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Alarming: One small iPhone glitch leads to big problems

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Like most people, I started the new year in lazy fashion concerned only with waking up in the general time frame of “morning” vs. any particular time. Alas, that was not the case for everyone and some of those folks got a rude unawakening when their iPhones failed to perform basic alarm and appointment duties, resulting in assorted headaches including one lost job and one missed fertility treatment.

If how you start the year is a sign of things to come, Apple and a few angry customers are in for a rough one. It seems a glitch in iOS caused alarms and appointments to not go off on January 1 and 2 with some reporting failures into the 3rd, past the point when an Apple spokesperson said the problem would correct itself. Unfortunately, that comes too late for folks who have already suffered as a result.

A reader of the Huffington Post shared with them a letter to Steve Jobs in which she explained that her missed alarm on New Year’s Day caused her to miss work and subsequently lose her job. A reader of the Consumerist reported that she and her husband both had alarms set for 1/1 and both their iPhones failed to go off, causing them to miss a costly fertility treatment. Such treatments are costly not just in terms of money but an opportunity that may be lost forever. While most of the reported problems are minor, this obviously is not.

Time and date glitches are hardly unique to Apple (aside from our pre-teen readers, we all remember Y2K), but that does not diminish the severity of the problems that arise when they happen. I think Apple should expect justifiable lawsuits out of this mess.

For the record, I personally did not suffer this problem. I had nothing urgent planned for the new weekend, but a couple of recurring alerts went off as scheduled and my morning alarm worked fine yesterday and today (and the snooze function worked successively in repeated testing). I didn’t even realize there was a glitch until I started reading the news yesterday.

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at] notebooks.com

7 Comments

  1. Richardmayrand

    01/04/2011 at 3:55 pm

    Well… I am on a fertility procedure with my spouse and there is no way in the world that I would forget the djfferent steps and procedures. I do not need any smartphones I use my own smarts ! That is one thing too important. I do not need an alarm to remember to breath neither.

    I own an iPhone and iPad but I still use my brain quite a bit.

  2. Dave in MI

    01/04/2011 at 4:05 pm

    Lawsuits, really? For an alarm glitch? None of my doctors were scheduling appts early on Jan 1.

    • GoodThings2Life

      01/05/2011 at 12:26 am

      I’m quite certain that being late one time is NOT going to get you fired. If it does, you’re probably better off not working for the organization, and you’re well within your rights to file a lawsuit against the organization for unlawful or inappropriate grounds of termination. My guess is that it was simply the last straw and someone has a tough time coping with responsibility.

      That said, if you spend money on a device, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to function as designed, and one of the functions happens to be as an alarm clock.

  3. rustman

    01/04/2011 at 5:57 pm

    People have forgotten that phones are used for phone calls. If you want to use your “smart phone” as an alarm clock, then you shouldn’t be surprised when your phone doesn’t wake you up a couple of days out of the year. If you want to get up everyday on time you buy an alarm clock. You can buy about 20 of them for the price you paid for your iPhone. I am an Apple lover, I have an iPhone and a ton of other Apple products. I haven’t had any issue with my phone but then again, I don’t use it as an alarm clock. I use the tool that was designed for that purpose, an alarm clock.

    • GoodThings2Life

      01/05/2011 at 12:22 am

      It’s also an expensive device called a “SMART” phone, which to most people would suggest it is capable of more than just being a phone, and telling time is a computer concept that isn’t exactly new.

  4. Ilyas

    01/05/2011 at 8:54 am

    Shouldn’t rely on the iPhone alarm. Can’t blame a phone for the the loss of something, that’s just incredibly stupid!!

  5. Pingback: iOS 6 Do Not Disturb Won't Turn Off After New Year

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