Friday, September 26, 2014

A Few Biz To Take Care Of - Puzzled about 8.0.1 Release and Overblown Bending Issues

I'll make this quick.  I got the iPhone 6 Plus:  space gray, 128 GB.  I took my first photo with it today that was worth posting onto Eyeem (I abandoned my Instagram account).  I have some early thoughts about it but I'll get into my own review at a later time.  First, a couple of items today that are iPhone related.

First, iOS 8.0.1 was a mess if you don't already know. It bricked the cell connection and made its iconic TouchID useable for new iPhone 6 users.  So, Apple issued 8.0.2 quicker than I expected.  Supposedly it fixed that.  I'm using it now and it seems fine.  I care more about TouchID and it works just as before.  

What I find puzzling is how Apple could have released 8.0.1 thinking it was ready for primetime.  I assumed this to be Apple's testing sequence.

  1. They installed iOS 8.0.1 on all qualified iOS devices.  By that, I mean any device that can run iOS 8.  They installed it and rebooted them.
  2. Then they made sure everything is working.  Wi-Fi, cell, multi-touch, Touch ID on the 5S, 6, and 6 Plus.  All working, right?  I'm sure there is a battery of tests they conduct to make sure it was working fine.  
  3. They might make some adjustments here and there.
  4. Then someone, I assume to be a manager or managers, signed off on it.
  5. Release it to the public.

So, somewhere in there, someone dropped the ball?  Maybe TouchID wasn't tested?  I find that unlikely just as unlikely is that all those brilliant Apple engineers who tested 8.0.1 did not make one sign call or attempted to collected to a cell service.  

I'm sure more industrious journalists or bloggers will do the leg work and get to the bottom of that.  

Anyway, it's all good now.  8.0.2 is working fine as far as I can tell.  

Now, the fiasco that may or may not be real regarding the iPhone 6 Plus bending.  While the media has made it out to be a big deal out of it, it has largely been defused on a number of levels.  Having learned from Antenna-gate (we Americans love our "gates"), Tim Cook and his PR team got in front of the potential brush fire and started to build backfires to keep it from spreading.  

In the past, Apple under Steve Jobs would not respond for days or weeks.  That Steve Jobs had to called a press event to address the antenna issue in the iPhone 4 was just stupid but he did it and Apple is better for it having learn that valuable lesson.  A lesson that was applied to what could have been an ugly "gate" over iPhone 6 Plus bending merely by putting in someone's jean pocket.  

Short story, as media reports about iPhone 6 Plus' bending, someone released a Youtube video (which some claim to have been faked) showing him bending the iPhone 6 Plus along with competing flagship mobile devices from Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola.  Never mind that it was the bending tests conducted on these phones was not scientific, but the dude, you can't really fault him, got his few minutes of fame and further inflamed the Android-iOS religious war.  

What Apple did next was to invite selected journalists to visit its testing facilities where an assortment of Apple products, including the iPhone 6 Plus, was put through various torture tests (The Verge via Appleinsider).  Of course, not everyone was satisfied.

So, up stepped Consumer Reports with its own tests.  First, a bit about on the history between Apple and Consumer Reports.  CR was one of the leading media outfits that was leading the charge against Apple over the iPhone 4 antenna issue. So there is no love between the two.  If you're in the middle like I am or are anti-Apple, you have to assume that CR will be at least impartial in their bending tests of the iPhone 6 Plus.

So, what they did find?  Well, according to Apple, they have only 9 documented complaints over the 6 Plus bending and Apple made sure to test the heck out of the new iPhones.  Well, CR seemed to agree and more.  In fact, CR found that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can withstand more pressure than even Apple claims.  Furthermore, the bigger iPhone 6 Plus which the Youtube guy, in his unscientific bending tests, claim to bend more easily than the smaller iPhone 6, is actually stronger than the iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6 Plus withstood 20 pounds more pressure than the iPhone 6 before any deformity to the case was witnessed and ten pounds more pressure before the cases cracked.  

In the Youtuber's video, he found the HTC M8 to be quite strong.  One of the strongest as a matter of fact.  What did CR find?  The HTC M8 was weakest of the lot.  Besting the iPhone 6's was the LG G3, iPhone 5 (I question why didn't they use the iPhone 5S), and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.  

I have no theory as to whether the youtuber did anything improper.  I can only say that the media is always hungry for eyeballs and, in this quest, have managed to embarrassed themselves and does nothing to make themselves accountable when they make a mistake.  We'll see over the next few days whether of the mainstream media publish retractions or at the very least acknowledge the Consumer Report tests.

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