Buggy, Bendy iPhones Create Bad Week For Apple
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Just three days after Apple announced that it sold a record 10 million new iPhones, the angry social media posts started photos showing bent phones and complaints of software issues. The shiny rollout of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has been dulled, to say the least. And the company is feeling the heat. For more, we turn to NPR's Laura Sydell. And Laura, one of the issues has been with an update to Apple's new operating system iOS 8. What's going on?
LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: It's a routine update. And it was meant to fix a couple of bugs, such as some apps weren't able to access photos on your phone. But it turns out the fix caused bigger problems, including some people losing voice service. And then a study began circulating by a group called Crittercism, which claims that the new iOS has a higher crash rate.
BLOCK: And what's Apple doing about that?
SYDELL: They've pulled the update. And they're advising people to restore the older version. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds.
BLOCK: Well, in addition to this problem with the operating system update, now there are also these complaints about the iPhone 6 bending in people's pockets.
SYDELL: Yes, a video started circulating showing some people bending their iPhone 6 Plus. And that was after complaints from some customers that when they put the iPhone 6 Plus in their pockets, they discovered later that it had a slight bend towards the center.
Now this is Apple's new larger version of the iPhone. It's what some people call a phablet, which is a mix of a phone and a tablet computer. The 6 Plus is thinner than the last phone. It has an aluminum body. But when you design something like that to make it thinner, it can become more fragile.
And so anyway, this hashtag has started on Twitter called #bentgate. Some of it had people making jokes like - the ultimate hipster choice, my iPhone 6 Plus or my skinny jeans.
And competitive brands have been having a field day. HTC had a tweet that said designed to withstand the most demanding environments like your pockets. Apple hasn't gotten back to me yet about what they're doing. But in a report in The Wall Street Journal, they called the problem extremely rare.
BLOCK: And Laura, not just competitive brands getting in on the act - there's a whole Internet meme now of other products shown being bent - a Slim Jim being bent, a Whataburger being bent - all with the hasgtag #bentgate. Because after all, what is Twitter for but things like this?
SYDELL: Right. (Laughter).
BLOCK: What does all this mean for Apple in the end?
SYDELL: Well, the stock price took a beating today in part because Apple is the company that always sold itself as user-friendly. The late Steve Jobs used to introduce products by saying it just works.
He did face a controversy back in 2010 when Apple released its iPhone 4. That was antenna gate.
SYDELL: And by force of personality, he quelled it. Now, Tim Cook, the current CEO, has to see if he can quiet this, because in many ways it's a perception problem. And he's not Steve Jobs. So everybody's looking what is Tim Cook going to do now?
BLOCK: OK, NPR's Laura Sydell talking about the troubles with Apple's new iPhone models. Laura, thanks so much.
SYDELL: You're welcome.