A flaw in the interior workings of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is creating an epidemic of "Touch Disease" in which the phones stop responding to any touch pressure at all, rendering them basically useless. As Consumerist reports, the problem appears to be growing as these models age, and Apple Genius Bar employees apparently acknowledge it but say there's no fix — i.e. it must be time for a new iPhone model to be released.

The problem sounds maddening, and replacing the touchscreen won't help. The trouble stems from two chips within the phone that process touch commands, and how their soldered connections to the main board in the phone can crack and wear out over time — or from phones bending (remember Bendgate?), or being repeatedly dropped. The problem seems to be more prevalent with the larger, more bend-prone 6 Plus model, as iFixit explains, and two years on since these phones came out, they're showing up in non-Apple repair shops by the hundreds because their warranties have expired.

Apparently, though Apple won't repair the phones, "skilled, third-party microsoldering specialists (most 'unauthorized' to do Apple repairs, according to official company policy) can fix phones with symptoms of Touch Disease. And they can do it a whole lot cheaper than the cost of a new logic board or an out-of-warranty phone replacement," according to iFixit.

Touch Disease manifests itself along with a static-y gray bar that appears across the top of the phone's screen, and NY-based phone repair expert Jessa Jones explains in the video below that she began seeing the problem just a few months after the iPhone 6 Plus came out. "A picture began to develop over time," she says, as more and more iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners started reporting the Touch Disease problem, and more repair shop owners began sharing information about what they were finding.

Not to get too technical, but apparently earlier iPhone models were a bit different, with a metal shield that protected their logic boards, and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have just a "sticker shield" over the boards, leaving them more vulnerable to wear and tear.

So, thus, the not-very-far-fetched conspiracy theory of planned obsolescence with Apple products holds true once more.

Why is your iPhone acting up all of a sudden? Because it's two years old, silly! Time for a new phone, and what do you know! There's a new model headed to stores next month.

Previously: iPhone 6 Pluses Are Bending In People's Pockets