Mar 13, 2015

    'Internal error' led to Apple's online outage


    APPLE'S iTunes and App Store came back online early yesterday morning (Singapore time) after an unusually long service disruption that the company blamed on an internal technical error.

    The rare 12-hour outage affected customers worldwide, including those in Singapore, Australia, Britain and France.

    The Next Web, an international technology news site, said it had reports of the outage affecting more than 40 countries.

    The tech giant's status page showed that the App Store, iTunes, iBooks store and Mac App store went down from 9am GMT (5pm Singapore time) on Wednesday and were offline until around 8.30pm GMT (4.30am Singapore time).

    Apple's iCloud and mail services were also down, but appeared to have been restored after around four hours, according to the status page.

    Apple said its iCloud Mail and iCloud Account & Sign In were affected until about 1pm GMT (9pm Singapore time).

    Other services such as FaceTime, messaging and Apple TV did not appear to be affected.

    After the outage struck, users took to Twitter to vent their frustration at being unable to access the popular mobile apps store and online content service, using hashtags such as #itunesdown and #appstoresdown.

    Apple support forums included complaints from users around the world, including the Netherlands and Iceland, who were unable to install or update apps.

    The company attributed the outage to an internal Domain Name System error, referring to the system which locates Internet addresses.

    The App Store and iTunes are a source of pride for the world's largest tech company and form the centrepiece of its mobile user experience.

    It's also a rich source of revenue for the Cupertino, California company, which takes a cut of app downloads and paid content including music and videos.

    Revenue from services, which encompasses everything from iTunes and the App Store to licensing, amounted to almost US$4.8 billion (S$6.6 billion) in its fiscal first quarter, or more than 6 per cent of overall sales.

    Shares of Apple, which apologised to users publicly, closed 1.8 per cent lower at US$122.24 on Wednesday.

    The outage came just days after Apple's highly anticipated unveiling of the Apple Watch, its entry into the fast-expanding wearable devices sphere. The Apple Store website was shut briefly on Monday, a customary practice ahead of a major event.

    A similar outage occurred in early September, according to

    "Service outages happen from time to time and we view this as a very minor event," FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives told Reuters.