Are iPhone OS update glitches spurring defections of the Apple faithful? If recent reports involving poor battery life, a surprise — and controversial — fix for Microsoft Exchange encryption and Wi-Fi glitches are believed, that might be the case.
Owners of Apple’s iPhone who upgraded recently to the new operating system version 3.1 are flooding the company’s forums with reports that battery life is severely diminished after updating to the new OS.
While complaints of limited battery life for the iPhone aren’t new, close to 400 posts are at the Apple Support discussion board on the issue of battery drain after a very short period of use.
The iPhone blog is reporting that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is addressing the issue by having its AppleCare help-desk staff contact some owners. Apple is reportedly issuing a list of 11 follow-up questions that relate to the matter.
Apple is also offering a battery-life logger, through a download, that iPhone owners can employ to gather information about the power source’s performance. The goal is to have the logger sync with iTunes so the data can be sent to Apple for further evaluation.
The news comes at a time when another OS 3.1 update involving the older 3G model is surfacing, without much action on the part of Apple, leading some iPhone owners to believe it has seriously compromised its credibility in the enterprise.
Apple did not return calls seeking comment by press time.
The Exchange glitch
The OS 3.1 update glitch for the 3G being discussed among iPhone owners relates to a flaw that the update fixed regarding support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, which is used by many corporations to manage e-mail, calendar items and contacts.
Exchange 2007 only communicates with devices that have encryption embedded into the hardware, which iPhones older than the 3GS do not have. However, those older phones had used a workaround that involved posing as devices that did have that encryption.
The uprgrade from OS 3.0 to 3.1 ceased the older models’ attempts to misidentify themselves — essentially locking out those who had previously received corporate e-mail.
Wrankled iPhone owners are abuzz over why Apple did not inform users of the fix.
“In my mind the fundamental failure at Apple in this situation is the apparent lack of any effort to help its enterprise customers manage this change. I would have made more sense to me if they had informed their customers three months ago that this change was coming with 3.1, and given them time to understand the issues, make a decision about how they want to handle it, and inform their users of the coming change. Leaving customers to discover the issue via error messages, failed services, and no way to back out of the situation for those who upgraded leaves one with the impression that Apple is fundamentally unprepared to play in the enterprise market,” writes one forum member.
Next page: Yanking a feature
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Others feel that Apple has betrayed them by yanking a feature that they have come to rely upon for doing business.
“They sold a product that was advertised to work with Exchange, now it does not. Either Apple needs to fix the software within the 3G, buy back my 3G, or offer me a discount to purchase a 3GS. Bottom line. Apple is at a crossroad. If they do right by me I will continue to be a customer, if not, I’m gone. That simple,” states another post on the topic.
Also noteworthy is that Apple is involved in a tussle with Palm over that company’s decision to have the Palm Pre incorrectly identify itself as an iPod to sync with iTunes.
In that spat, Apple keeps updating the iTunes software to block the ability of the Palm Pre to be recognized as an iPod so it can sync with iTunes, but Palm keeps updating its webOS with workarounds.
Meanwhile, the Exchange encryption veiling and the battery life drain are not the first snags iPhone users are experiencing in regard to OS updates. Owners of the older model, the iPhone 3G, similarly complained in the Apple forums that Wi-Fi wasn’t working consistently after they updated to OS 3.0.
Many speculated that the issue would be resolved once 3.1 was out, but posts at that forum show iPhone 3G owners remain disgruntled over the matter, citing the failure of 3.1 to fix the problem and failure on Apple’s part to formally respond or address it.
“My Wi-Fi went out about two weeks ago (on 3.0). At first, kept disconnecting, and reconnecting if restarted, but soon went to a permanently grayed out no Wi-Fi in the settings. As 3.1 was coming I waited and installed it. It made no difference,” is one recent representative post.
While some cry foul over Apple’s failure to correct snafus in the older 3G, some angry users are threatening to defect.
Writes one irritated user on the Wi-Fi topic,
“I’ve spent months on this issue, reading every post but nothing has worked. So I’ve just decided to wait until my iPhone is completely dead and then buy an Android phone. I was planning to buy a Mac Mini but I will never buy an Apple product again, this is absolutely ridiculous! My iPhone died after updating with an official apple 3.0 ‘update!’ And they won’t even admit it!”