It’s National Doughnut Day in the States today and in homage to our love for the fried, sugary, doughy goodness, we’ve decided to look at some of 2016’s biggest tech doughnuts (doughnut here meaning idiotic, not robot-themed doughnuts – sorry to disappoint). Dig in!
#5 the traditional glazed doughnut: Apple
Apple makes the list through sheer lack of common sense (or greed gone evil, whichever you prefer). After a pattern of familiar-feeling products, and with competitors closing the gap in smartphone development, Apple decided to unleash some innovation on its customers by, well, removing the headphone jack on its iPhone 7. To add insult to injury, Apple released its £159 wireless headphones (‘AirPods’) in December 2016, meaning that customers now get to pay extra for a competent smart phone whose headphones are inevitably going to get lost down the back of the sofa. Not to be complacent, Apple then went for the hat trick, creating a MacBook Pro with a lack of ports and ditching the low price of the smaller thirteen inch product usually associated with MacBook Air.
#4 the sprinkle doughnut: Facebook
It was a tough year for Facebook. First there was the investigative report by ProPublica that alleged Facebook allowed advertisers to target users based on criteria including race, then there was the glitch that resulted in several user accounts informing page visitors that they had died – then, to top it all off, Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp was met by controversy and fine threats when they started sharing user data between the applications (despite telling the EU this wasn’t possible as part of the approval process).
Many of these issues have since been resolved, but Facebook is still plagued by ‘fake news’ taunts levelled during the US presidential election and whether this could have affected the results. Examples of fake news stories consumed by millions of Facebook’s 1.7 billion plus user base have included Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump for president, Yoko Ono having an affair with Hillary Clinton in the ‘70s, Hilary Clinton using a body double during debates due to poor health and Donald Trump calling republicans the ‘dumbest group of voters in the country’. A BuzzFeed News analysis even found that in the three months before the election the top performing fake news stories generated more engagement than actual news . Now that’s worrying.
To prevent the spread of misinformation, Facebook has since partnered with third-party fact checkers including the Associated Press, Snopes, ABC News and PolitiFact to check and flag fake news with a ‘disputed’ tag. Facebook has also announced that it will be taking action against fake accounts, disrupting incentives and creating an educational tool to reduce the impact of fake news. The issues, however, are ongoing, as satirical news writers find themselves penalised and there is still debate regarding the overall efficacy of the initiative, with fake news articles circulating for weeks before being tagged. Still a long way to go, it seems.
#3 the filled doughnut: GoPro Karma
In a bid to be known as the go-to brand for action cameras, GoPro developed its Karma drone. With a Hero 5 camera, simple yet effective design and some great features, the GoPro Karma drone promised amazing things. That is, until it lost power during operation, threatening to bludgeon property, people and pets as it met its earth-bound demise. Some 2,500 Karma drones were recalled, with users receiving a full refund of c. $1,000. This one scores highly due to its life-threatening design.
#2 the household-chocolate-brand-meets-doughnut doughnut: Yahoo
In 2016 Yahoo announced a security breach of unprecedented scale dating back to two separate attacks in 2013 and 2014. Quite how the hacks remained undetected for three years is unclear, however we do know that one billion users were affected, 200 million Yahoo accounts were sold on the dark web and data including names, phone number, passwords, unencrypted security questions and answers and email addresses were stolen (but not bank and payment data). The fallout was a renegotiation of its acquisition by telecommunications company Verizon Communications; originally agreed at $4.8 billion, the deal is now set to close in the second-quarter of 2017with a $350 million price cut in tow. Ouch.
#1 the pretentious gourmet doughnut: Samsung
How could it be anything else? In 2016, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 7 – an innovative new smartphone with the intelligent design and functionality to rival tech giants Apple and Google. However, it was the Galaxy Note 7’s novel exploding potential that hit headlines last year.
Within one month of the Galaxy Note 7’s launch users began to complain of overheating issues, battery explosions, spontaneous combustion and in some cases third degree burns. The Galaxy Note 7 was literally too hot to handle, and Samsung was forced to recall 2.5 million devices. Samsung later released replacement units, but when the phones started showing the same defects (read: exploding) and were banned on airlines, Samsung was forced to discontinue the device indefinitely. With its reputation up in flames, the decision to take the Galaxy Note 7 off the production line would cost Samsung an estimated $9.5 billion in lost sales, $5.1 billion in profit up to 2017 and would do long-term damage to its market competitiveness. You can almost hear Google and Apple rubbing their hands together.
We all love a doughnut. And when you’re tucking into yours today – from powdered sugar through to never-should-have-been-a-doughnut green tea flavour – just think about how grateful you are to not be one of the doughnuts listed above. Personally, we hope this list is shorter for 2017 (but that the edible doughnuts remain bountiful). Happy eating!