Apple’s top lawyer suffers iPad Pro failure at worst possible time


Bruce Sewell
Apple's top lawyer went back to Congress today.
Photo: House Committee on the Judiciary Hearings

Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell suffered an iPad disaster during his appearance before the House Judiciary Committee today, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse moment.

As Sewell read his introductory statement from his iPad Pro, the Apple lawyer’s tablet appeared to crash or become unusable, forcing him to resort to his backup plan: a three-ring binder with good old paper printouts.

You can relive the incident in the video below:

It’s unclear from the GIF above what the malfunction actually was. Some folks on Twitter have guessed that maybe the iPad Pro’s auto-lock timer kicked on and Sewell didn’t want to enter his long passcode. Or maybe he just shouldn’t have trusted Microsoft Word.

The iPad Pro has quickly become a popular tablet among Apple execs. Tim Cook said he only takes the iPad Pro with him when traveling. Several execs were also spotted using it in a 60 Minutes video that showed Apple’s weekly leadership meeting.

Sewell spent Tuesday afternoon testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on the balance of privacy and security. FBI Director James Comey appeared before the committee this morning to give the bureau’s take on the legal battle that has pitted Apple against the FBI.

The high-stakes standoff over privacy gathered steam after a federal court ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, the shooter who killed 14 people last year in San Bernardino, California.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has staunchly refused to comply with the court order, saying that doing so would undermine the security built into every iPhone. Security advocates and many tech execs have taken Apple’s side in the controversy, while law enforcement officials, the remaining Republican presidential candidates and more than 50 percent of average Americans back the FBI’s position.

  • A-thought

    Regardless of whether this was a true failure or a passcode lock..why isn’t this story breaking all over the media like the surface NFL story did? That was a network issue, not a surface issue at all, but that didn’t stop dozens of online sites from “surface fails” type reporting trash. With this iPad pro issue, I’ve seen only two reports, and both give the benefit of the doubt that it was a likely a passcode lock.

    The Apple bias out there makes me naseous.

    • Fly Free

      Perhaps, and this is just an idea based on fact, that LESS people watch government and C-SPAN channels, etc and this is a ton less common than windows hardware rolling up its toes and blowing away. This isn’t the NFL, dude. The people who watch these re cerebral enough to know this is uncommon, etc.

      The Windows cognitive dissonance is strong with you.

      • A-thought

        What’s strong with me is the productivity beast that I get out of my Windows tablet that I never got out of my iPad. NFL gets it too, and it ticks some iLoyalists off no doubt; because when an issue arises that the NFL confirms is a network failure, still the reports and blogs, particularly from sites like this one, completely ignored the facts and ripped the surface device apart shamelessly. That was reality, you can’t wish it away.

        So in fact it is the iPad worship that is strong with you and sites like “cult” of Mac.

        Nice try though.

      • Storm

        Yeah, who would have thought that a site called ‘Cult of Mac’ would favour Apple products and bash Microsoft ones? It’s almost as if there’s a clue in the title.

      • Fly Free

        Thanks for your straw man and a large dose of fail. I have no iPad, nor do I want one or a copy.

        Apply cool water to the burn.

        Back to running with the herd for you. Oh, and fyi…might want to change your Disqus name. Thinking is not your strong suit.

      • A-thought

        Nice passive aggressive move to try and insult me, which is a clever way to cover the fact that you didn’t respond to my point at all. Which basically concedes it.
        Nice talking to you.

    • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

      Probably the bias is because there are so many Microsoft Surface breakdown problems. It’s big news when the Surface actually works the way it supposed to. The iPad Pro hasn’t been out all that long and this problem was probably due to some unstable Microsoft software product messing it up.

      • A-thought

        Cute. I suppose the iPad Pro not waking until you do a hard reset issue was Microsoft’s fault too. And the iPhone date input that completely bricks the phone is Microsoft too. And…

        For the record: over 2 years using a windows tablet, no more lockups than I had on my iPad, and productivity that leaves iPad in the dust. Of course you gotta pay for it though. Wjat I mean is.. It cost me $300 *less* than an equivalent iPad Air at the time. And the keyboard was included with it.

        [Queue red-faced iLoyalist harsh retort in 3..2..1..]

        Unless of course you’re not coming from a biased, ah, “Apple will break $130 soon”..

    • CapitaoPorrada

      Well, this site is called cult of mac, what the hell were you expecting? Unbiased reporting?

      • A-thought

        Nice to hear someone simply admit the obvious rather than hide behind ridiculous retorts and deflections.

        I had no expectations of this site..I simply stated a point. Appreciate you reinforcing that point – Apple bias is strong to the point of nausea.

        Have a good one.

    • Nicnacnic

      Because a billion people saw multiple Surface failures on live television…
      Not so many sat through the testimony in this article.

      • A-thought

        And… Thank you again for making my point.

        It was not a surface failure, it was a network cable failure. The NFL confirmed this and it has been affirmed that there’s not been a single surface device failure in use in the NFL yet. (Not that there won’t be, it’s a fallible piece of hardware.) but you, just like those other reporters, continue to shamelessly call them surface failures and willfully ignore the facts. Yet with the iPad pro, “it was likely a lockout, not a failure.”

        Hence my point, Nauseating bias.

        Thanks for helping out.

    • demigod79

      Probably because it wasn’t watched by millions of people. Also, we don’t know the exact nature of the failure, although by the way Sewell was frantically swiping the screen the iPad and/or the app probably locked up.

  • cheeto0

    Thats a 5 hour video, at what time did the incident occur?

    • BusterH

      The 2:02 mark. It automatically plays at that spot.

      • cheeto0

        I found it at 3:32:55

  • terryportis

    There are a couple of other explanations possible here (not that it wasn’t a technical issue). I have been involved in a number of board and committee presentations, including on the Hill. You are usually tweaking the presentation document right until you have to leave for the airport, with numerous people feeding you “stuff” to include or making small editing changes.

    An assistant who “owns” the document or PowerPoint prints what we call the final FINAL and you grab your stuff and go. I have gotten to a meeting and realized the official final is not what I have on my iPad. Shouldn’t happen in the day and age of shared documents, Dropbox, Basecamp, etc., but it does. So, the paper copy (usually in a notebook) is your backup. I’m not saying this is what happened, but it was my first thought when I saw this.

  • bIg hIlL

    The poll that suggested that 50% of average americans back the FBI’s position has just been proved to have been falsified bull-tonk.

    • Nicnacnic

      It’s easy to make a poll go exactly the way you want it to go. If you’re pro-feds on this topic, you word every question as if Apple supports terrorists or is anti-American. If you’re pro-Apple, you word every question as if the feds want to know what you’re chatting about with your mistress.

  • WolfB

    From my own experiences- either Word crashed or lost its licensing (happens more often than it should) or it was a Cloud document and WiFi probably sucks there. I wouldn’t rule out a Notes syncing issue either. I can’t see a passcode lock being a problem since the iPad Pro has TouchID.

  • jonen

    i wish someone who witnessed the issue could come forth and say if it was a technical issue or not.

  • Lynn World

    iPad Pro is great, but still I love the Macbook Pro, a solid Flos desk and a Lumiy Lightline lamp. =)

  • Billy Gate

    I wouldn’t bring a toy to work. iOS is that toy regardless of the product name.

    • Ralph L. Baer

      So why are you here? This is a cult or are you here for the tuna? No one likes the tuna here!!

    • terryportis

      iOS is a tool that I use everyday to get work accomplished. Myopic comment.

  • Fly Free

    Awww…happening so common it’s the only one you could find of an “increasingly published” article. Confirmation bias as well as cognitive dissonance.

    Now we’ll wait for him to put up more articles that aren’t simply self referencing one source….Get comfy, this is going to take a while.

    • Fly Free

      And you agree with him for the same thing you disagreed with me about. LOL

      Someone forgot their meds.

    • A-thought

      wow…SOMEONE’S been so Neck deep in the “cult” that they haven’t been reading the articles for the past 3-6 months..well keep believing whatever makes you feel better.

      • Fly Free

        But unable to supply more than one…?

        You do seems to like the taste of your own foot, huh? So did my kids…when they were 2.

      • A-thought

        Aww, you’re cute when you stamp your feet and insult the adults.

        But sorry, I’m not going to do your google searching for you. Just crawl out of your playpen and start reading, you’ll figure out what the rest of the world is saying.

      • Fly Free

        The refrain of those without a leg to stand on…”I’m not going to do your work for you.”

        Tell me, does being the dullest wit in the discussion come naturally to you or is it something you work on daily? I’m think you’re a Savant at Idiocy, but I could be wrong.

        You see, because adults, the real kind who actually discuss things rather than craft tirades like you’ve been doing to hide your lack of substance, know that the person who has to prove their point, in this case you, has to supply the evidence. Not doing so is showing you’re a petulant, uninformed, troll on multiple levels.

        Now, acting as if I was asking you for too specific of an amount of data would be called a Continuum Fallacy, but you see…I didn’t do that. Your claims there were MANY of said type of article. You did that, you can look at your own writing to see, I’m sure you can accomplish that small of a task as chimps find it easy. What you didn’t do was PROVE that. One link=/=many. Is that clear enough for you?

        I hope these phrases are short enough for you to understand this time, do forgive me if they aren’t.

        So now it’s clear enough even a mental midget like yourself gets it, you can either stop pushing the reality at us you’re uninformed by pushing your foot so far into your mouth the water on your knee is punching your thirst, and prove to us you’re at LEAST smart enough to have been being intellectually dishonest by supplying proof to your claims.

        So what’ll it be? Are you stupidly lazy, or lazily dishonest?

      • A-thought

        I have posted two replies containing around 8 links from multiple sources. It remains to be seen if cult of Mac will approve the posts. Posting this just in case they don’t, so it doesn’t appear as if I haven’t responded.

        If the posts don’t appear, I’d be happy to email them to you.

        Sad that I have to do it to appease an attack artist, rather than you just typing in “iPad pro vs surface pro” or even “iPad pro review” in Google or YouTube and finding the same stuff I’m sending. Just goes to show how far someone will go when they don’t want to face the facts.

      • A-thought

        I have replied 3 times with links and descriptions to around 8 articles/YouTube reviews from multiple sources. But those posts keep going into moderation and disappearing. It may be that cultofmac needs more time to review them due to the content referencing other sites. I do hope they’re not censoring them out. That would certainly be ridiculous.

        Please watch for those replies. If they don’t post, I would be happy to email you the links.