Vote now for Epic Fail of the year [2011 TiPb Awards]

It seems as though there was an embarrassment of embarrassments to choose from this year. Apple chose not to release new iPod touch or Apple TV (so far) hardware this year. Granted neither has much competition but Apple's mantra has always been to compete with themselves. Likewise the iPhone 4S didn't get a hardware update even as competing devices have seriously upped the handset game.

Privacy also took a swift, hard roshambo in the rights this year as everything from Apple's poorly coded location recording system to Google, Facebook, and Twitter being forced into decade, or double decade privacy oversight, to lack of disclosure surrounding Carrier IQ making headline. On the flip side, the media earned more than their usual share of fail points for once again never missing a chance to linkbait and headline grab at Apple's expense.

Netflix decided to take one the most successful, most loved brands in modern media and jack up the prices without proper PR, then split the company into Qwikster, then not split the company, then... we got lost. Instead of making streaming more solid and reliable -- and available internationally -- they spun in circles. Twitter likewise decided that poor communications, creating unease and distrust among developers, the #dickbar, and now the #dickapp re-design, and generally putting their user base last is something they're now big enough not to have to care about.

And then there were the patent problems -- Apple and Android makers suing each other, Lodsys suing independent developers, and generally everyone taking the tools of innovation and wielding them for consternation.

Vote up top and tell us why you voted they way you did in the comments! These are your awards, so get to it!

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Vote now for Epic Fail of the year [2011 TiPb Awards]


How can new redesign be a fail? THEY ARE SELLING RECORD NUMBERS! With everyone buying the IP4 at records rates, Apple made the smart move and bought themselves another 12 months to release a completely redesigned device. A fantastic business move and it completely worked. It may have dissapointing to some, but in now way was it a fail IMO. Netflix was a fail, not this

Netflix was definitely the fail of the year. I love my 4S and nothing about it has been a failure! Siri is great, and I actually like that they didn't redesign (because with every redesign comes the need to buy and make new accessories). I'm loving the bigger capacity (64g for me!) and the faster processor.
Yep, my vote goes to Netflix. What they did just reeks of bad customer service. We canceled instantly and still have not re-subscribed. Not sure if we will. I'm looking into other options.

If you include Netflix which doesn't have much to do with Apple, then you open it up to everyone. Even with Netflix's blunders, they'll ride that storm out. Likewise, no new iphone redesign can't be a fail. Apple pulled a Siri out of its hat.
How can you not include HP in this list?

Not sure how you can call no iPhone redesign a failure, the iPhone 4S is selling pretty darn well so how did they fail? That’s just my two cents.

I know what you meant, but considering that 4S is a hardware update (of internals) of 4 - this is a bit confusing ;-)

Still, it's 3rd party.
My list would include:

  1. No siri on iphone 4.
  2. Wanting 30% of subscriptions
  3. Horrible updates for apple tv
  4. Limited icloud mgmt.
  5. Terrible maps app. No voice turn by turn.
  6. No facetime over 3g
  7. Newstand
  8. Can't stream itunes match
  9. Still can't attach anything from email app
  10. Told a fib about battery life. Now it's a bug instead.

Solid list. I'd only:

  • add Apple crawling into bed with Digitude Innovations, a pure patent troll.
  • change "No siri on iPhone 4" to "made a beta product the focus of its marketing push" -- Apple needed to rollout of siri in stages, and fix/refine on public feedback, and limiting it to 4s only was a decent way to do that. The epic fail was making that the centerpiece of its 2011 message.

Rene (below)
More time would not have helped in this case; every Natural Language Processing scientist in the world advises that, even to approach getting right, you need data, data, and more data -- more, and more varied, than anybody, even Apple, could be expected to produce internally. Either Apple did not realize this, or they felt they were talented enough to solve the problem without those dump trucks worth of data (at least enough of it to make it their primary marketing focus). Clueless or hubris, as it were.
Either way, the mistake was not in Siri's technology -- I think they did a pretty nice job, all things considered -- but in not recognizing the above, and consequently not having something else in their back pocket to emphasize at launch. Clearly, their sales are not suffering much, but it would have been nice to let Siri mature without this mini-backlash it is now suffering.

Netflix is not Apple. Apple's decisions had/have no direct influence on Netflix nor the "Netflix meltdown" as you coined it. A REAL sixth option would be something like "No Siri on the bulk of iOS devices".
Next poll, "Which of these things does not belong?"

Including patent litigation, but no commentary at all on Apple's stocking of its very own patent troll?
That is by far the most disappointing move by Apple this year, and so, the epic fail.