Apple’s Bad Week

Apple has millions of fans, and they gladly pay a lot more for Apple products than they’d likely pay for products from competing companies.

Of course, one of the many explanations we’ve heard for this over the years is that people like Apple’s reliability.  “It just works,” people would say.

Well, lately, that hasn’t been the case, and Apple has had a number of well-publicized software problems across a number of their platforms in the past couple of weeks.

mac os high sierraAn amusing one is the 1+2+3 bug in the iPhone’s calculator software.  if you pressed in “1+2+3” quickly, the calculator would give you the answer of “24,” which most of us know is not the correct answer to that particular problem.

Apple has fixed that, but it’s a reminder as to why we should have been paying attention in math class back when we were in junior high school.

The calculator problem is, as software problems go, a relatively minor one.  A more serious problem had to do with the Mac OS High Sierra operating system.

Someone discovered that you could obtain root access to computers running that OS by simply logging in as “root” without entering a password.

apple iosSince logging in as “root” basically lets you do anything you want on the computer, that’s not a good thing, as anyone could log in as root and delete your stuff, copy your data or pretty much do whatever they wanted.

Not a problem; Apple quickly issued a software patch to fix that root login problem, thus making it impossible to login as root without a password.  Unfortunately, the fix for the root login program apparently broke file sharing for a number of users.

“Not to worry,” Apple said.  “We’ll fix that.”  Fix that they did, and they quickly issued a fix for that particular file sharing problem.

Unfortunately, the fix for the file sharing problem restored the root login problem.

Meanwhile, over on the iPhone, a number of users started seeing their phones crash at exactly 12:15 AM.  Apple fixed that problem by issuing a major update to the iOS to 11.2, which also fixed a few other minor problems.

This major update wasn’t due immediately, but was rush-released to fix the crashing problems.  This means that there are likely other problems yet to be revealed in the iOS as millions of people begin installing this not-entirely-tested version of the operating system.

Part of the appeal of Apple products is that they’re monolithic; they’re largely the work of one company, so everything is supposed to work well and in harmony.

Lately, that hasn’t been the case, and lots of people are finding that they’ve paid a lot of money for the convenience of having a computer or phone that “just works,” only to find out that it doesn’t always “just work.”

The folks who make Android-powered devices are likely having a few laughs at Apple’s expense this week.

It remains to be seen what problems are going to arise from the latest Apple software updates, but rest assured, you’ll be reading about them soon enough.