We’ve already covered the best, most life-affirming mobile tech stories of 2014, including Tinder for dogs, news that we’ll soon be charging our smartphone in seconds instead of hours, and our run-down of the best apps for Will and Kate’s unborn fetus. But there were plenty of head-slapping, bewildering and frankly ridiculous stories in 2014 too, and here’s our run-down of the biggest…
Man buys 99 iPhones to propose to girlfriend…and it doesn’t end well
Being rejected in any situation is never nice, but having your lover reject you after spunking a shedload of cash on them makes it that little more painful. The fact that the man at the heart of this first story chose to use up all of his savings to buy 99 iPhone 6 handsets and then use them to set up an elaborate public declaration of his intentions only exacerbated the fallout which ensued when his ‘beloved’ told him to jog on.
£51,000 spent and the bloke was left looking like a plonker. And, yes, we do feel sorry for him but we can’t help thinking he was a bit of a plum in the first place.
Charging your phone might be making you fatter
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about, with rampaging public spending cuts, problems in the Middle East and the ongoing decision to play Glen Johnson (if you’re a Liverpool fan at least), now you’ve got to consider what charging your mobile beside your bed might end up doing to your waistline.
A team of researchers at a Spanish university reckon that charging your phone beside your bed could be making you fatter. Apparently, the light given off by your device as it juices up could disrupt your precious sleep and inhibit melatonin production, the hormone which helps you process food while you rest.
While we love science and stuff, we can’t help thinking that the nights out on the ale and late-night kebabs might be more responsible for our burgeoning bellies than a little light blinking on our bedstands – but what do we know, right? We just play with phones for a living.
First ever iPhone 6 owner drops device live on camera
“Only the Germans have a word like Schadenfreude!” used to be the universal call of the xenophobe, before decency took over and, you know, someone pointed out the word epicaricacy to them. But taking a teeny bit of a giggle at someone else’s misfortune is a universal thing and one which a lot of people felt when they saw this story.
Picture it: the world’s first iPhone 6, bought by a young man in Perth, Australia. The device glistens as it’s taken out of its packaging before an expectant group of shoppers and gathered journalists…only to be dropped promptly to the floor with a butt-clenching smack.
Luckily for the young man in question, the device didn’t appear to have any visible damage (which is frankly stunning for an iPhone), but that didn’t stop the crowd, and any subsequent viewers of the now-very-popular video, from cringing pretty hard.
Apple foists U2 onto its customers. Customers rebel.
Usually, people relish the idea of being given free stuff…unless its U2’s latest album apparently.
iOS users were outraged to find that Apple had forced the latest LP from the sanctimonious Irish chuckleheads to their devices without their permission and began hammering Apple’s forums when it turned out that the album couldn’t be easily removed.
After the issue got worldwide media coverage Apple bowed to the pressure and gave users a tool with which to remove the offending material, and we also got the year’s most cringe-inducing apology from Bono too.
Phones4U dies, and then refuses to honour iPhone 6 pre-orders
It was sad and shocking news when UK retailer Phones 4U went into administration this year, but the surprising closure also had a knock-on effect on customers who had pre-ordered the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Hapless Apple fans were told there would be no phone and no refund, which understandably caused quite a lot of consternation.
Thankfully Carphone Warehouse and EE swooped in, sensing a PR coup de grâce, and offered to honour the reneged upon pre-orders for all those affected. But the story left a few questions unanswered regarding retail regulations and the apparent lack of protection for consumers.
iOS 8 launches, is bobbins
September saw the launch of iOS 8, alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and despite the demonstrations which made it look great, it turned out to be a half-baked pain in the arse. Upon installing it users were beset by problems such as badly diminished battery life, issues with Wi-Fi, sluggish performance and a lot more to boot. And what’s more, the issues weren’t confined to older, seemingly obsolete devices.
The Web was awash with complaints and Apple actually pulled the update, before pushing out a fix pretty quickly. That would have been fine had the fix not knocked off cellular connections for a bunch of other customers and given them a whole raft of new problems.
Take two went better though, and most people got their devices back. It took a while longer for users of older hardware, such as the iPhone 4s and iPad 2, to get a functioning device though, but updates eventually made things usable again.
Apple’s track-record of releasing new and improved software isn’t great, with so-called teething troubles expected as a matter of course, but maybe (just maybe) this latest farce might make them spend a little longer testing their stuff and little less time talking about how splendiferous it is.
Siri turns snitch
One of the more macabre stories of the year involved a man who was convicted of murder based on his conversations with Siri, Apple’s digital PA. After killing his ex’s new love interest, Pedro Bravo decided to make Siri his unwilling accomplice, asking how to dispose of the body. His plan backfired however, and after police seized his device, they were able to pull up records of his voice searches and incriminate him further. They also managed to track his movements on the dates in question from his phone’s GPS.
What’s the moral of this story? Well, don’t murder people, really, and certainly don’t ask Siri to help out if you do.
The Barclays Premier League tries to ban Vines of goals
As if the Premier League doesn’t make itself unpopular enough by allowing prohibitive ticket prices, restricting match viewing and generally sapping as much joy out of the beautiful game as it can, this year saw them attempt to ban supporters from shooting Vine clips of goals, which have become a staple for sharing the latest strikes across social media. Unfortunately for them, the European Court already ruled two years ago that sport cannot be copyrighted so threats of prosecution are tenuous at best, but we still wouldn’t put it past them to try it.
Nokia makes its last (ever?) phone
One of the sadder stories of the year was that Nokia, the Finnish mobile manufacturer, announced that it would no longer be producing phones. The company’s phone arm was bought and absorbed by Microsoft, who continue to use the Lumia brand, but memories of the build quality which made Nokia one of the biggest names in mobile manufacture will remain just that. Never again shall there be a device as hard-wearing and battery-friendly as the trusty old Nokia 5110.
The NSA is watching you
Just to end the year on a ‘crap your pants’ kinda note, Edward Snowden leaked the story that his former NSA bros are monitoring location data from over 5 billion mobile devices across the planet – as well as a bunch of other information which should be personal.
Need to go for a pee? The NSA knows all about it. Need to pop up Waitrose to grab some teabags? Yep, they know about that too.
To add to people’s overall feeling of helplessness and violation, it emerged that much of the 27 terabytes of data they’d drift-netted in was useless to them, because they didn’t have the resources to process it. Even if they did though, only around 1% would be useful to them, according to security experts!
Still want a new mobile phone for Christmas, or shall we all just use the leftover foil from the turkey to make ourselves a spangly new hat instead?