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Apple's Alarming Gaffe

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Somewhere out there, the three or four owners of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Zune are laughing.

A New Year's glitch hit Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone 4 over the weekend, as non-recurring alarms failed to go off. Apple claims that the problem should have been resolved today; in my wife's case, that was exactly what happened.

However, the iPhone 4 has now dealt the Cupertino titan a bit more embarrassment than usual. Between the stolen prototype, the antenna reception issues, and now the alarm snafu, is the popular handset cursed?

Consumer gadgetry can be a funny thing when calendars reset for a new year, but usually Mr. Softy's the butt of that joke. Does anyone remember the ultimately overblown Y2K fears?  And two years ago, Microsoft's 30GB Zune portable media players temporarily failed when 2008 handed the baton to 2009.

One can argue that a buggy alarm is no cause for -- ummm -- alarm. If a wake-up reminder should ever fail, it's probably perfect timing to have it falter during New Year's Day, when most revelers are sleeping in.

The rub for Apple is that this is a company that sells its products at a premium. It's held to a higher standard. If more iPhone 4-specific bugs creep out, consumers may not be so quick to line up to be early adopters when Apple rolls out the fifth generation later this year.

Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android continues to woo handset manufacturers. Research in Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) fleet of BlackBerry owners keeps growing. Apple doesn't necessarily need to look over its shoulder, but this is a wake-up call that -- unlike many iPhone 4 owners over the weekend -- it can't afford to miss.

Is the alarm gaffe no big deal? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a somewhat satisfied iPhone owner, but feels his next device will be an Android device. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2011, at 4:40 PM, hellomojo wrote:

    Minor glitch.... Despite what 'themillerman' says( I actually think he must be a RIM manager) Apple still makes the best products with the best OS. Well worth the price you pay. And even if you don't care for Apple products, don't be "Foolish"... buy Apple stock and enjoy your profits.

  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2011, at 4:50 PM, alittlesanity wrote:

    An alarm didn't go off on New Years Day? And then was fixed a day later? OMG, this is the end of the world. I'm going to dump all of my Apple stock, power off all of my Apple products and put em all up for sale on craigslist, except for my iPhone 4, for which I'll demand a full refund due to this "alarming gaffe". Ridiculous.

    Apple's products are so lousy that iPhone still outsells every other phone on the market, and other companies desperately try to copy every Apple product (albeit a year or two late).

  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2011, at 4:58 PM, rgardner101 wrote:

    Mine worked just fine

  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2011, at 9:08 PM, Julianoli wrote:

    Just to clarify, the issue with the clock app not ringing at alarm times extends to the 3GS as well, as long as they are running iOS4 and above.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2011, at 10:15 AM, dexter1225 wrote:

    @previous posters:

    I think the take-away here is that Apple can and does have the same programming glitches that MSFT had 2 years ago with Zune hardwares. And even though we all put AAPL on a pedestal, they can be affected by the same internal clock issues as any other device manufacturer.

    Just my $.02

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2011, at 12:30 PM, CMFMikenpdx wrote:

    funny. i can recognize a munarriz article just by the headline.

    that said, is anyone ready to trade in their iphone because of this?? this is a non-event.

    apple is on its way to $400+ in 2011.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2011, at 3:15 PM, StockTradingFool wrote:

    Looks like most of the comments here have missed the point... the question is not about the severity of Apple's alarm bug. The question is, how did it get past Apple's testing group prior to release? Which leads to the next set of questions: what other things have gotten past them, and can we assume that those issues are as insignificant as this one?

    While individual consumers might choose to blow off Apple's antenna snafu and this alarm problem as minor glitches, corporate IT officers who must decide whether to equip their workforce with Apple, Android, or RIMM units don't have that luxury. They have to be confident that the equipment will perform reliably for their users no matter where or when it's needed. If they have questions about Apple's reliability, they'll opt for one of the others.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2011, at 2:24 AM, lowmaple wrote:

    if your worried about a HUGE apple gaffe then write some puts then buy apple stock if itdoes drop precipitously an d make twice the money(at least)

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