Monday, January 3, 2011

iPhone Alarm Problem Brings Ailing U.S. Economy to Standstill

SAN NARCISO, Calif. -- A bug discovered in Apple iPhones and iPod Touch devices kept alarms from sounding, while archaic analog clocks continued to ring in 2011 without viruses or disruptions. Apple advised that the glitch would correct itself by Monday, January 3, but consumer groups have reported persistent problems. As a result, millions of Americans failed to wake up over the last three days, causing an unprecedented number of unexcused absences in businesses across the country. Even worse, attendance for New Year’s Day bowl games and parades fell to historic lows, crippling the already embattled economy.

This is not the first incident involving iPhone alarm problems. In November, when daylight savings time switched back to standard, iPhone and iPod Touch alarms in Europe went off an hour later. And in September, the same bug rattled users in Australia and New Zealand from sleep an hour earlier.

Some users say they’ve fixed their problems by resetting their alarms or just restarting their phones, but the bulk of Apple customers claim they have never performed these functions. One exasperated Bennington Vale resident said, “It’s an Apple. Isn’t it supposed to do all this stuff on its own? I don’t know how to turn the phone off and then back on again. Apple doesn’t provide instructions. They say it’s intuitive, that I should just press the button. What [expletive deleted] button? I hit every button on the screen, but I only end up activating songs or video games. If I press the main button too many times, it opens a search feature. Now it’s going to the Voice Control system. What the hell?”

Because the alarms failed to sound, millions of people missed work, football games and the Tournament of Roses parade. Employers were beside themselves. In many cases, entire companies were forced to shut down for the weekend.

“We have no workers to operate and no customers to serve,” decried one manager at an area fast food restaurant.

Advertisers who make the lion’s share of their annual profits during bowl games and the Rose Parade found their balance sheets bleeding red.

Said one parade organizer, “We’ve been fielding irate calls from Outback Steakhouse and Frito Lay all weekend. ‘Nobody’s watching the damn television,’ they keep telling us. ‘We’re hemorrhaging cash we don’t have.’ We didn’t know why until we saw the reports from Apple. Then we understood. America slept through New Year.”

Apple technicians are feverishly working on a fix, but no updates have been forthcoming. The ensuing economic standstill has resulted in billions of lost revenues, prompting President Obama to call an emergency session of Congress to draft a new stimulus plan. With jobless rates holding steady at over nine percent, and with the impact of the recession still taking its toll, the effect of the iPhone alarm problem could plunge the country further into fiscal decline.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, whom critics often portray as overly glib, promised to offer a real solution to customers, not just excuses about the fallibility of technology.

Jobs told reporters at this morning’s press briefing, “We’re taking a page from time-honored technologies that have been proven to weather storms such as these, and we’re incorporating those elements into our fix. As it now stands, we’re adding to the inner workings of the problematic devices. Each unit will be fitted with an elaborate set of miniature cogs, sprockets, weighted pendulums and counterweights. A microscopic chime assembly with little bells will also be implemented. When a user sets his or her alarm, the phone should ring at the appropriate time without fail. However, users will need to remember to wind the phone each night, using a small knob we’re installing just below the volume controls. We’ll be replacing all affected iPhones and iPod Touch models at no charge to the customer. Sometime this week, Apple will be issuing instructions on how to return the units for repair.”

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