iCantWatch: Apple under fire for botched unveiling event

iCantWatch: Apple under fire for botched unveiling event
All eyes were on Apple’s big unveiling on Tuesday — or at least that was the plan — but computer issues kept many people around the globe from watching a live broadcast of the Silicon Valley giant’s highly-anticipated product launch.

Apple fans wanting to watch Tuesday’s event as the new iPhone, a payment system and a high-tech wristwatch were debuted didn’t have all that easy of a time: social media users tweeted in protest when the livestream of the event provided for free on Apple’s website routinely lost signal or, for many people, didn’t load altogether.

Many of the would-be watchers attacked Apple for sharing a stream that was ripe with “hiccups,” as the Wall Street Journal put it mildly, but others were out of luck entirely if they wanted to watch the event on any browser not made by Apple: streaming the event required users to load the footage in only one web browser, Apple’s Safari, meaning most Windows and Android users were left scrambling for alternatives in order to catch the unveiling. According to a report conducted by W3Counter in late August, Safari is the browser of choice for only around 12.15 percent of web surfers — well behind Google’s Chrome, which carries a market share of around 25 percent — keeping more than just a couple people from catching the stream.

Even with hiccups and browser issues aside, however, other gadget geeks reported seeing not Apple CEO Tim Cook when they tried to tune into the broadcast, but instead a colorful message screen that advertised the day’s event but did nothing more.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (Reuters / Robert Galbraith)

“Perhaps Apple should have unveiled a new livestream,” Jeff Elder wrote for the Wall Street Journal during Tuesday’s event. According to his report, web surfers who did manage to catch the stream on Apple’s website — or at least part of it — complained of losing connection after a few minutes of watching.

Mark Nunnukohoven, the Ontario-based vice president of cloud and emerging technologies for Trend Micro, was one of many irate onlookers who didn’t miss a beat as the stream seemed to endlessly suffer from glitches and goof ups.

“Someone is getting fired,” he tweeted during one part of Tuesday’s doomed broadcast. “I wish I was joking.”

Other companies, however, tried to capitalize on the snafu, including restaurant chain Denny’s: as would-be stream watchers repeatedly complained about receiving either “Access Denied” warnings or the aforementioned multi-colored broadcast message, the diner repurposed the latter error message and tweeted it with the addition of new items like bacon, sausage and breakfast.

“It’s not the first time a hotly anticipated only event has been plagued by streaming problems,” John DuLing acknowledged on the Quartz.com tech website. “It’s happened to ESPN and HBO fairly recently. And yes, while it may reflects the huge demand among for consumers for information about the company’s new products, it’s still a bit of an embarrassment.”

Indeed, Apple’s largely disastrous day was reflected to a degree on Wall Street, where stock in the company dropped drastically and then spiked upward during the duration of the presentation before closing at nearly the same place as a day before by the end of trading on Tuesday — which is on par with the worst statistics seen by Apple in around three weeks’ time, according to The Wire.

On Forbes, contributor Brian Solomon remarked that Apple should have seen anything but bad numbers by the end of the day, especially after finally introducing its Watch product following years of anticipation.

“The long-rumored iWatch disappointed,” Solomon wrote. “Now named the ‘Apple Watch,’ the device looked like an extraordinary update on the standard watch — much more thought out than many rival products. But details remained sketchy, even after executives concluded the presentation with a performance by U2.”

If history has anything to say, then shares might stay not-so-stellar in the days and weeks to come. Citing past major Apple unveilings, Bespoke co-founder Paul Hickey wrote to clients that they should expect stocks to slip even further in the span ahead.

“More often than not, the stock has rallied in the month leading up to the event and declined in the one week and one month after the newest iteration was unveiled,” Hickey cautioned.