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The Biggest Tech Fails Of 2019

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The march of progress continues ever onward, but it’s not always smooth. Our tech overlords definitely let their reach exceed their grasp in 2019, as just about every major company had a goof-up or two this year that saw stock prices drop.

Whether it be a result of faulty hardware, clueless business practices, or incompetent leadership, there were plenty of screw-ups to choose from as we compiled this list. These are our completely subjective picks for the worst tech fails of 2019.

AirPower

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One of the most infuriating things about being an Apple fan is their continual changing of power inputs over device generations, making cords obsolete for seemingly no reason. However, it looked like the company was working to address this issue with AirPower, a wireless mat that was designed to power Qi-based devices including iPhones, Apple Watches, and AirPods. They advertised it as being able to charge multiple devices at once, let charging devices display the battery level of all items using the AirPower mat, and more, but the company wasn’t able to make their 2018 launch date due to hardware failures. In March, the company announced that they would be suspending the project.

Stadia

Photo Credit: Google

Getting into the gaming market seemed like a no-brainer for Google. It’s one of the biggest segments of the computing space, and there’s plenty of cash to be made. But the company’s streaming platform launched with so many perplexing decisions, it’s almost inspirational. With a launch lineup consisting almost entirely of games we’ve been playing for a year, a technical pipeline that required uninterrupted high-speed internet to play anything, and a business model that required you to purchase games anew for the Stadia even if you already owned them – and no guarantee you’ll be able to play them if Google shuts the service down – it all seemed doomed from the start.

Tardigrades on the Moon

Photo Credit: ROYALTYSTOCKPHOTO / Getty Images

We launch all sorts of things into space to study the effects of low gravity and high radiation on them. But when an Israeli lunar lander crash-landed on the moon with a shipment of tardigrades, it might represent the first major interplanetary contamination in human history.

Also known as “water bears,” these microscopic creatures are nature’s most dedicated survivalists, capable of placing themselves into a hibernatory state to live without moisture and even oxygen for incredibly long periods of time. While we commend Israel’s attempt to establish a space program, this was not a terribly auspicious way to put a foot on the moon.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

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The phone market gets tighter and more competitive every year, and companies are constantly trying to come up with new gimmicks to tantalize users. Early in the year, it looked like Samsung was going to be first to post with a highly-anticipated advance: a folding screen, flexible enough to bend in half but tough enough to survive daily use.

Then sample models got mailed out to the press, and we weren’t impressed. They broke, the screen lamination came off, and the hinge area was easy to gunk up. Samsung, to their credit, went back to the drawing board to re-engineer the device, but it certainly wasn’t the debut they were hoping for.

Windows Update Nightmares

Photo Credit: David Ramos / Getty Images

The modern model of software as a service mandates constant change to installs. And that introduces lots of variables into the equation. Microsoft had a tremendously difficult year with Windows 10, as seemingly every update the company pushed borked something or other.

In May, updates failed to install if users had any USB devices plugged into their machines, for some reason. Later that same month, another update tinted screens orange until users updated their graphics card drivers. September’s update disabled the Start menu. It was just a never-ending cavalcade of Windows issues.

Boeing’s Autopilot

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Most of the failures on this list had pretty minor consequences in the long term. Companies lost money, consumers were upset, the usual. But Boeing’s multiple autopilot failures on their 737 Max jets had very real, very human costs that might just topple one of the biggest aircraft manufacturers in the U.S.

European regulators began flagging problems with the software in July, leading to the grounding of over 380 Max planes delivered to customers. The controversy over the Maneuvering Control Augmentation System routine, which forces planes to nosedive due to a bug, has resulted in the ouster of CEO Dennis Muilenburg and many industry observers are wondering if Boeing will ever recover.

Apple Card

Photo Credit: Apple

Credit is one of the greatest tricks the devil ever played on capitalism, an infuriatingly opaque series of algorithms and numbers that control your whole life. So when Apple, a company that has long played fast and loose with the rules, got into the credit business it wasn’t long before things went extremely haywire.

The sleek, featureless Apple Card looked cool, but there was sexist bias baked right into the business model, with one tech pioneer noting that it issued him a credit line twenty times higher than his wife, even though all of their assets were joint property. It was a harsh reminder that algorithms are made by people and share the biases we bring to the table.

MoviePass

Photo Credit: Google Play Store

One of the most upsetting aspects of the new tech economy is how “disruptive” startups survive with venture capital backing just long enough to eradicate competitors before collapsing and taking a market segment down with them. Uber losing money on every ride is the platonic example, but 2019 saw a very spectacular case with the rise and fall of MoviePass.

To consumers, it was a bargain – see as many films as you want in participating theaters for one monthly subscription price. But the company quickly ran out of cash to support its offerings, leading to it first drastically cutting back on films before folding entirely in September.

Capital One Data Breach

(Photo Credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Security is a constantly-shifting target for tech companies, and the most desirable targets for hackers are financial institutions. March saw a hacker gain access to credit card applications for a whopping 109 million customers from 2005 to early 2019.

This was a major breach, as names, addresses, bank account, and even Social Security numbers were exposed. The company tracked the breach down to a firewall misconfiguration that allowed hackers to get admin access to bank data stored in Amazon’s cloud services. In July, the FBI arrested Page A. Thompson, claiming that she was the mastermind behind the breach based on intercepted messages.

Huawei’s Global Crisis

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The Chinese mobile phone giant ships more hardware than Apple, but their global domination was stymied on a number of fronts as Huawei struggled with privacy issues and bad P.R. all year. The U.S. government has long been concerned that Huawei technology could be used by the Chinese government to spy on citizens, and this spring, the company was placed on the Entity List, restricting American firms from supplying them with parts. Throw in the arrest of a company executive for spying in Poland earlier this year, the extradition struggle of CFO Meng Wanzhou (arrested in Canada at the end of last year on charges of skirting sanctions in Iran) and more, and Huawei is beset from all sides going into 2020.

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In Apple Watch, releasing in 2014, violated a patent issued in 2019

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In April 2018 , the company Omni MedSci went to court, accusing Apple of violating patents related to the technology of measuring heart rate in smart watches Apple Watch.

В часах Apple Watch, выпускаемых с 2014 года, нарушен патент, выданный в 2019 году

This week the company Omni MedSci filed another lawsuit against Apple in Northern California, which refers to a new patent obtained Omni MedSci 31 December 2019. It is believed that this patent will strengthen the position of the plaintiff. We will remind, the first model of the Apple Watch was introduced in late 2014 and went on sale in spring next year.

According to the company, Omni MedSci, from 2014 through 2016, she collaborated with Apple, and even provided the appropriate technologies, but at some point Apple refused further cooperation and did not license the patents to Omni MedSci. The application for the above mentioned patent was filed in 2016.

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The first Apple Macintosh computer was exactly 36 years ago

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Today marks exactly 36 years since the day when the legendary co-founder and CEO of Apple Steve jobs (Steve Jobs) unveiled the first Macintosh computer.

Первый компьютер Apple Macintosh был представлен ровно 36 лет назад

By today’s standards, system specifications sound quite modest. It was built on the Motorola 68000 processor working at a frequency of 8 MHz, the disposal of which had 128 KB of RAM. The disk subsystem was represented by a disc drive, designed for diskettes of 3,5 inches. All the components of computers were placed in the common tank with a monitor on a monochrome CRT with a size of 9 inches. This machine cost 2495 dollars.

Apple Macintosh emphasis was placed on ease of use, due to the presence of a GUI and mouse. The subsequent history of the industry showed that the rate for this factor is fully justified.

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For Macintosh was followed by other models in the lineup, then Apple switched to the PowerPC and later Intel. Now a family of personal computers included the Apple laptops, mini PC, PC monoblock layout and workstations.

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On iPhone 11 had 69% of sales of smartphones Apple in the United States in the last quarter

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The Apple is one of the most popular products during the Christmas season, especially since the manufacturer with this is a new model in the beginning of the fourth quarter. According to estimates CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners), 69% of iPhones sold in the US in the fourth quarter of 2019, were models of the last generation.

The iPhone model 11 was the most popular — it accounted for 39% of sales, while iPhone and iPhone 11 Pro 11 Pro Max is 15%. Interestingly, in model iPhone XS Max, in turn, greatly surpassed the iPhone XS. The source suggests that many iPhone owners X in the last quarter switched to an iPhone 11 Pro.

На iPhone 11 пришлось 69% продаж смартфонов Apple в США в минувшем квартале

Considering that after the release of a trio of iPhone 11 the price of the iPhone XR was reduced to $ 599, it continued to sell well this year, accounting for about 18% of total iPhone sales in this quarter.

На iPhone 11 пришлось 69% продаж смартфонов Apple в США в минувшем квартале

Since Apple ceased to publish official statistics on iPhone sales, CIRP uses its own data to calculate the average sales price. According to these calculations the average value in the fourth quarter, equal to 809 USD. For comparison: in the previous quarter the average price was equal to 783 dollars, and a year ago — 839 dollars.

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