Apple's reputation as a savvy mobile
-technology provider has been tarnished in recent days as the iconic device maker has struggled to address problems with the new iPhone 5.
For example, many iPhone 5 users complained for several days last week about a bug that caused their handsets to download huge amounts of data over Verizon's cellular network even though their devices were parked at Wi-Fi hot spots.
"I did absolutely zero streaming [and] sat on Wi-Fi all day long except for about 40 minutes in the car, where I listened to a pre-downloaded podcast," one Verizon subscriber wrote in an Apple discussion board post. "I still used 30 MB of cell data [which] means I'll be 1 GB in the hole over a month, before I've actually done anything useful on LTE."
Other discussion board users posted equally suspicious data overages.
"My iPhone 5 said that I had used 1.5 GB of data between 6:22 PM and 6:32 PM last night while I was listening to an already downloaded podcast," another Verizon subscriber wrote.
On Friday Apple issued a carrier settings upgrade to fix the problem and Verizon told media outlets that its iPhone 5 users would not be charged for the data overages. However, Verizon subscribers who have already purchased an iPhone 5 will need to perform a manual upgrade for which Apple has posted a step-by-step set of instructions on an iPhone 5 support page.
Performing a Manual Upgrade
An unrelated problem also temporarily shut down Apple's iTunes and App Stores on Sunday. A glitch in the new terms and conditions form that all site users must accept had prevented anyone from making app purchases or upgrading their existing mobile apps.
Users attempting to make software purchases repeatedly clicked to accept the new terms but were nevertheless unable to enter either online store. Apple reportedly fixed the problem early Monday morning.
Still, there is no solution in sight for Apple's clumsy replacement for Google Maps. Apple CEO Tim Cook has already apologized to customers for the poor performance of Apple's not-ready-for-prime-time mapping software for computing devices powered by iOS.
According to Al Hilwa, director of application development software research at IDC, Apple is doing the right thing by weaning itself off of Google services, and expects Apple to continue to do that in every other respect.
"However, clearly they could have done this more incrementally from the onset," Hilwa told us Monday.
An Opening for Nokia
We asked Hilwa whether Apple mapping woes would end up providing Apple's handset rival Nokia with a marketing edge when its first Windows Phone 8 units take their inaugural bows. In his opinion, mapping is probably the most essential service for mobile devices after broadband.
"It is key for applications that characterize the entire new era of mobility," Hilwa said. "The technology gap with the iPhone opens a two to three year window for other platforms -- and especially for Nokia Maps to make inroads."
Applications on the iPhone will be at a disadvantage until and unless Apple's mapping software reaches parity with competing map services.
"Assuming WP8 devices come on the market in early November and barring any snafus, having Nokia maps is a huge advantage and should be one of the anchors of their marketing campaigns," Hilwa said.