8 Apple fails in just 46-days (Updated)

In many respects, Apple’s had a great start to the year, except it also let some problems slip through its quality control net. The company really must stop kicking the ball into its own goal as it goes through the rest of 2018

46 days so far

At time of writing, we’ve been in 2018 for just 46-days. Already we’ve seen a series of challenges, many of which are of Apple’s own devising. This really must stop.

Battery gate

Apple finally came out to apologize for throttling iPhone batteries, promising to release a fix that will let customers choose whether to enable this performance saving “feature”. Here’s how to use that tool when it ships in iOS 11.3. The company also started a one-year long cut-price battery replacement scheme.

Spectre at the gates

It seems quite unfair to throw blame at Apple for the Spectre and Meltdown bugs – that blame lies elsewhere. It still made for a difficult start to the year.

Tax trouble

Lucky old Apple still has billions of dollars on foreign earnings in the bank, some of which it probably plans to give its shareholders. Fortunately, that still leaves change for the £136 million in back taxes it quietly agreed to pay in the UK following an audit and “adjustment”.

Big data

Apple apologised again when it mistakenly told some US users that their iCloud data was to be migrated to Chinese servers. The company is hosting its Chinese customer’s data on Chinese servers.

Calls out

Apple has also had to confirm that some iPhone 7 models have a faulty logicboard component that means devices will show a “No Service” message, even when service is actually available.

Finding the source

The source code for iOS 9 boot-up got leaked by some unreliable, low-level, Apple employee who had hacker friends. Apple says things will be OK, so long as you update your devices (and aren’t stuck using iOS 9, presumably).

The white circle of hype

I think the HomePod is great. What’s not so great is the impact the brilliant connected music system is having on wooden furniture. Apple says those white marks on wood are perfectly normal. Perhaps that’s true – the Sonos One shares the same problem. But couldn’t it have told us this already?

A little character

Finally, we have the brand-new flaw that means iOS and macOS devices can or may crash (sometimes a little too seriously) when they try to render a common Indian text character called Telugu. (Since writing this, Apple seems to have said it is accelerating a fix for this problem). [Despite which] I’m sorry, but for a company whose focus on creating beautiful fonts inspired the creation of the desktop publishing industry, that’s not really very clever now, is it?

UPDATE 2/20/18: We should also be fair: Apple rushed a software patch to protect all its platforms against this vulnerability in under a week. Most unlike other platforms.

I’m not one to moan, but as the company expands its product range, services, headcount, and industry reach, the number of these challenges will only increase. I will say that I welcome Apple’s usual fortitude in handling problems like these – to admit to them, and try to take restorative action. All the same, history shows us that Apple’s decision to slow down to get a grip is something that it shares with any empire as it reaches its natural magnitude.

Why not let the competition make a few errors for a while?

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

4 Responses

  1. Harvey Lubin says:

    With so many “fails” we would have to assume that Apple is DOOMED®. 😉
    And with so many “gates”, Apple should open it’s own airport, right?

    We can either believe that this is the first time in recorded history that Apple has ever had “bugs” to squash, or we can put our “remember” hats on, and recall that Apple has ALWAYS dealt with bugs in the past (and has usually come up with a solution or fix very quickly).

    In fact, some of the recent complaints are really baseless, and seem to be the usual, exaggerated “disasters” that sporadically get concocted by people with an anti-Apple axe to grind… And which soon gets promoted into “hyper”-drive by the media.

    The most recent example of this type of Chicken Little “horrors” is the HomePod’s circle-of-doom. That is that the silicone base on the HomePod can possibly leave temporary makes on unprotected wooden furniture (without a hard-coat finish).

    The truth is that ANYTHING with a silicone base will have the SAME effect and leave marks on some oiled or untreated wood surfaces. This is nothing “new”, and it certainly does not ONLY pertain to the HomePod.

    For example, an article with photos appeared today on Tom’s Guide, showing that the Sonos One speaker, which also has silicone pads on the bottom of the speaker, leaves similar marks on the same type of wood surfaces.

    These types of “fails” need to be put into perspective, and should be examined further before submitting to a knee-jerk reaction.

    • Jonny Evans says:

      oh I do not think they are doomed. I do think it makes sense for everyone to take a week or two off, go somewhere nice, and re-focus.

  2. AJ Marlow says:

    You write: “Why not let the competition make a few errors for a while?” They do. All the time. But their name in any article is not clickbait. Apple’s is. So people know about every little Apple misstep, but not necessarily about the other guys’.

    • Jonny Evans says:

      Oh don’t be silly — read the other 20,000+ things I’ve written which don’t knock Apple across the last 20 years. I”m not a hater. But sometimes harder things need to be said.

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