class action suit because the antenna could experience antennuation when a finger bridged the gap between the two antennas on the frame. Do you always apologize for their mess ups?
  • And keys still scratch Gorilla Glass. So he didn't save us from ourselves from that either Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Gorilla Glass is much harder than the brass used to make most keys. Some keys are made of steel, which is harder than brass, but unless it's hardened steel, it is still way softer than Gorilla Glass. If you have quartz (or other hard mineral) grains in your pocket with your phone, they might scratch it. Otherwise, you might CRACK the glass with the sharp point of a key if you press it into the screen, but casual contact with a key won't scratch the glass.
  • Renee, not putting something in backwards being on the manufacturer? If this were apple you'd be crying all day and night. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Do you ever put your car in reverse instead of drive once in a while? Run a stop sign? People do dumb things when they are in a hurry. Sammy could atleast had designed it to have some sort of resistance which would tell the consumer it is going in the wrong way. Or have a cap at the top of the pen which would not allow this to happen. Either way this is a fail on Sammy's part, and with the way their mobile sales and profits have been going of late they cannot afford yet another misstep.
  • Rene... You're absolutely ridiculous. It's quite comical. Sent from the iMore App
  • The point is that good design could have made this impossible to happen. Flair the end by a millimeter, taper the hole so only the narrow end fits in, etc. I mean, imagine you could fry your USB port if you put a plug in the wrong way. "Hey - everyone knows you put the plug in USB-logo up, you should have paid attention." Well yeah, I guess, but why did they make a plug where a simple mistake causes actual damage? Good design should fail gracefully.
  • That is right, plugs have a narrow end so does the S-Pen. Any moron who puts their Pen in the hole the wrong way shouldn't be using a smartphone. For you to say it is due to bad design I disagree, I find your bad design speal has ran it's course.
  • Good design could keep the phone from breaking when a consumer accidentally drops it also. This is the same as dropping your phone on concrete or in water. You're not supposed to do that. If you do, you could break your phone. Or if you sit on it it could bend. They need to get rid of all these design flaws! Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Renee you're pathetic. Seriously you have issues. Enjoy your phone. Avoid joining a cult in the process. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • It sure does not take much to get the Androoler flock to get all riled up. For the record, Android Central and other Android centric sites were the ones that piled on this story, not Rene or iMore. Get for facts straight.
  • Rene are you crying again? Poor boy.
  • I think the Androolers that put the pen in backwards are the ones that are crying.
  • The point is that it can happen if you're not looking down, or better example a younger child playing with the phone and shoves it in. It shouldn't go in the way it damages the phone like previous Note generations, period. That is a design flaw.
  • Bitchie anyone?
  • Antennagate was not a design flaw. All cell phones had that problem, I proved it with my Nexus One back then and posted it in a YouTube video. Most every cell phone had attenuation issues when held just the right way. What happened with the iPhone 4 was that it was the first cell phone design that actually showed you the antenna, and where the gaps were to separate the various antennas from each other (the frame was the antennas), and therefore provided a visible "target" for where and how to hold it to kill the signal. With other phones, this wasn't visible so it would happen and people didn't know it was happening. How many times would a dropped call from a non iPhone be blamed on the carrier when perhaps it was really the way a user was holding the phone?? We'll never know, but it did happen for sure. When Apple "fixed" this problem with the iPhone 4S, it wasn't a fix of a design flaw, it was an innovation to prevent attenuation, again, something most phones had and then the 4S didn't have anymore because of the idea of on-the-fly switching of which metal sections acted as which antenna. Very clever.
  • j
  • What I'm a reading this for Is it iMORE or iSamsung ? Seriously terrible article. GROW UP!!!
  • Apologies if this offends you but it's an interesting and important issue in consumer electronics and one Apple customers face as well. We can and will cover the industry when it makes sense. Since we don't force anyone to read any of the articles, please also feel free to skip this and enjoy those that make you happier.
  • Stop trying to bend or distort the truth. This has nothing to do with Apple. You just want an excuse to write an article to blast Samsung. You are obsessed.
  • And on everyone of his posts, yours follows trying to bash him with the same thing every time. He isn't the only one obsessed, except what he is doing is what he want to happen, people read the articles then post on them more than anyone else's. You fall for it every time. Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't think he was really bashing Samsung in this article. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Why is everyone so surprised that Rene would write an article about a tech problem. I get that this is an Apple based site but it's still a tech based article. It's not like he's complaining about a lawn mower or something. Samsung is in direct competition with Apple and a lot of ppl enjoy knowing what going on in the tech industry as a whole. Rene can't help it if Samsung is so terrible they give him articles every few weeks.
  • And you just don't want anyone to say anything negative about Samsung, but when Apple's product has a minor glitch, it's flaming pitchforks!
    THAT's how this has everything to do with Apple. Because people need to know that other big companies making popular products also have some problems now and then, it's not just Apple in click-bait articles all the time with #gate this and #gate that.
  • Sure, cause if this was apple that did this you feel the same, right?
  • The only really offensive thing is your title. Is it really that easy to dismiss deaths to create a catchy title?
  • Hi Rene, I'm not offended or anything but this article has nothing to do with Apple. Why are you so obsessed with Samsung atleast once every 2 weeks or month you would writing article about Samsung. And like you said I generally skip these things but some times its just too much.
    Instead of writing about what Samsung does, we can focus something more related to Apple like we didn't have article about finance related apps for long time.
    Article like those made me to come to iMore and to be frank I have lot of Apps and Games suggested by you guys.
    Coming to design part we all know that everybody does mistakes including Apple from iPhone 4 to bend-gate but none of them are deal breaker to be frank I'm using iPhone 6 and I use little tight jeans but I'm not afraid that it will bend. We should not just bash companies for mistakes that may happen I mean people work insanely hard to make a product from design to final product there are 1000 things that could go wrong but one or 2 may not get caught during testing or some times its a design flaw itself.
    Pls keep iMore more constructive and I would request you to stop bashing companies. And it's just a suggestion!!!
  • And bending ?
    And antenna ?
    And keyboards scratching macbook displays ?
    Scratched watches because you have band too loose.
    Come on.
    I really am thinking of selling all my mac gear. This is not community. This has nothing to do with apple. This is schoolyard bullying. This is being trying to be smarter than you really are. Using big worlds like industrial design in context that is bit blurry.
    How about making a shift for imore from being snarky and sometimes to entertaining to more useful.
    We should be aiming for higher values. This is something really low.
    imore should be about empowering people by using their software and hardware better ways. It should aim for positive ends by giving people advice.
    This is aiming for feeling better because you own something and are rooting for one company.
  • If you read the article, you'll see it has nothing to do with feeling good at the expense of others (if only the Germans had a word for that!) and all about comparing and contrasting design issues and how that affect modern consumers. That's incredibly empowering. Not everyone appreciates the difference great design makes, or how important or valuable it can be. Better we learn it the easy way than the hard way.
  • Poor tech design is always news. Readers here should vacate their Apple echo chamber and see the real world. iMore is doing its job.
  • Nailed it.
  • Yep it's a design flaw and Samsung should do something about it but this is a poor article. Apple are guilty of this (blaming the customer) your holding your phone wrong..
    Anyway I am not defending Samsung, this is a problem but anything from you Rene to get a shot in on Samsung because you hate them so much.
  • Correction, because he "fear" them so much
  • My supposed "hatred" of Samsung is causing pens to get stuck in phones? And to think, all those times I tried exercising Sith powers as a child! (Spoiler: Everything in this article is accurate with or without any involvement from me :) )
  • Your hatred of Samsung causes you to write rants about Samsung ON AN APPLE BLOG when this has zero to do with any Apple products. You are just trying to make a poor excuse to write another FUD article to bash an OEM that is not Apple and boy do you love to go out of your way to bash Samsung.
  • Boy, do you love to go out of your way to bash Rene for reporting tech news. Samsung screwed up, admit it! :)
  • This is not Apple news, though. He is going out of his way ON an APPLE blog on non Apple related news.
  • It's tech news. Doesn't have to be Apple news. If what you say is true, then Android sites such as Android Central wouldn't have reported on "bendgate", as it wasn't Android news.
  • Did android sites write about a supposed design flaw in the iPhone 4 that wasn't even true? Yep. Grow up vava.
  • I think you must have sith powers if you think that I said your hatred of Samsung is causing S pens to get stuck! I am not defending Samsung (you did read and understand that yes?) but I bet once you discovered this flaw you just couldn't wait to write about it!
  • Just like you can't wait to leave a snarky comment for Rene, right Waldo? Hypocrite.
  • And you know me how .. The sith powers are wide spread and must be feared!
  • I know a lot about you Waldo... We live in the same valley. Be careful or I'll expose your details, the Sith is everywhere, as you said.
  • I will get my jedi friends on you! If only could find any! But anyhow if you know this Valley I could recommend some good curry houses.
  • One side clicks, the other side is pointy. Not rocket science to see how it is suppose to go into the phone.
  • Hi Rene, Apple didn't offer free bumper case for "ALL" iphone 4 customer, not in my country at least. They say like it is, but it is not happening here.
  • Did you really just bring up an iPhone 4 (2011). *face palm*
  • The iPhone4 was mentioned in the article. So no, that wasn't pulled out of thin air. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • Back in 2010 they didn't offer free bumpers in your country?
  • Nope I ask the local machine store (apple authorise reseller) and there is no such offer in my country. And I am pretty sure about it because back then I was using an iPhone 4. Posted from my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Last I checked... They got forced by the courts to do it in a class action suit they lost.
  • I honestly don't understand why you would want to put the pen in backwards in the first place (or why this is news on imore). Seriously. Sent from the iMore App
  • Why would you want to put a VHS tape in backwards? (Remember those?) It didn't matter, because they designed them so that they couldn't easily go in that way, preventing any damage or frustration. Design matters.
  • Design designing a cell phone antenna that can be touched and cause antennuation when someone holds a phone wrong?
  • Absolutely, and now Samesung has a design flaw. Deal with it instead of slamming Rene every time you come on this site. This is tech news, and he is reporting it.
  • Tech news on an Android phone ON an Apple blog. He needs to leave this one to AC. He wrote this article just to troll an Apple competitor
  • VAVA Mk2, here's an idea... Maybe you could live a healthier lifestyle and devote your attention to other sites/blogs/forums, it would be good for you, trust me.
  • For real.
  • The VHS example is a good one Rene. Definitely design does matter! I just can't see the logic in putting the pen in backwards.. But I hear you and your point is well made in the article. Sent from the iMore App
  • I love Apple but you should stop this nonsense! On the Note5 user manual, it is clearly stated: "Be sure to insert the S Pen with the nib pointed inward. Inserting the S Pen the wrong way can cause it to become stuck and can damage the pen and your phone"
  • RTFM is the battle cry of poor design. Great design is obvious, helpful, merciful, and delightful.
  • Seriously just stop. This article cries of sad and desperate.
  • "Seriously just stop." -- Physician, heal thyself.
  • "Read The F..... Manual" is not an excuse for poor design. That saying has been around DP/IT for decades. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • Oh yeah, almost forgot, a definite design flaw. I can't do that on my Note3. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • Make sure all of your children and your friends and coworkers also read the manual if you let them use your device. At least brief them with bullet points.
  • Samsung have publicly gone after Apple via their advertisements; why are they above being called out for shit design? They are a dump of a company who have no originality, they copy, steal, lie and generally make piss poor products.
  • Tell that to the people who bought iPhone 6 Plus, and tell them that the entire industry is not stealing the idea of phablet size phone from Samsung, I am just stating the simple fact. Tech company are always borrow idea from each others, I don't understand why you call it "stealing" and further more that has nothing to do with this article.
  • Attack ads are the same thing as big phones?
  • I didn't disagree on the attack ads. What I am trying to point out is the thinking of Samsung steal idea from iOS. As if Apple are not doing the same to Samsung and other OEM. Take a good look at the multi windows features in iOS9. Just to point out a few. Posted from my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • When will you guys quit with the phablet sized Samsung thing. There were a few "phablets" before the Note line. No, they weren't as successful, but it's not like Samsung invented large displays.
  • The moment people stop claiming samsung copy Apple design? Posted from my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Remember when Samsung used to call Apple for no removable storage, no removable battery and glass on the backs of phones that would easily break. And remember when Samsung said their next phone would be 64 bit even when Android didn't support 64 bit at the time. No I guess Samsung have never copied Apple at any time. Sent from the iMore App
  • 64 bit is called evolution, no big secret there. Wake up, 64 bit was on its way for a while. Do U even know what 64 bit is?
  • Size is not a design. How good would the experience of using phones be if Apple hadn't introduced pinch to zoom? Remember how you used to zoom on Android, with the little plus and minus sign on the magnifying glass. This one feature alone made using all smartphones since a more pleasurable experience. Sent from the iMore App
  • It's not about intentionally putting the pen in backwards... stupid apologists... it's about the design flaw. The pen has the same profile, backwards and forwards -THAT'S poor thinking. It takes ZERO effort to install it wrong. (if you had to FORCE it in there, then yeah... Samsung did their job, and the user was just being negligent) I can see kids especially accidentally doing this on their parents' Notes. Takes no extra effort or malicious intent... all you have to be is in a hurry, or otherwise preoccupied just a bit, and you can permanently damage your device. Should have been caught during the design and testing phase... but then, that's not Samsung's area of expertise. Sent from the iMore App
  • Bingo!
  • What about the design flaw in the iPhone 4 with the antenna that Apple ridiculously blamed on its customers and made a stupid site misleading attenuation with competing companies? They lost a class action suit over the design flaw in the US. At least putting a pen in backwards is something most people are smart enough to avoid. Having to wear a cell phone condom or losing a signal during an important phone call because you hold the phone (a critical part of USING a phone) is far worse in terms of design.
  • That so called "antennagate" is a gray area, especially since I had an iPhone 4 and never once experienced those issues. Maybe I was holding the phone the right way? Let me remind you that good design is rarely perfect design. There will always be flaws, because not all flaws can be completely circumvented. Good design simply minimizes the effect of these flaws. Samsung is accused of poor design because the SPen flaw is completely circumventable. Sent from the iMore App
  • They lost a class action lawsuit over it. It was not anecdotal. And my best friend had that problem. Dropped calls to me all the time.
  • You were doing great until that last little comment. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • When I saw this story the other day, my first thought was, "Oh man, Rene is going to have some serious wood." But #penghazi? Really? Americans losing lives and a coverup is equal to an incorrectly inserted S-pen?
  • Yeah I thought the same thing, if it's Samsung iMore will cover it.
  • And faulty antennae placement or being negligent with your large us comparable to espionage? *cough* Watergate/Nixon *cough* Sent from the iMore App
  • I didn't coin the hashtag, it's what Twitter is using. Same with bendghazi.
  • Oh I know that Rene. I didn't mean to insinuate it was yours. Sorry for not making that clearer.
  • So let me get this straight: There's no reasonable expectation for my iPhone to not bend when I put it in my front pocket (yes, this happened to me), but damage caused by replacing a *non-symmetrical* stylus in a fitted holder -- BACKWARDS -- is a design flaw? C'mon man. The analogue is clear, whether you choose to accept it or not. For all the stupid articles iMore writers have published decrying "bendgate" (and offering advice on how to avoid it--Peter Cohen wrote: "I put a case on my iPhone 6 about 30 seconds after getting it out of the box. And I heartily encourage you to do the same." Really? What if I don't want a case?), I'd think you'd have shown some restraint. ETA: Furthermore, you didn't mention that Apple does replace bent iPhones as well, because "this is what companies do", right?
  • From the same article by Peter Cohen, "Apply enough force to something and it will bend or break, because physics are still a thing." Pretty sure that goes for trying to put a triangle block in a circle hole too.
  • That's true, and good design would have made the pen the equivalent of a square on one end and a circle on the other so inserting it the wrong way would have been tough. (Or just made it so it wouldn't/couldn't clamp down on the wrong end.)
  • Interesting. I've had my iPhone 6 Plus in my front pocket, without a case, every day for almost a year now and it's as flat as board. What happened with yours?
  • So there is no issue, huh? Why would Apple reinforce the 6S if the 5 had no bending issues then?
  • Because good companies address their customers' concerns? And constantly seek ways to further improve their products? Sent from the iMore App
  • If the concern is not large or significant, why spend money on R&D and improved design to fix or improve?
  • That is the Apple way. Weird to a fandroid, huh? :)
  • I was wearing a particularly *ahem* slim pair of jeans while on a longer bus trip and I guess the angle at which the phone was pressed against my leg was a little sharper than it would be normally. To be totally clear, it only happened that one time and I was able to get it replaced, no questions asked. To me though, carrying my phone in my front pocket (no matter how tight the pant) is normal use, thus any permanent bending is a design flaw. ETA: ...with that said, I don't care if the S-Pen has a design flaw or not, I just think this was a bad argument for you to jump into.
  • If YOU put the pen in the wrong way it's YOUR fault. Stop blaming someone else or expecting others to cater to you. Take personal responsibility.
  • I'm still waiting for the recall on my electrical outlet because I can put scissors and paperclips in it. Serious design flaw!!
  • Take a look at plugs and think about why they have wide and narrow openings.
  • I watched this live on Macbreak weekly. Pure comedy gold. I'll watch it again on YouTube later haha. Anyone who thinks this isn't a design flaw are lying to themselves. I wouldn't mind but you don't even have to stick it in all the way. It jams just after the halfway mark. #pengate I love it : ) Sent from the iMore App
  • Is this nothing more than an Apple fan site? We're literally comparing morons putting the S-pen in backwards to antennaegate? I'm done with this circlejerk website.
  • I'm the last one to ever defend Samsung but it's not their job to fix stupid. When you buy a $800 plus phone you need to take a little responsibility to learn how to use it. It comes with instructions and even has a picture on the box showing which why it goes in.
  • This is a stretch. I agree that if you put the pen in backwards, it's your fault. Though I am an iPhone user, I disagree that this is a design flaw. Samsung designed the Note S pen to go in one way, if you put it in backwards they aren't responsible for that.
    Renee just really despises Samsung for some reason.
  • Rene, you have to admit, Andy's 'Legend of King Arthur' response was pretty hilarious.
  • If anyone is that stupid then maybe they should be using a flip phone. In response to bendgate, didn't Apple just advertise the new iPhone would be built with stronger metal to prevent bending? Looking forward to the new iPhone.
  • If this had happened to Apple it would be headline news everywhere and Samsung would be fast-tracking an ad making fun of them for it. People will do stupid things. Great companies help prevent them from being harmed by it.
  • Samsung did make ads about iPhones bending.... And bendgate was all over the news when it happened
  • That's his point.
  • ... You sir are a m*r*n. Sent from the iMore App
  • Your article stated that bendgate was nothing and Apple didnt have to do nothing to fix it, What about using completely new metal in building the new iPhone and advertising this fact. What does that tell you about bendgate, real or not. My point is you spent so much time defending bendgate but spend 10 times as much trying to put down Samsung which is Apple's biggest competitor. I find that amusing and isnt the reason I like to tune into iMore. This has to be the dumbest article to date, I own the Note 5, as I said, if anyone puts their S-Pen in backwards than they should be using a flip phone. Not only does the S-Pen stop when it goes so far but you have to force the damn thing in to get it to stick. That isnt bad design, that is called dumb ass users.
  • "Not only does the S-Pen stop when it goes so far but you have to force the damn thing in to get it to stick." Wrong. Absolutely no force required. No resistance.
  • Just stuck my S-Pen in backwards, felt it bottom out and pulled it out. I didnt force it in, I felt resistance and pulled it out.
  • I just watched Ron from Arstechnia (spelling?) turn his Note 5 upside down and drop the pen in it backwards.. No resistance and it locked in . As I said, no resistance.
  • Are there ads out for the new iPhones?
  • All previous Notes did not have this problem, so why did Samesung change it?
  • C&P from another site, but it sums it up perfectly: "If a moment's inattention can break a flagship phone it's a design flaw but I admire those who think it isn't. They must have got this far never ever having missed a junction, stumbled on an uneven walkway, turned on the wrong ring on the cooker, caught anything in a car door or left an umbrella in a cafe. It being mentioned in the manual shows that they noticed it after starting manufacture of the phone but before printing the manual. As someone already said they need to quickly make a new design of pen."
  • So dropping a phone is a design flaw? If a phone drops and it breaks it's the fault of the company who makes the phone?
  • Funny how the same people who frothed at the mouth over "bendgate" and "antennagate" view a major design flaw by Samsung as "no big deal".
  • Love is blind. Sent from the iMore App
  • So I wonder how many morons will be sneaking into Best Buy to record "pengate" videos
  • There's a "Seinfeld" episode where Elaine keeps betting Jerry that she's finished with Puddy, but she loses every time. At one point, Jerry can be seen with a cigar in his mouth, sitting back and laughing maniacally as she loses again. I enjoy envisioning Rene in this pose every time somebody comments on a Samsung story he writes. :)
  • Certainly it is a design flaw but a moron putting their pen in backwards (and the multiples that have done just to see the problem themselves first hand) is a little different than bending or loss of antenna single from normal day to day use.
  • You are putting it in wrong!, that's what she said.
  • The "If you put it in wrong, it's YOUR fault, period" line of thinking is too simple and excuses Samsung for sloppy design.
    I agree, if a grown person knows the stylus will get stuck if they put it in backwards puts in in backwards, they deserve what they get. But to a person with a toddler that gets a hold of the Note while Mom or Dad is in the kitchen, or to the parents of a teenager that thinks it's a great joke to pull on the folks without appreciating how expensive they are, the "it's YOUR fault" line doesn't fly.
    So it's a two-way street. The user DOES need to be more careful, but it definitely is a design flaw that Samsung should have prepared for beyond a write-up in the User Guide. Make the end of the pen wider than the hole. Done.
  • What about if your kid drops it and breaks it? Thats the manufacturers fault also? If so then Apple owes me and hundreds of thousands of other people several free phones. Better make them waterproof and unbreakable also then. Or just don't let your kids play with your expensive phone. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Designing a phone that is indestructible is impossible, silly. But designing a pen that won't get stuck and ruin a phone? That's easy. But Samsung didn't do that. Hence the poor design. Sent from the iMore App
  • But designing a phone that is water resistant isnt impossible. Apple doesn't do that. Design flaw. I can agree that it is a poor design that will be redesigned with the next iteration. Just like the next iphone will be stronger because of the bending issues that some had. They are fixing that poor design. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • "Or just don't let your kids play with your expensive phone." But Samsung advertises the "kids' mode", and even shows them using the pen. So, this is on Samsung for allowing a phone to be ruined by incorrect insertion of the pen. And it has already been said that it wouldn't happen on previous Notes.
  • Don't believe that there is a kids mode on the note 5. And I haven't seen an advertisement for the note 5 with kids mode or a child holding the s-pen. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Well, they have advertised it on the Notes for the past 2 or 3 years.
  • Shut the F-up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The phone should not be ruined if the pen is inserted incorrectly. That is a flaw, and that flaw was not in previous Notes. Samsung goofed, and are trying to cover by using the "read the manual" scenario.
  • Clickie end goes in wrong and breaks the phone then Rene writes a 'click bait' article ! Hehehe. Ok will get my coat... Sent from the iMore App
  • It's a design flaw and a breakfast cereal. Note 5 stylus- Bad design Apple iPhone 4 antenna - bad design It's not difficult to understand. I didn't particularly notice anyone gloating.
  • Really Ritchie. Why the hell should people of iMore or any iDevice care about the stylus on the Note 5 and idiots putting it wrong! That just shows their stupidity but this, this. Whether design flaw or not they are idiots and it is not like the past carnation's of the Note had you insert it backside first, idiots plain and simple. They deserve what they got. Furthermore this site is like Samsung Central! You are a Samsung Fanboy deep inside your Apple erection. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I think at the end you should put, "That is why people are switching to iPhone and what is best for one to do! iPhone's don't have wacom S-Pen and therefore you can't insert anything wrong' Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Got one. And it's by far the best phone I've ever had. And I've had iPhone 6 and 6plus, LG g4, s6, HTC one, Note 4, z3, pretty much everything. If the only drawback is I can't be stupid and put the pen in backwards then... I can definitely live with that. It's truly an awesome device. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • What's the battery life been like? I fell for the s6 when Samsung said the smaller battery would be fine. Needless to say, I can't wait to get rid of it.
  • It doesn't require you to be stupid to insert the pen in backwards. It can be a simple mistake of not paying attention especially these days where every one is multitasking. What if it's an honest mistake, are you just screwed?
  • What if you drop your phone and break it? It's an honest mistake? Are you just screwed? Yes. Yes you are. Because you dropped it and it wasn't made to be dropped. The pen wasn't made to go in backwards. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • You really have all those new flagship phones?. I find that hard to believe. Sent from the iMore App
  • I have had all of those. I have a company and have 23 lines with AT&T. Always have an upgrade available. The LG g4 I only had for 2 days and returned it. The others I've either sold or passed down to my employees. I currently have an s6 active, a note 4, an iPhone 6plus, an apple watch and a lumia 830. I like messing with all operating systems Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Kudos Renee for not going for Samsung's jugular when they really are down and hurting. In all your earlier Samsung articles -- not sure how far back I've read, but for at least a couple months now -- I think I've failed to see some humor or lightness or just plain fun you were having. I tended to think there was too much negativity (or something not, sure how to describe it) but it was a turn off. But I have to say with this article you've regained stature as a journalistic as far as I'm concerned, because you could have added insult to injury but instead chose the high road.
  • Anyone think this happened because Samsung rushed to get these out before the next iPhone's? Anybody think a stylus would improve the 6+?
  • I'm absolutely amazed at all the comments stating Rene is at it again with his hate for Samsung. While I don't agree with everything Rene states, I don't feel the need to attack him because I don't agree with him. After all, he's a writer on this site and frankly, everyone is entitled to go elsewhere if it's that much of a problem for you. With that said, the S Pen is an issue considering how there is no resistance when inserting the pen incorrectly. That is clearly a design flaw and Samsung should fix it and not tell their customers who have spent hundreds of dollars on this device to go RTFM. In all seriousness though, can we have a conversation without all the emotional, over-the-top bashing?
  • Anyone who says this is down to the stupidity of the consumer does't understand 'procedural memory'. The majority of our daily actions are semi-autonomous - meaning that our conscious attention given to learned actions are greatly reduced compared to when we first began to learn the action. Examples include tying our shoe-laces, driving a car, doing the dishes etc. The first time we did those things they were hard because it takes effort to learn something. Once the neural pathways have been created, they become second nature. That is 'procedural memory'. The S Pen is no different. Once you've learnt how to stowaway the S Pen in the phone's silo, you do not consciously think about it. And the chances of putting it in backwards shoots up dramatically. In this instance, the time needed for this procedural memory to take hold is very very short because the simpler the task, the faster we learn. Ideally the 'procedural memory' would incorporate the correct orientation of the S Pen. But it isn't perfect, and is hampered by the fact that we lead busy lives, sometimes lighting is poor, and the only way to tell which the correct end from the incorrect end is by bringing your conscious mind back online for this task and physically looking at it or feeling it. Both intelligent and stupid people make mistakes. IQ level has nothing to do with it.
  • I see it more like a warranty issue for Samsung and eating up profits .Am sure the Note 6 will be designed differently for sure
  • Guys Guys ! Rene is trolling. So just enjoy the article and have a good laugh. Don't sweat out. Sent from the iMore App
  • Laporte clearly did this stunt on purpose. He is trying to get some coverage because of major declining ratings at TWiT. He got his friends with blogs (Renee Richie) to post articles. He started threads on Redditt. He had other shows on his network air this clip. I know this is iMore and not the NY Times but Renee needs to have some integrity. You can not write articles with the sole purpose of promoting your friends projects. That is the worst kind of native advertising. Total disgrace. Hit the delete button fast Renee, don't want your readers seeing this.
  • And you know this how? On purpose? Lol! Declining ratings? Ratings are up.
  • You hit the nail on the head. Pathetic way of making a buck.
  • I have no idea who he is but it was definitely an intentional thing and not a mistake. If it's the author's friend, that is just tech-press nonsense and not journalism.
  • A Rene Ritchie article with over 100 comments *grabs popcorn* Sent from the iMore App
  • Even though people shouldn't be inserting the pen incorrectly in the first place, Samsung also shouldn't have designed it to be impossible to come out.
  • Samsung made a design blunder so why attack the piano player? I appreciate how through iMore is when covering tech news. The fact that Samsung choose to leave a serious design flaw uncorrected, instead of doing something like tapering the stylus so only one end would fit into the phone is telling. Making a little diagram in the manual shows they were aware of the issue, but it does not address the real-world problems their customers will have to deal with. Blaming the customer for being "stupid", or criticizing Rene for reporting the story misses the point. The responsibility of the bungled design rest with Samsung. Now how will they handle this issue going forward?
  • What I want to know is why anyone (other than a small child who wouldn't know better) would NOT insert the S Pen tip-first? That just doesn't make sense to me...
  • Unlikely ? Yes. But there's still a chance and knowing that it will break your phone is ridiculous...
  • You can't design something making that assumption. And at the very least, getting stuck to the point where the phone will be damaged or have to go back to the store to be fixed is just a terrible ignorance.
  • This is a DESIGN FLAW, No other way around it, and we are not talking about people who do this on purpose, many situations where you could accidentally do this, kids playing with it, no light, doing it when just woke up, drunk, etc..
  • If I remember correctly, didn't Rene, and imore, defend bendgate and make ridiculously pathetic excuses for Apple, even after copious evidence showed that the structural integrity and design of the iphone 6 was compromised? It turns out bendgate was indeed a real problem, and Apple will likely address the problem in the 6s. See this video for more. Anyway, this issue is a design flaw and Samsung should fix it. However, it's hard to take Rene's hypocritical criticisms seriously. Especially, in light of how, in the face of real evidence, he religiously defends design flaws in Apple products.
  • Haha, you're fast approaching VAVA for dumbest comment in the thread. Using the term "bendgate" makes you sound like a tool. Try putting any device in your back pocket when you're wearing jeans 2 sizes too small and then lean against the corner of a concrete wall or sit on it and let us all know how that works out.
  • I feel sorry for all Note 5 owners who can't leave their phones unmonitored for fear of some prankster pulling out the S Pen and inserting it the wrong way just because they read about it on the Internet.
  • Check in to iMore to get me some Apple updates, lately all as I've been reading is Note 5 trashing. The biggest part of this website, the articles that take up the headlines there are two Note 5 articles, they have been there for at least 3 days, maybe longer. The biggest articles involving Apple products dont even get that much time in the spot light. This website is getting to be nothing but a site to bash the competition. I own both Apple and Android products, I sure as hell dont tune in to AC to get Apple news, if they do have a story it is not about bashing, iMore has lost it's focus, its turned into a whiney website bashing the competition. That is too bad, when I was new to Apple products I enjoyed coming here to get the imfo I needed, not any more, I hate reading TMZ like bull shit from a site meant to give solid advice. Just My Opinion. PS, Hope things change for the better.
  • I like to think I was understanding of "victims" in the first AC thread, and am certain this is a design flaw, or more accurately an erroneous decision in favour of a new pen top design and mechanism. They couldn't make the top wider AND allow it to push further in against a spring and cog to allow the push to eject function. (This is how I understand it at least, don't have one!). Thanks to Rogue-Tomato for digging that out. As a new time visitor to iMore, and hearing of Rene bashing on AC, I can't fault this article and it's perfect take, explanation and understanding of the issue. (Then again, I may have read it wrong. I'm riddled with self doubt :)) Nice one Rene! Everyone's gone to bed in this blog anyway so I can say what I like. :) What I was disappointed in again were the negative "you're a dumbass if you do this" comments here; but I'm ashamed to say they were a lot worse and more prevalent on the two Android Central blogs/articles on the pen debacle. It got too heated in the original AC thread, and I didn't take part in the blog comments. I had been on AC about 20 months with great people, but I came here partly to cry and get a hug.
    It was real ugly about this, and you lose faith in humanity at times.
    I think about 30% of people whose comments I disagreed with just couldn't see the full picture or didn't think it through. 10% joined in with funny comments or analogies but with no malice. The rest were just awful. I am 56 and waiting for my mummy to take me to the store now. It may seem like I don't get out much, I know. :D
  • Rejoice Apple lovers. The next iPhone is coming with no #bendgate issues. So will the Next Note with no #Pengazi
    Welcome to the tech world. :)
  • Hey guys. I am part of that lucky group that inserted the pen in the wrong way. (I was using the pen in the dark, pen fell, inserted backwards.) After pulling the pen out the pen indeed stopped working. But I discovered a trick that might work if your pen is not totally stuck. Click the top of the pen down, insert again (ass side up) slowely until you see the air command window pop up. (make sure you dont push pen completely in.) Now start to pull pen out, you will feel it's l stuck, but try wiggle or angle the pen out to create less force. Eventually it will come out. My pen works fine again. Sometimes I get the issue again where the sensor won't sense the pen coming out, but I repeat process and it works. I know it's not perfect, but better than not having a pen at all.