Apple has apologised to owners of its newest iPhones as it released a software patch to fix a problem that left them unable to make or receive calls.
The issue was caused by an earlier update to its iOS 8 mobile operating system released on Wednesday and the tech giant had scrambled to fix the glitch, releasing an update late yesterday that it claimed would resolve the issue.
Apple has also had to defend its iPhone 6 Plus against social media reports that its extra-large shell is vulnerable to bending, saying bending "is extremely rare" with normal use of an iPhone and that just nine customers had contacted the company to report a bent iPhone 6 Plus since they went on sale despite a record 10 million sales of the new models in the first weekend.
But the firm was contrite about the iOS issue, having previously vowed to work "around the clock" to fix it, saying: "We apologise for inconveniencing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users who were impacted by the bug in iOS 8.0.1.”
The company reported this week that nearly half of all iPhone and iPad users had upgraded to the new operating system, which contains a number of new features and is more complex than earlier versions of iOS, according to analysts.
Apple released the 8.0.1 update on Wednesday to fix some flaws that were detected after iOS 8 was released – only to find the 8.0.1 update created problems of its own such as interference with calling and with a feature that lets people unlock their phones with their fingerprint.
Tech analyst Ross Rubin said this was not uncommon and that all major companies have had updates that have had to be pulled due to unforeseen side-effects. On the bending issue, he said the iPhone 6 Plus was "a large, thin device. That's not to say customers should treat it gingerly, but it's still an electronic product and it's an investment, and it should be treated as such".
The company faced a similar challenge in 2010 when it was slow to acknowledge complaints about poor reception and dropped calls that affected new iPhone 4 models with then-CEO Steve Jobs initially suggesting users just needed to hold the phone differently.
The company eventually offered a fix for the problem, but chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel Carolina Milanesi said the company’s reputation suffered more damage then than it would now.
"There wasn't any of that this time," she said. “They came out and said, 'We apologise; we're working 24/7 to fix it'. I think that's what matters."