Apple Yanks Buggy iOS 8 Update - InformationWeek

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9/25/2014
08:37 AM
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Apple Yanks Buggy iOS 8 Update

Apple continues a week of miscues with an iOS 8 update that killed cellular service for some users.

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Apple issued the first update for iOS 8 Wednesday but withdrew the release several hours later, following reports that the update had disabled cellular service for some users.

Released last week, iOS 8 has received mostly positive reviews from critics, especially when the OS is paired with the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Apple sold a record-breaking 10 million iPhones during the new devices' first three days of availability. But despite this success, the iOS 8 update bug is only the latest of several Apple missteps over the past week.

The iOS 8.0.1 update had been intended to fix a bug that prevented new HealthKit fitness apps from launching last week, as originally planned. Apple said the 8.0.1 update would also fix a variety of other problems, such as unstable performance from third-party keyboards and inaccessible photo libraries.

[What is it like having an iPhone 6 Plus? Read Apple iPhone 6 Plus: My First Weekend.]

Unfortunately, the update also killed cell service for some users. Some also reported disabled Touch ID sensors. An Apple rep acknowledged the issue to the website Re/code, confirmed the company had withdrawn the update, and said Apple engineers were working on a fix.

It's unclear how many users have been affected, but the update bug has reportedly impacted users across all carriers. The issue has also affected, not only older iPhones, but also new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units. Some publications reported that their attempts to replicate problems by installing update 8.0.1 were unsuccessful. Earlier this week, Apple said nearly half of iOS users had moved to iOS 8.

Apple's faulty update continues a series of uncharacteristic mistakes and miscalculations. Some commentators felt Apple overestimated U2's current appeal when it licensed the band's new album in order to give it away free to iTunes users. This criticism gained validity when many users complained because Apple caused the album to automatically download to millions of devices.

The U2 issue faded as positive buzz over iOS 8 and the new iPhones took over -- but then new problems reared up. HealthKit apps were delayed. Some users complained that the update required too much storage space. Microsoft cleverly exploited this situation by offering free OneDrive storage so iPhone users wouldn't have to delete apps and pictures to make room for iOS 8.

Other users complained about customary first-week bugs. Problems have been significantly greater for those who've installed the update on older devices. Most recently, some users complained that the iPhone 6 Plus's aluminum frame bends too easily and might be susceptible to damage from somewhat typical use. And all of the preceding doesn't even address lingering privacy questions engendered by alleged hacks of several celebrities' iCloud accounts.

Time will tell if these recent problems morph into a long-term concern. Apple rarely makes so many gaffes in such quick succession, but bugs are typical during any new product's first few weeks of release. Apple has certainly survived past iPhone and iOS launch problems, such as the Maps fiasco and the infamous "Antennagate" affair. Will the company similarly brush off its newest challenges? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 12:59:47 PM
Disappointing, Really
More than anything, the bugs in iOS 8 are kind of disappointing. It's an indication of insufficient testing, probably obsessive focus on the iPhone 6 and little on the impact of iOS 8 on older phones (based on the reports from 4S users). This is the big problem of working to a date that, as it turned out, was maybe a month too early at least. Marketing versus Engineering has always been a thorny issue, and this is the result.

8.0.1 is just compounding the same thing from the looks of it. 8.0.2 will be interesting, and as with iOS7, in all likelihood 8.1 is going to be the version you really wanted.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
9/25/2014 | 3:30:37 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
Given the dependencies in OS X Yosemite (eg: Handoff), Apple would have done better to wait for an extra month and release both updates together, with more bugs ironed out, alongside Apple Pay and iCloud Drive.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 4:39:23 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
I couldn't agree more. However, this is the marketing problem: They want iOS8 on the iPhone 6, and there is NO WAY ON THIS EARTH that they will launch the iPhone6 late. No way. And if they didn't make iOS8 available on other devices, people would ask why and assume that the iPhone6 was running an early, buggy OS.

So they release it anyway in a "good enough" form in order to meet marketing deadlines. Which sucks.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 8:51:16 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
It's really amazing how forgiving Apple fans are given these challenges. If any other manufacturer released a device with these kinds of issues, they would be crucified by the media. Instead, Apple releases a new set of phones touting features that other OSs have had for two generations (NFC, health APIs), a phone is so thin and light (think weak) that it can be bent in half just from someone sitting down with it in their pocket. a new default keyboard that displays a users pin lock code in auto-correct and a built-in browser (Safari) that has crashed on my iPad no less than twice while trying to write this paragraph.

Marketing and Engineering clearly were not in sync. Granted, it is very difficult to make sure all the details of a device are ready for the launch event that was scheduled months in advance. I like my iPad Air, but it's just a device. Maybe this will help others see that Apple isn't as infallible and worship-worthy as many think it is.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 9:16:51 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
This bears repeating if it hasn't been said here already. Investors were not so forgiving today. Shares plunged nearly 4% and this caused a tumble in all three major US indices of between 1.5 to nearly 2%. But these drops, and the terrible PR generated this, are but blips, aren't they, in a long-term strategy that would only be dented if sales of the next phone, the next iPad, the damn Watch, are significantly less than expected.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 9:25:14 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
Investors will forgive the gaffes because sales will continue, despite the issues involved.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 6:13:41 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
@jagibbons

"Investors will forgive the gaffes because sales will continue, despite the issues involved."

I couldn't agree with you more. And when we're talking about sales, we're talking about several hundred million dollars. What investor won't be happy with this outcome?

The investors will forgive and forget.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 6:49:41 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
@jagibbons>

"Marketing and Engineering clearly were not in sync"

Oh, they were absolutely in sync - they just disagreed about the way forward.

 

Marketing: We need to start selling on September 19th
Engineering: It won't be ready.
Marketing: Well, it's going to start selling on September 19th
Engineering: We're doing our best, but there simply isn't enough time to get it right.
Marketing: That's a shame because we've told everyone that we're going to start selling on September 19th
Engineering:You're not getting this, are you?
Marketing: Apparently neither are you. We're going to start selling on September 19th; it's too late to change that. Make sure the OS is ready.
Engineering: <prepares noose>

 

Trust me, I've worked in a marketing-driven company before, and that's pretty much how it worked.

Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 9:42:31 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
@jgherbert. when engineering fails to meet marketing's demands --- or better yet, when they fail to get product completed sans bugs by marketing's deadlines --- what happens to engineering? Do heads roll?
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 4:35:51 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
@Broadway0474>

when engineering fails to meet marketing's demands --- or better yet, when they fail to get product completed sans bugs by marketing's deadlines --- what happens to engineering? Do heads roll?

Of course! Marketing typically accepts no responsibility for the failure, despite having a key role in its occurrence. The blame is firmly directed at engineering who failed to meet a deadline. The fact that the deadline was unreasonable and unworkable is a side issue because it was a marketing date so it must have been correct.

Your mileage may vary, obviously.

 

 

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 5:27:19 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really

@jgherbert     Couldn't agree more,  Most marketing people are never wrong or unrealistic.   

Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
10/1/2014 | 11:59:18 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
Ugh.  Usually I like marketing people way more than I like PR people, but I had a situation the other day wherein I brusquely emailed a company's marketing manager to ask, rhetorically, how many [semi-expletive] times I needed to click unsubscribe before they would finally stop emailing me?

Marketing manager removed me from the list (apparently swearing works), but 1) was unapologetic, 2) began stalking me on LinkedIn with her friends, and 3) Instagrammed the exchange and made light of it.

I went from just ever so slightly annoyed with the company to now viewing that company as an outright foe.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 9:47:30 PM
Re: Disappointing, Really
jgherbert, I would love to hear some of your stories. Sounds like you've seen a few doosies firsthand. I may have witnessed --- darn, really participated in --- one such albeit minor occurrence. I was, however, the one setting the deadline that couldn't be met (although if tech hadn't dragged their feet for months, we would have had no problem meeting the deadline ...)
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
10/2/2014 | 11:00:58 AM
Re: Disappointing, Really
@Broadway0474>

"I would love to hear some of your stories."

It's just pain and whining on my part mostly. I discussed this with a manager at one company after we had been forced yet again to cut corners to meet a deadline, and he was as frustrated as I at the situation we had been put in. He put his foot down (so to speak) and declared that we will not compromise on quality over time; that if we needed to be a couple of weeks later in order to do something right, then that's what we'll do, and we'll get the deadline moved. I asked how that applied to projects where the deadline can't move (mainly because they were international / multi-company efforts) and he had to acknowledge that he sincerely meant what he said "apart from those projects." The reality was that despite his absolutely correct desires, marketing would set dates without concern, and that was being supported all the way up the corporate tree, so escalating about it would simply mean getting a note from the CEO with words to the effect of "This is when it's happening; don't let us down."  Maybe Marketing had no idea how much power they had, or what it was doing to Engineering. I dunno. I also don't think that Engineering can be permitted to delay indefinitely, or things will never get done. There has to be a line drawn in the sand, but maybe both parties need to hold the stick, and both have to set criteria determining when to brush over the old line and draw a new one a few feet away.

 

jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
10/2/2014 | 11:12:49 AM
Re: Disappointing, Really
@Broadway0474>

"I would love to hear some of your stories."

That reminds me; one related tale of a project with a completely immovable launch deadline. The project was being run under a Non-Disclosure Agreement which I was not under, so while I know I had implemented some bits and pieces to prepare for the launch of the service, it was more "make this happen" ... "Why?" ... "Can't tell you". 

Anyway, the point of this is that in the week leading up to the service launch, I was chatting to somebody who /was/ under NDA and casually said "Well, so long as you don't need <x> for this service, it's all good." I had spent the last few months battling with <x> and had just about got it under control, but there was no way we were prepared for any additional load on it. The guy I was talking to turned visibly pale as he stood there. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, clearly searching for what to say. In the end he just said "What would be the problem if it did need <x>?"

10 minutes later we were in a room with the next 3 levels of management explaining the issues of <x>, the usage of which by the new service could neither be confirmed nor denied. Needless to say I spent the next two days and nights killing myself to make all the necessary changes to prepare for something that officially wasn't needed, on the basis that we should have that capacity "just in case".

I think this counts as a double whammy: fixed deadline and no information on what you are supposed to have achieved by that deadline. :-)

Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2014 | 12:13:12 AM
iOS SchmiOS
Has there EVER been a new version of iOS that wasn't super-buggy?  There's a headline like this every time there's a new iOS release.

It would seem that only fools update right away.  But then, Apple -- for all of its successes in reaching a broader market -- still has tons of fanbois and fangrrls who fit the bill.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 6:53:25 PM
Re: iOS SchmiOS
@Joe Stanganelli>

It would seem that only fools update right away.

I know, but there are such lovely new features, I feel like I just /have/ to update so I can have them now! I think that's the thing about these major updates - they're often so significant in terms of gimmicks^Wfeatures that you feel stupid for NOT getting the new code and enjoying a bounty of new things that can slow your phone down^W^W^W^Woffer new ways to work.

Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
10/1/2014 | 11:56:59 PM
Re: iOS SchmiOS
@jgherbert: It's Cialdini's principles of influence/social psychology at work!  Social proof, for starters (because EVERYONE is going to have the new features, and you don't want to be left out).  Also, authority (because Apple, the authority, and tech pundits (other authorities) are telling you that these are the latest and greatest features and you should upgrade if you want the most out of your product) and consistency/commitment (you've already invested in an Apple product, so you're more likely to trust the brand and upgrade -- which, in turn, will make you even MORE likely to upgrade and buy more Apple products).
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
9/26/2014 | 5:41:51 PM
Lack of Passion
These past few days at Apple are not without comparable events.  Healthcare.gov, Windows 8, JC Penny, and the automobile industry (sorry, too many recalls to select one as exemplary).  I think they all share one thing in common, boards who have placed senior management responsibility in people who lack true passion about the product in deference to MBAs focusing on stock market factors.  My understanding of Jobs was that he was passionate about what he did which also translated to his being a fanatic for detail if not out right overbearing at times.  Unwilling to accept "close enough."  It was evident by his leaving and returning with the business reflecting the ebb and flow of his presence.  This passion, however, is the characteristic of senior leaders which have won the markets by producing outstanding products.  Apple's performance only reflects that change in leadership - it is not enough to dress down for your product presentations to mimic the success of others (Jobs, Zuckerburg,...).  I see a lot of execs that remind me of Hammer from the Ironman movies as he tried to imitate Stark.   

I will admit it is unfair to list Healthcare.gov here.  I haven't met too many Fed Execs who cared about funding (for them, the american public will always pay) or could for that matter read a financial report if asked.  Their focus is entirely different than private sector.  But, if they so desired, they could bring that passion to their work and might be surprised at the effect it could have.  Investors have to start considering this in selecting their senior leadership or they will simply continue to pay in percentages of lost market value.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2014 | 11:10:52 PM
Re: Lack of Passion
For public leaders. the public will always pay, you say. Can't you say that same for private leaders -- heck, Apple's leaders, Facebook's leaders, etc. etc. They know shareholders and consumers will continue to buy shares and buy products because the spell has already been cast  on them --- call it "branding" --- and no matter how passionate these leaders are, that will continue.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 1:51:28 AM
Re: Lack of Passion

@Broadway0474     I agree consumers for the most part will continue to buy these products - but there will be a few ( translated millions ) who will get frustrated by Apple's latest efforts and will take this as an opportunity to try something else.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 1:48:21 AM
Re: Lack of Passion

@MyW0r1d     I think you raise a good point regarding passion, is it still there after Jobs ?    It doesn't look like it to be honest - I don't remember Apple products having these kind of issues during his time at  the helm.

jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 6:51:21 PM
Re: Lack of Passion
@Technocrati>

I don't remember Apple products having these kind of issues during his time at  the helm.

Then you have a very selective memory ;-) The iPhone software has been notorious for bugs in pretty much every major new release. And some more to boot. And that very much includes on Jobs' watch.

jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
9/28/2014 | 8:19:57 PM
Re: Lack of Passion
Every new release is buggy. Even the minor releases have bugs that need to be fixed. And looking back, I'm still amazed at how quickly everyone got over antenna-gate. "Hold your phone differently." Seriously?
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 2:52:38 PM
Re: Lack of Passion

@jagibbons    I forgot about antenna-gate !    Yeah, that was ridiculous.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 2:48:27 PM
Re: Lack of Passion

@jgherbert     You got me ! : )     But I should have preference my comment by stating I have never owned an iPhone.  For years I was quite satisfied with my flip-top made by whoever.   And in those days I was not a big fan of Apple products in general, as I was brained washed into thinking I need Windows for everything.

Man have I come along way !   I am a Samsung user now - I guess it is just the rebel in me ( or probably the larger screen size ) that caused me to go in this direction.   I simply love my Samsung and had no reason to get an iPhone or even keep up with " the Appleites" .

So my comment probably was unfair - shoddy products were produced under Jobs as well.  Good point. :  ) 

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