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.