Tech giant Apple has been experiencing some negative press after releasing their new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iOS 8. It seems that there are daily anecdotes of iOS users having problems using the new version of iOS on their older phones. On top of this, there have been reports of iPhone 6 units bending, which is widely being called ‘BendGate’ on the internet. These events have critics asking if Apple was a bit rushed in releasing these new products. Apple claims that there is “nothing to worry about” and that only nine customers have contacted them to complain about the problem. However, the news of the bending phones have become one of the largest pieces of technology news this week, with videos of iPhone bending, mockery, and tweets from other popular smartphone manufacturers.
This situation reminds me of the mass recall of the Force fitness band by Fitbit back in February. There are serious issues with the product, and the manufacturer is claiming that a miniscule percentage of users are experiencing the problem. It’s my guess that there are probably more than 9 people with bent iPhones. It will be interesting to see if that number will grow, and what Apple will do if this becomes a larger issue than it currently is. A recall of an entire line of fitness bracelets is and ordeal in itself. Imagine recalling 10 Million+ iPhones. The fortunate thing for Apple is that a bending phone does not harm anyone—health wise (think of those poor feelings of people who spent that much money for a bent phone!).
Releasing software that isn’t quite perfect isn’t exactly a new thing, but releasing new Android and iOS software and smartphones being released every year is a bit overwhelming for the average mobile user. It happens pretty frequently that older hardware cannot support the demands of the new software, which puts pressure on people to buy a brand new device quite quickly. ‘Onward and upward’ has always been the direction of high tech firms, and that’s a good thing. If not for a push towards better, faster, and bigger we would all still be using Windows 3.1 on that dusty computer in the back of your closet. So change is good, but is there an acceptable time frame for the change itself? Is it really fair to expect your customers to upgrade every year? Imagine budgeting $600/year for the next installment of your favourite smartphone; and yet, some people do. People break contracts, and pay early upgrade fees just to have that fast new smartphone.
iOS users are going through this pressure right now with multiple reports of a laggy iOS 8 on their older iPhones. But we’re all victims of the same game. We’ve all been perfectly happy with a device, and then wanted something more. It happens a lot in the mobile and PC world. Both Mac and PC users have been able to keep their computers for a few years, and hold off from having to dole out hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for a new unit. But processing power and new software creates the need for a newer computer. Maybe not as frequently as with smartphones, but will that change? The rhythm of every other year upgrades certainly helps boost the revenue of these companies, so why not try to incorporate that culture into PCs? Maybe we’ll see 2 year payment plans for new computers become a popular thing. I hope not.