Apple Thursday acknowledged a bug in its iPhone software update that caused users to lose cellular service, offering a temporary fix and a full update “in the next few days.”
A statement on Apple’s website was the first to acknowledge the problem, which came after numerous users complained on social media and online forums that the iOS 8.0.1 update left their phones largely inoperable.
The update was developed to add in fitness monitoring programs which were omitted from the iOS 8 platform released last week.
The Apple website acknowledged that the latest update, which was pulled shortly after its release Wednesday, caused a loss of cellular service and the touch identification which allows users to operate their phones with a fingerprint ID.
“We have a workaround for you if you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and you lost cellular service and Touch ID functionality today after updating to iOS 8.0.1,” Apple said.
The temporary fix allows users to reinstall iOS 8 through iTunes.
“We are also preparing iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue, and will release it as soon as it’s ready in the next few days,” Apple added.
In a statement to some media outlets, Apple said, “We apologize for the great inconvenience experienced by users, and are working around the clock to prepare iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue.”
The news caused further embarrassment to Apple after some users posted comments about bends in the bodies of the oversize iPhone 6 Plus when carried in trouser pockets.
On the MacRumors forum of Apple users, one iPhone buyer noted that, after carrying the handset in a front pocket for 18 hours, “I saw the reflection of the window in the iPhones slightly distorted.”
The user posted a picture of the bent iPhone, and dozens posted similar complaints on Twitter, using the hashtag #BendGate.
Apple shares meanwhile tumbled 3.4 percent to $98.24 on the news, amid concerns the problems could hurt sales of the hugely profitable iPhones.
“It’s certainly a black eye for Apple,” said Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.
Kay said the software glitch “is not a major problem, they can fix that” in a short period of time.
More serious, said Kay is the whether Apple’s new “phablet” will be viewed as too fragile for some buyers.
“The bending problem is baked into the design of the phone, so its something they can’t just fix,” Kay told AFP. “They’re committed to this design.”
Kay said Apple may have to respond in some manner if it gets more complaints, but won’t be able to quickly redesign the handset.
The analyst said Apple may offer some compensation to buyers or it may take a “hardball” approach by saying “you’re not supposed to abuse your phone or sit on your phone, you’re supposed to treat it like a piece of electronics.”
Apple said Monday it sold more than 10 million of the new smartphones in the first three days since launching in a handful of countries, setting a new record for opening weekend sales.
The new iPhones were launched Friday in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico and Singapore.
They will be available in more than 20 additional countries on September 26, and 115 countries by the end of the year.
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