iPhone firmware update woes continue

In Wednesday's IT Blogwatch, we wonder whether Apple's iPhone has jumped the shark with its firmware updates. Not to mention today's favorite waste of time...

Gregg Keizer reports:

Apple Inc. updated the iPhone's software Monday afternoon, but according to first reports posted to the company's support forum, the new 2.0.2 firmware has not fixed users' 3G reception problems.

As it did two weeks ago when it released iPhone 2.0.1, Apple gave no details of today's update contents, stating only that it included "bug fixes."

Fonzie jumps the shark
Users expecting to see a fix for long-running 3G reception issues, however, were mostly disappointed. The majority who posted messages on the subject to Apple's support forum after installing iPhone 2.0.2 said that the update had not solved their problems, which included dropped calls, weak signal strength and slow surfing speeds. more

Jacqui Cheng kind-of adds:

Every call results in a "call failed" error despite ... full signal under 3G. Needless to say, this is kind of a problem, especially while on the road ... [and] kind of negates the entire benefit of having 3G available in the first place.

...

[One] user ended up taking the problematic iPhone to an AT&T store for evaluation. The AT&T employee verified the issue and swapped out the SIM, which apparently worked in remedying the problem

...

We were able to confirm that the update addresses a few 3G-related issues (but not some of the major 3G problems people are having quite yet), and overall, users are reporting apparent improvements to signal level and the ability to make calls. more

Brian X. Chen agrees:

A few optimistic iPhone users thought the handset's latest firmware update would wave a magic wand and make 3G problems disappear forever. Instead, for some, 3G connectivity has disappeared altogether.

...

I agree with Cheng that even though this is a small number of users, it's still a major and valid issue: You can't just ignore the minority. more

Chris Ziegler asks, "Is Apple shooting in the dark?":

Hopes were high that 2.0.2 would decisively crush the reception woes some iPhone 3G owners have experienced ... dropped calls, latching onto EDGE reception when 3G (also known as "the good stuff") is available, and general signal strength wonkiness have all plagued a select group of handsets since launch, making for a decidedly MobileMe-like user experience.

Some upgraders are actually reporting just the opposite, though -- for these lucky few, 2.0.2 seems to be making reception somehow worse than it already was, and what's more, there are intermittent reports cropping up of broken third-party apps, too.

With the 1.x line of builds having chugged along with relatively little drama for a year, here's our question: what the hell is going on? Why does 2.0, after two post-launch builds, still feel like a beta? MobileMe took the lion's share of the fall for Apple having spread itself too thin through the launch-heavy summer months, but did some of that fire-drill mentality trickle over to the breadwinner, too? more

Harry McCracken concurs:

How can one company be the subject of so much good news and bad news at one time? These are either the best of times or the worst of times for Apple’s reputation.

...

The company’s performance in the just-released American Customer Satisfaction Index was terrific ... Apple’s score represented its biggest jump ever over the previous year’s results.

...

But these survey results arrive at a time when much of the news about Apple products involves them misbehaving ... There’s the launch of the Mobile Me service ... There’s the iPhone 3G’s ongoing issues with flaky 3G data and dropped calls ... Even old first generation iPod Nanos are apparently deciding to catch on fire. more

Michael Arrington adds fuel to the fire:

My obvious enthusiasm for Apple products is fairly evident to readers of this blog. But recently I’ve had a string of bad apples come my way, so to speak. It’s time for Apple to stop screwing around and start paying attention to product quality.

I’ll excuse the one hour of battery life I seem to be able to get out of my iPhone ... I’ll also excuse the fact that iTunes seems hell bent on not syncing applications from my desktop to my iPhone, and inexplicably removing apps from my phone without any notice.

...

But I don’t have the same blind dedication to other Apple products ... Mac Mini, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and Macbook, All Failed ... having major issues with four out of seven computers is, um, unacceptable ... MobileMe Has Screwed Up My Work Ecosystem ... [and] is affecting everyone. Apple shouldn’t have merged the services, at least old .Mac customers wouldn’t be enraged today.

They need to get their house in order or they risk alienating all these new customers they’ve added over the last few years. The new buyers aren’t Apple fanatics and won’t sit quietly as they try to access broken services via failing hardware. more

And finally...

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 21 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.


Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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