The iPhone Alarm That Didn't Ring

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2011 has ushered in a troubling trend: iPhone users the world over are oversleeping, missing flights and trains, and arriving late at work, foiled by alarm clocks on their phones that refuse to sound. The programming error is affecting non-repeating alarms set for the first days of January.

The malfunction unleashed a deluge of commentary on Twitter and Facebook and, three days in, continues to spawn priceless tweets like "Steve Jobs was set to hold a press conference on iPhone alarm glitch, but he overslept" (The Borowitz Report) or "iPhone alarm glitch makes angry birds even angrier" (The Daily Show). How are others responding?

  • 'The Y2K10 Bug,' The Economist's Babbage blog names the malfunction. Babbage begins with a personal anecdote: "In your correspondent's slumbering household in Tokyo this morning, three iPhone alarm clocks failed to go off--all set early because two visiting friends needed to catch the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto." But he soon pivots to the bigger picture:

2010 was a great year for Apple. The Financial Times ended it by naming Steve Jobs, Apple's founder and chief executive, its Person of the Year. Let’s hope the company's technicians were not celebrating too hard [on New Year's Eve] ... Here's a possible New Year's resolution: rely less on the iPhone.

  • How Could This Happen? asks Ernie Smith at ShortFormBlog, whose "internal clock" woke him up at 9 a.m. "Isn't this something you might test when you're building your Jesus-phone?" he asks.
  • Inconvenient for Most, Disastrous for Some  The Consumerist tells the story of one couple that missed a fertility treatment deadline and wasted thousands of dollars and a month of injections, while The Huffington Post shares a letter a reader wrote to Steve Jobs after a late arrival to work on New Year's day cost her a job. "Mr. Jobs, I'd like to let you know that you have officially, directly contributed to unemployment in 2011," the reader wrote.
  • What's an iPhone User to Do?  Mashable highlights five free iPhone alarm clocks that "actually work," while Engadget recommends setting a recurring alarm "while gently crossing your fingers and toes" or buying "a battery-powered alarm clock off of your grandmother."
  • How Long Until the Next Problem? wonders Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica, who recalls a similar iPhone alarm bug when Daylight Savings Time ended in November. "This is the second iOS alarm problem to expose itself in two months. When will the next one strike, and will iPhone users ever be able to trust their phones to wake them up on time? You know how the saying goes: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..."
  • Don't Laugh, Droid Users, says Megan Seling at The Stranger, perhaps a tad defensively. "You're not safe either," she proclaims, pointing to a report about a virus infecting mobile phones with Google's Android operating system in China.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.