Apple reportedly pulled its latest watchOS update after some users said it left their Apple Watch devices useless.
WatchOS 3.1.1, which was released Monday, was pulled one day later after some owners reported their devices had been bricked by the update, MacRumors and other outlets reported. Not all Apple Watches were bricked by the update, but some devices displayed a red exclamation point on the screen telling them to visit Apple’s website for help.
Users took to Reddit to discuss problems with the update, and Apple confirmed to Cnet that it had pulled the software push after receiving complaints. The company said it is working to address the problems in an upcoming update.
The software glitch is yet another stumbling block for Apple in a segment that continues to founder. Apple is the leading vendor in a worldwide smartwatch market that has fallen flat, according to IDC, although the the company insists sales of the Apple Watch are stronger than ever. The market research firm reported this week that the overall wearables market grew 3.1 percent year over year in the third quarter, but fitness bands – not smartwatches – drove that growth.
Fitbit shipped 5.3 million units to lead the market with a 23 percent share, seeing 11 percent growth, followed in order by Xiaomi and Garmin. Apple claimed a mere 4.9 percent of the wearables market as Apple Watch shipments plummeted 71 percent, IDC estimated, although the company still owned 41 percent of the smartwatch market.
Apple CEO insisted in an email to Reuters last week that sales of the company’s second-generation Apple Watch were “off the charts,” however, noting that the device recently saw a record-breaking quarter.
Regardless, the smartwatch industry is clearly struggling to live up to a significant amount of hype, and developers and vendors have yet to come up with devices consumers find truly valuable. And it may take a few more years before they do so.
“Smart wearables have been down in recent quarters, but clearly not out,” IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas said recently in a prepared statement. “As user tastes change, so will their needs. That’s the opportunity for smart wearables with multi-functionality and third-party applications, both for consumers and business users. To get there, we need to see more intuitive user interfaces, seamless user experiences, standalone connectivity, and applications that go beyond health and fitness and into personal and professional productivity.”