As Apple launched its iPhone 5 the world watched fans line up once more to get their hands on the newest must-have tech product. In its first weekend on the market, the iPhone 5 went home with 5 million customers — outselling iPhone 4S by 1 million sales. With a price tag of $199-$399, the highly sought after iPhone is expected “to buoy the weak economy” according to some tech and business analysts.
Those lucky customers who pocketed the lighter and sleeker iPhone also carried home Apple’s new operating system, iOS 6. Customers who weren’t ready to brave the lines and price tag of a new iPhone were able to download the operating system upgrade on launch day. Apple now reports over 100 million users of iOS 6.
Despite record breaking sales, both the iPhone 5 and iOS have some customers complaining that they picked a bad apple. While Apple touts their newcomers as their best products to date, many customers have taken to social media and other outlets to air their grievances. Some consumers have noted that the new phones seem less durable than older models. Durability fears include a more easily scratched surface and light-weight design that worries some clumsy Apple-ites. Also, since the iPhone 5 comes with a new connector port, some users have raised concerns relating to the phone’s compatibility with previously purchased Apple and Apple-friendly products. In smaller numbers, customers even reported touch screen defects, screen flickering, and light leaking from the iPhone, but such problems seem to be isolated. However, design issues aren’t the only complaints circling Apple’s new crop.
The world’s biggest criticism of the new products stems from iOS 6’s Maps application. Although previous Apple operating systems included a Maps app, in iOS 6, Apple overhauled Maps. The overhaul started with Apple’s split from Google, its previous partner in generating Maps data. The new app uses data from “Tom Tom, Yelp, and others” whose data doesn’t meet users’ high standards for Maps app perfection. Customers quickly noticed that “in many locations, [the app] appears to be missing accurate and up-to-date information. iOS 6 users have discovered numerous incorrect maps, showing farmland where there should be cities, incorrectly categorized businesses, misplaced landmarks and street addresses, and generally a lower level of detail than is found on Google’s maps.”
Due to overwhelming customer dissatisfaction, Apple issued a “rare apology” to customers. In an open letter, the company stressed that time — and customer use — will heal the app. But, some changes from the Google-based version are hard to forgive; gone are transit directions and street view images. Apple promises that its new Maps will eventually outpace previous versions, just as soon as Apple finishes building from the ground up. In the meantime? Apple suggests using a competitor’s map tool, leaving customers wondering if newer really is better.
Despite it all, customers continue to order new iPhones and download iOS 6 for their older models. With a backorder from the Apple Store pushing purchase shipments back three to four weeks, customers don’t seem too worried that their new Apple may come with some bugs.
* Claire Little is a second year law student at Wake Forest University School of Law. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Virginia Tech. Upon graduation, Ms. Little plans to pursue intellectual property law.