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BUYERS PICK A SOUR APPLE

Is it too late to bring back the hand-crank phone?

Apple spends an estimated $2.1 billion a year on the research and development of its products. No doubt a sizable portion of that budget was dedicated to the company's recent rollout of the much-frothed-over iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus gizmos, giving its customers even greater critical access to nude selfies, texts reminding people where one is currently consuming moo goo gai pan and interminable, inconsequential telephonic babble.

In the first week of sales, 10 million gullible people lined up to plop down at least $200 to purchase a device that will ...well, essentially do exactly what their iPhone model whatever already did. Isn't this a bit like replacing a perfectly serviceable car for a new one with a louder horn?

But what should have been Apple's moment of triumph for the till, by once again snookering people into buying something they don't need, turned into a challenge. For want of a double-knit fabric, Apple faced a portent of doom.

Despite Apple's expenditure of vast sums to create the iPhone 6 Plus, along with the work performed by the nation's finest techno geeks, potentially fatal consumer flaws in the device apparently went unnoticed.

It seems the iPhone 6 Plus cannot be jammed into today's fashionable pockets. And if one somehow successfully manages to dig, shove, push, wedge, cram or otherwise nudge an iPhone 6 Plus into his or her clothing, some customers claim the whatchamacallit tends to bend. In short, we stand on the cusp of a worldwide butt-calling crisis.

Though there is some doubt over the claim, reports the iPhone 6 Plus bends like a Slim Jim sausage snack sent Apple shares tumbling by billions of dollars, which set off a domino effect of unrelated company stocks also taking a hit.

Let's review. The nation's foremost producer of highly engineered communications devices spends hundreds of millions of dollars on a new thingy, which is supposed to be marginally better than its old thingy, and the entire project is put at risk and Apple's stock craters because gelatinous consumers wearing tight clothing can't pry the cockamamie widget into a pocket.

Is it too late to bring back the Princess phone?

Suggestion for Apple's CEO Tim Cook: Have you considered a free Jane Fonda workout app for the iPhone 6 Plus?

Suggestion No. 2 for Apple: Have you considered a free new product to go along with the iPhone 6 Plus, such as deep-pocket Apple cargo iPants?

Other consumers have kvetched the iPhone 6 Plus is too big to fit into a woman's purse, or a man's inside jacket pocket, as if they are expected to lug around a typewriter in their clothing. Oh, the fashion heartbreak of it all.

Around the world, wars are waging, diseases are claiming thousands of lives, volcanos are erupting, humorless terrorists are running amok and demonstrators are taking to the streets seeking freedom. But what seems to be consuming countless Americans? Their iPhones are leaving unsightly shapes in their pockets, that is, when they are able to squeeze - against all laws of physics - the doohickey into their pants.

And for that Apple experienced a multibillion-dollar stock slap?

There is a silver lining solution to Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus woes.

Since the new whatsits are so unwieldy and a crime against couture, might this lead to consumers leaving their iPhones in the car, or at home, or in a giant knapsack?

Imagine what this might do to the mind-numbing video game industry, not to mention the "Billy Bob is eating a burrito at Taco Bell" texting community, not to mention the do-it-yourself porn aficionados. They would be forced to expose their shortcomings in person, the old-fashioned way.

People might actually have to sit across from one another in restaurants and converse eye-to-eye. How socially revolutionary. Social human discourse uninhibited by a handheld techno-cave. Now there's a concept.

Since it is probably too late to bring back the candlestick phone, we can rest assured the American industrial/fashion complex will rise to the occasion and meet the demands of consumers who yearn to be trendy but insist on memorializing themselves with slobbering selfies taken while twerking as they alert the universe to their presence at an Ybor City tattoo parlor.

Get ready for the next stylish trend - nicely baggy leisure suits with kangaroo pouches front and back. So iDe rigueur.

- druth@tampabay.com

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