Another Apple cock-up bites the dust. Craig Grannell wishes bad Apple journalism would too
Most of the Calendar appointments I get are rather mundane: reminders from my wife that we have a dental appointment; something about taking the dog to the vet; a hint that it might be a good idea a week Friday to pick up the in-laws from the airport, rather than leave them stranded at Gatwick’s South Terminal. (Believe me, that is never a good start to a visit). Recently, though, I was rather surprisingly sent an appointment that suggested I buy a pair of ‘Ray Bans‘ for “only $19.99”. That seemed pretty cheap; perhaps it’s the hyphen in real Ray-Bans that’s the expensive bit.
It was only the latest of – well, if not many, then certainly 'some' dodgy invites. Every now and again, I’ve been getting them, usually from a sender with a distinctly Chinese name. It’s irritating and irksome, and, you might be thinking, I should just delete them. The tiny snag is that Apple didn’t think to include such an option.
When responding to a Calendar notification, there are buttons for Maybe, Decline and Accept. There’s no Delete or Spam or Rain Down Hellfire On This Massively Annoying Buffoon. So you can either leave the notification lingering like a bad smell in Calendar or decline, thereby alerting the spamming spammer of spamville that the address they were using is active.
Only, that’s not entirely true. You can instead jump through some hoops. You can nip on to iCloud.com (although only on a Mac or PC, mind, not an iOS device) and click a few settings to set event requests to be sent as emails rather than notifications (for reasons known only to Apple engineers – and perhaps not even them – this is not a preference setting in the Calendar app itself). You then have to go through a convoluted routine of creating a new calendar, moving the spammy invites to said calendar and then deleting the calendar, hoping all the badness goes with it.
At this point you might be asking why Apple’s so rubbish at dealing with this kind of thing. What we got was silence, followed by rumours Apple was looking into the problem, and then a brief apology and note that Apple was doubling down on weeding out dodgy senders – weeks after people first started complaining. Which suggests Apple is, well, normal. Human. Not staffed entirely by timetravelling magicians.
And that’s the crux of it, when it comes to writing about Apple. You can begin a page of text like this seeking to slam the firm and shake your fist in the air, as if it will somehow make good everything that is wrong with the world that happens to be encased in some metal with an Apple logo emblazoned on it. Or you can, in sunnier times, praise the company to the high heavens about something amazing (and plenty of genuinely amazing things have come from Cupertino, from the original iMac through to ResearchKit), as if somehow the entire tech industry will turn on a dime and become better – and that even includes Apple itself.
Perhaps the event technology journalists should put in their own calendars is one that starts today and continues until the end of time. It should read: think a bit more; write a little less; and stop considering that every little thing that happens within sight of an Apple logo is the worst tech disaster in history or the single best tech thing that’s ever been seen. Even if either of those things does somehow happen to involve something to do with suspiciously affordable knock-off sunglasses from the Far East. Craig Grannell Craig @craiggrannell
I don’t think so, Spammy McSpamface. *click* Goodbye