Sascha Segan, writing at PCMag:

I think Apple did the right thing with the battery-life issue, but I’m frustrated by its lack of a public explanation for the Siri problems. […]

Unlike with a complex handset bug that needs lots of testing to verify, it’s relatively easy for Apple to know its servers are overloaded and issue some sort of quick statement, for instance: “The tremendous popularity of Siri has led to stress on our servers. We are adding capacity to resolve the problem, but for now, be aware the service is in beta.”

How would that make anything better for iPhone 4S users? What practical difference would it have made in anyone’s life if Apple had released a statement like that yesterday? It’s very unusual for Apple to release anything labeled “beta”, and even rarer for something labeled “beta” to be the focus of a major advertising campaign. “Beta” is no excuse for an outage — if you ship it and promote it, people should expect it to work — but it is an explanation. Until Apple removes the “beta” label, problems with Siri are explained, but not excused, by it being beta. Apple’s problem is that Siri went down, not that they aren’t talking about Siri going down.

Apple promotes its products as perfect objects produced by demigods.

No they don’t. It’s people in the news media, like Segan, who project such a message.

This marketing strategy is also why Apple’s bugs get so much more press than other companies’ bugs, by the way. When you promise perfection, any imperfection is news. When you call your products “revolutionary and magical,” that’s a high bar to set. Nobody else promises perfection quite to the extent Apple does.

My thesaurus does not list perfect as a synonym for either revolutionary or magical.

Update, 9 November 2011: Walter Isaacson’s bio reminded me of the following, from Steve Jobs, on stage during the 2010 “antennagate” press event: “We’re not perfect. Phones are not perfect. We all know that. But we want to make our users happy.”

Friday, 4 November 2011