Some Apple iPhones didn't ring in the New Year, and customers are angry about the alarm-application malfunction.
While it might not sound as harrowing as the legendary Y2K bug that threatened to melt down every computer on the planet (depending on whom you talked to), Apple iPhone users rang in the New Year with a glitch in the clock application of their devices that caused the alarm function to stop working after Jan. 1.
An Apple spokesperson said iPhone owners can apparently fix the glitch by deleting and re-entering their alarm settings.
"We're aware of an issue related to non-repeating alarms set for Jan. 1 or 2," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison told Reuters in an e-mail. "Customers can set recurring alarms for those dates and all alarms will work properly beginning Jan. 3."
While enraged iPhone 4 owners took to the social networking site Twitter to vent their frustrations ("Mr. Jobs, were you not anticipating 2011 when designing the iPhone?" one person Tweeted sarcastically), not all customers were affected, and at least one was perhaps wishing for a forgotten wake-up call. "I hadn't even heard about it, but I haven't had any problems," said iPhone 4 owner Jamie Kelso, a digital marketing officer for the International Rescue Committee in New York. "Mine went off painfully. I kind of wish it hadn't."
Glenn Selig, founder of the crisis-management PR firm, The Publicity Agency, said while people love their iPhones, missing a plane or an important event is tough for even the biggest fans to overlook. "Reliability needs to be the centerpiece of any phone, and Apple must reassure its loyal customers that a pattern is not beginning to develop," he said.
Despite the assurances by Apple's Harrison that the problem would correct itself Jan. 3, some users reportedly are continuing to have problems with their alarms.
The minor outrage over this glitch, however, holds no candle to the infamous "Antennagate" of 2010, when Apple defiantly defended the iPhone 4's reported reception issues. The hoopla culminated with a series of lawsuits: In July 2010, Apple was sued in a San Francisco District Court, and again, along with AT&T, in a Maryland District Court, for allegedly "perpetuating a massive fraud upon hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting customers" by releasing a phone with known antenna issues.
Unlike the iPhone 3G S, the iPhone 4 is constructed of front and back glass panels, held together by a stainless-steel band that additionally acts as an antenna. When the phone is held in one's palm, with the bottom left corner of the band covered over, signal strength is reportedly slashed. A day after the iPhone 4's June 24 release, Apple circulated a statement regarding the "normal manner" in which the smartphone should be used.
"Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others, depending on the placement of the antennas," Apple wrote in the statement. "If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of the many available cases."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.