It does not happen every day that Apple releases a patch against the clock to fix a serious security problem.
This week it came to light that its latest operating system, MacOS High Sierra, allowed access to the computer without the need to use any type of password.
You only had to write the word “root” as the user name, leave the space where the key is placed in blank and press the Enter key several times.
It is an embarrassing slip and Apple users are not accustomed to failing their products, which are often classified as much more reliable and safe than those of their rivals.
In fact, the firm admitted that it was wrong with the launch of High Sierra.
“We greatly regret this error and apologize to all Mac users for launching (the new operating system) with this vulnerability and the concerns it has caused. Our clients deserve something better, “the company said in a statement.
“We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.”
But that last mistake is not an isolated case.
One failure after another
Last month, Apple had to release a patch for another password problem related to a problem in High Sierra.
Some users discovered that when they asked the software for a clue, it revealed the full password.
High Sierra seems to be failing to give users access, but there were also problems with iOS, the software that iPhones and iPads use.
Earlier this month, some iPhone users expressed their frustration on social media for an error that caused the letter “i” inexplicably: it was corrected automatically by the letter “a” and a question mark.
Again, Apple hastened to fix things.
However, these cases left some questions in the air about whether the firm had lowered its quality standards.
“The quality of Apple’s business execution is declining,” says Neil Mawston of the British consultancy Strategy Analytics.
Mawston says the company is becoming “more prone” to production failures.
As a result, Mawston believes that Apple’s reputation for delivering a premium quality reliability product could be at risk.
Looking for errors
Cybersecurity expert Alan Woodward, of the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, agrees with Mawston.
“Undoubtedly, there is a growing perception that quality control is not up to the level it should be,” he explains.
“I use Apple products because of the level of encryption and because of the attention paid to the applications in their online store. There used to be this kind of mistakes. ”
He also points out that while Apple used to be a niche brand designed for the most knowledgeable in the computer world, today is a real giant.
And that makes the devices it manufactures are increasingly attractive to hackers, who often look for vulnerabilities in the most popular systems, where they have more opportunities to cheat more people or steal data.
“People are looking for faults … and there are,” says Woodward.
But maybe that increase in popularity has changed the way we perceive Apple’s software errors, suggests Ian Fogg, of the computer multinational IHS Technology.
Apple will process the shipment of 88 million iPhones this quarter, along with millions of iPads and Macs, explains the specialist.
“And at that scale, a problem that affects even a small number of people in percentage terms, actually affects many people in absolute terms; that is the problem that Apple faces “.
The company should still be considered a provider of high-quality devices, he says, adding that there are also security issues with Google and Microsoft products.
“And when they release a patch to fix an iPhone problem, they do it very quickly,” says Fogg.
In contrast, Android phones are not so easy for Google to update en masse because there is a wide range of versions, so only the phones manufactured by Google itself receive the most important improvements immediately.
Fogg also says that the iPhone error that caused the letter “i” is especially interesting because it seems to be the result of a wrong machine learning process.
Automatic processes will become more common in software development, says Fogg, since they are capable of accelerating the completion of the product.
But giving power to the algorithms has its negative side.
“It is very difficult for companies to know if it will work as well as it learns,” he adds.
The main issue is that perceptions are important and that Apple should manage these quality control issues as soon as possible, says Ben Wood of CCS Insight.
“Apple has built its business around a reputation for high quality, ease of use and optimal s