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Careless and casual, what Do Not Disturb debacle tells us about Apple

Careless and casual, what Do Not Disturb debacle tells us about Apple

The timing couldn’t have been worse: An impressive new ad starring two of world tennis’s biggest stars in Serena and Venus Williams to promote the iPhone’s Do Not Disturb (DND) feature released on the same day that the aforementioned function simply stopped working. For Apple, 2013 could not have started in more embarrassing fashion.

Quite simply, the DND feature, which can be scheduled to switch off automatically so that iOS devices can receive messages and calls as normal, wouldn’t turn itself off. It meant users missing important calls and notifications.

Apple has form with January 1st bugs, after its alarm function failed two years ago and leaving people high and dry.

But what marks out DND is Apple’s response. As with its initial refusal to believe that issues with iOS Maps were anything more than minor niggle, Cupertino has taken a seriously casual approach to this latest problem.

Apple Maps devices

In a hard-to-find support posting on its website, the company said: “Do Not Disturb scheduling feature will resume normal functionality after January 7, 2013. Before this date, you should manually turn the Do Not Disturb feature on or off.”

Now, that’s a week after the problem surfaced and you can bet there’ll be plenty of users who won’t be aware of the problem.

Why no front-page information for those who have Apple’s website set as their homepage? Or even just a quick apology saying this is being looked into?

While this isn’t a major failing, the DND problem does give us an important insight into Apple in 2013. A company that has become the largest and most powerful in the tech sector, it seems to believe it can do no wrong.

The Maps apology came long after it should have and the handling of antennagate in 2010 was nothing short of a disaster.

There are few communication lines between the company and consumers, leaving many infuriated that any problems are either neglected or simply ignored.

lg nexus 4 large

This may be small-fry now, but things like this can ultimately affect consumer confidence. Just ask LG and Google after the supply failures of the Nexus 4.

What should have been fixed quickly has become something that is inextricably linked with the product.

Apple is still dominant, but competition is now stronger than ever. The fact it feels it can simply fix DND and forget it ever happened just shows how the company has let being casual become its default setting.

Years ago, Apple was renowned for such failings never happening at all. Carelessness seems to be creeping in. The question is, is it now endemic or can it be reversed?

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