Weirdest of 2015: The year’s biggest ‘whoops’ moments

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Apple fanatics got up to some strange stuff in 2015.
We all made a lot of mistakes this year.
Image: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 We aren’t going to pretend we’re perfect, but that doesn’t mean we have no appreciation for the mistakes of others. They make us feel better about our own glaring flaws, and they also make for some good fodder for “weirdest of 2015” news roundups.

This year, we saw some really impressive corporate blunders as well as some head-slapping moments from Apple fans.

Corporations are dumb sometimes

Android peeing on apple
Look, that could be a natural formation.

Google Maps set itself the small task of creating an accurate representation of the entire surface of the planet. Understandably, it has quite a few people working on that task, including users. And if you think you can trust a bunch of people on the Internet not to make a dick joke, the company may have a position for you in its Hopeless Optimism department.

Someone — we don’t know who — thought it would be hilarious to suggest a series of “park” edits in an open space of Pakistan that, when executed, would create a picture of the Android logo peeing on an Apple logo. Only the culprit knows how long it was there, but Google didn’t catch it until the news broke in April. And now it probably has one person whose job it is to routinely scour the planet for remote, butt-shaped roads that weren’t there yesterday.

Pebble Watch
Here’s the life story of the Pebble Watch app for iOS.
Photo: Pebble

While Google’s wound wasn’t really self-inflicted, smartwatch maker Pebble wasn’t so lucky in 2015. The company started a social-media campaign to get the iOS app for its new Pebble Time fast-tracked so iPhone owners could, you know, use the devices they bought. The company claimed Apple was maliciously holding back its approval, and took to Twitter to ask fans to tell Cupertino to make things happen.

An examination of Pebble’s own submission logs, however, which it supplied in its blog post announcing the call-out, revealed that Apple had already approved the app. Pebble had then pulled it voluntarily to fix some bugs and resubmitted it, which put them at the back of the virtual line. The developers’ time would have been better spent fixing the bugs and patching the app after the release, but instead they decided to start a bogus tweetstorm over their own mistake.

Criminals are dumb most of the time

#1 rule of stealing iPads: don't upload a selfie after. Photo: TheSmokingGun
#1 rule of stealing iPads: don’t upload a selfie after. Photo: The Smoking Gun

Like every other year before or to come, 2015 was full of stories of dumbass criminals getting caught because their asses were so dumb.

As one example, we had the two geniuses who broke into a car and stole some cash and devices and then got a free visit from the police because the celebratory video they shot went to the iPad owner’s iCloud account. And then there was the double-idiot burglar who posted both the house where he was hiding from the police and his exact location in a cupboard on Snapchat. We also had that guy who made $43,000 exploiting Apple’s repair system and probably would have gotten away with it except for the fact that he was effectively laundering iPhones, and one of them ended up in the hands of another criminal.

Do we need to go on? Another burglar recorded his entire crime — including what he looks like — on the front-facing camera on the iPhone he’d just stolen. And let’s not forget that guy who smashed his damned truck into an Australian electronics store, unsuccessfully wrestled with the security device holding its demo iPad, and then absconded with an empty display box.

Don’t do crime, kids. The Internet will laugh at you.

Also, don’t get caught iLooking

Lawmaker watching videos
It’s not quite as bad as it looks.
Photo: on.cc

Apple likes to talk up how its products will become irreplaceable parts of your daily life. But a couple of users took that too far this year.

One of them, a Georgian chessmaster, made headlines after an investigation into his frequent bathroom breaks during a match at the Dubai Open revealed he’d stashed an iPod touch in a stall. And on that iPod touch, he was running a chess program that was feeding him his next moves. The tournament banned him, and he faced a 15-year ban and loss of his title of grandmaster.

In June, Hong Kong politician Wong Ting-kwon faced a similarly embarrassing situation when pictures revealed that he was looking at what appeared to be images of sexy women during a parliamentary debate. While things certainly look grim from the images above, some eagle-eyed readers pointed out that Wong was merely watching the below video of amazing pool trick shots (although the title still confirms sexiness). You can skip to 2:30 to see the one he was checking out in the photo.

Misguided fans

Jeb Bush Apple Watch
Yeah, that’s all the health care anyone needs.

We’ve already looked at how some Apple fans went too far this year, but some other tech enthusiasts elevated their love to ridiculous levels as well.

Back in May, for example, presidential candidate Jeb Bush declared that the Apple Watch would make the Affordable Care Act irrelevant.

“I think we should repeal Obamacare,” said Bush. “On this device in five years will be applications that will allow me to manage my healthcare in ways that, five years ago, were not even possible.”

We’re assuming Bush isn’t canceling his policy anytime soon, however.

And maybe he shouldn’t. Some non-presidential Apple Watch owners — as well as buyers of Fitbit fitness bands — took to the Internet to show off the hideously deformed wrists they’d suffered from their devices. While we don’t intend to blame any victims of real injury or malfunctioning hardware, we do think some cases might be related to users not being used to wearing things on their wrists.

That went out of fashion for most people since the introduction of phones with clocks on them, so it makes sense that one might forget that it’s important that you keep things clean and dry under there and not wear your devices too tight. And of course, some people might just be allergic to materials in the band or casing.

Finally, San Antonio Spurs center Matt Bonner had a pretty rough season, and he revealed in July that his year-ending case of tennis elbow might have been caused by the iPhone 6’s larger screen.

“Everybody is going to find this hilarious, but here’s my theory on how I got it,” Bonner said. “When the new iPhone came out, it was way bigger than the last one, and I think because I got that new phone it was a strain to use it, you have to stretch further to hit the buttons, and I honestly think that’s how I ended up developing [the injury].”

We can neither prove nor disprove Bonner’s claims about the screen jump and its effect on one’s major joints, but consider this: If you hadn’t embarrassingly gotten epicondylitis from overusing your phone, why would that be the best story to tell?

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