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iPhone OS Updates Rotting Apple's Image?

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.

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