iOS 7: Here a Bug, There a Bug, Everywhere a Bug, Bug
Perhaps Apple is asking for trouble by rolling out its iOS updates to all users at once. While that generates a lot of excitement among fans who are eager to try out new features, it also means that the inevitable glitches in a new software rollout all hit at the same time. "Windows sits out in the open market for months and months to shake it out," noted Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney.
Apple has pledged to fix a bug in iOS 7 that has been plaguing some users, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The issue affects just a fraction of a percent of customers who use the system, Apple told the paper, promising a fix in an upcoming software update.
This will be the second fix since the iOS 7 was released Sept. 18. The first was issued Sept. 20 to resolve a problem with the iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner.
At least 16 iOS 7 problems have surfaced so far, including a bug that lets anyone bypass the iPhone's lockscreen, glitchy media controls, users receiving other people's messages or contacts, and complaints that the user interface causes motion sickness.
"Quantitatively, I can't tell you that this is a new record for bugs," ABI Research Senior Analyst Michael Morgan told MacNewsWorld, "but I will say this: Apple has opened the door for this to be a buggy release."
Apple did not respond to our request to comment for this story.
Gotta Get a Message to You
Users have been complaining about the problem with iMessage since June, when the beta was released to registered iOS developers.
User Kjt822 complained about iMessage to the Apple Support Communities on June 3.
On July 21, user BarnYard_63 told the Apple Support Communities that some addressees were not getting iMessages and that Apple Support had denied there was a problem with iMessage.
In the ensuing discussion, BarnYard_63 pointed out that angry users had sent 323,000 tweets about iMessage not working in the previous two days. On Aug. 5, the user said Apple had continued to deny there was a problem.
"I would say iOS 7 is buggier than 6 or 5, but that is just an impression and not an empirically based judgment," Andrew Jaquith, chief technology officer at SilverSky, told MacNewsWorld.
Cupertino, We Have a Problem
Perhaps iOS 7 is especially buggy because Apple was trying to do too much at one time.
New OS releases "are always going to be buggy, but Apple did a lot of big things at once, and they were under time pressure to deliver -- so it's entirely possible that they didn't do quality checks as thoroughly as they could," ABI's Morgan said.
"Normally [Apple] adds a few new features, maybe they add in a Siri, and that's your ordinary update," Morgan explained. "This time you have feature tweaks, a hardware-based fingerprint scanner, the switch to 64-bit processing, and the whole new UI design paradigm."
Apple's release process is also to blame, Ken Dulaney, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, told MacNewsWorld.
"The real criticism is the way they test out the OS," Dulaney said. "Windows sits out in the open market for months and months to shake it out; Apple keeps [iOS] under wraps with limited distribution."
Apple's practice of rolling out an update to everyone at once makes things worse, Morgan suggested. "Once they release a new piece of software, the whole user base is on it and it all happens at once, so all the problems happen to everybody at the same time."
The situation will probably get worse: "As iOS gets more complex -- as it inevitably will -- the process Apple uses will continue to be challenged to keep the introduction bugs at a minimum level," remarked Gartner's Dulaney.
Still, "it's just growing pains," Morgan said. "Most of the issues will be dealt with in the next few months."
About one-third of SilverSky's customers have upgraded their devices to iOS 7 "without too many issues," said Jaquith. "I would say that yes, it is up to snuff, but if you are affected by one of the issues, that won't be much comfort until Apple fixes them."