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From Apple Maps to iOS 8.0.1: This might be the unluckiest Apple employee ever

Published Sep 26th, 2014 12:54PM EDT
iOS 8.0.1 and Apple Maps Issues
Image: BGR

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It’s likely hard to assign fault for a botched software update to one person in a company as big as Apple, but a Bloomberg report seems to indicate that one of the same people responsible for the flawed 2012 Apple Maps rollout is also involved with the iOS 8.0.1 update that bricked iPhone 6 models earlier this week.

FROM EARLIER: After a bad rollout for iOS 8.0.1, Apple has released iOS 8.0.2

“The similarities [between the Apple Maps release and the iOS 8.0.1 update] don’t end with the apologies Apple offered to disgruntled customers,” the publication wrote. “The same person at Apple was in charge of catching problems before both products were released. Josh Williams, the mid-level manager overseeing quality assurance for Apple’s iOS mobile-software group, was also in charge of quality control for maps, according to people familiar with Apple’s management structure.”

Williams, who has been with the company since 2000, was removed from the Apple Maps team following its launch, but he remained in charge of iOS testing, an unnamed person familiar with the matter said.

With Apple Maps, Tim Cook personally apologized to users for the major issues the new Apple iOS application came with, as two people involved in the project quickly left the company, including iOS boss Scott Forstall and Richard Williamson, who was in charge of Apple Maps. Williams however, stayed on.

The publication says that 100 people around the world work for Williams, testing iOS versions before they’re publicly released. However, the iOS 8.0.1 bugs were not caught in time, and Apple had to pull the update shortly after releasing it a few days ago.

Bloomberg further reveals other reasons that might explain such unexpected problems, such as “turf wars” among teams inside Apple that can lead to botched software releases, but also Tim Cook’s decision to restrict access to new iPhones before their launch to senior managers, likely to avoid iPhone 4-like leaks.

The report also says that Apple is constantly looking for bugs, with known low-priority issues being fixed only in updates following the release of a new iOS version even if they’re discovered before new products are launched, as the company needs a few weeks to install a final iOS release version on upcoming devices.

Apple has not commented on the report, so it’s not clear to what degree Williams is to blame for the iOS 8.0.1 debacle. For what is worth though, Apple was quick to pull the update, release iOS 8 rollback instructions, and come up with a definitive fix.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.