Elon Musk uses iPhone email bug to illustrate the importance of software innovation

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Elon Musk claimed that one of Apple's recent iPhone updates had broken his email system during an on-stage interview at Satellite 2020, and has used it to demonstrate how properly functioning software is crucial to everyday life.

Elon Musk has used Apple's iPhone as an example as to why companies should recruit fresh talent to solve software-related issues. He claimed that the companies' recent updates have been less than reliable and that they had broken his email system.

"What I was referring to is that technology does not automatically improve," Musk said, according to Business Insider. "People are used to the phone being better every year. I'm an iPhone user, but I think some of the recent software updates have like been not great, certainly feeding into that point. It, like, broke my email system... which is quite fundamental."

iOS 13 was buggy at launch, which was hardly a surprise. One bug included an issue in Mail that would replace the name of whoever sent a message with the words "No Sender." Another caused AirDrop to work only sporadically.

It's not unusual for software bugs to pop up in software as it's released. Often, it takes a large number of people using the same software all at once for bugs to surface in the first place.

Musk's point wasn't that Apple is uniquely bad for releasing buggy software, but that companies in general often suffer from a lack of fresh blood. He claims that software decays over time, and will need to be actively maintained and improved by smart, innovative thinkers.

"There sure is a lot of software out there," Musk said. "And some of it's like, the people who wrote it are retired — or maybe dead. It's gonna be an issue."

By recruiting new talent, the tech industry might be able to solve software-related issues before general release. They also may be able to help retire old code bases in favor of creating newer, more stable ones.

Still, Musk has been known to take potshots at Apple in the past. In 2015, he claimed that Apple was where former employees go if they "don't make it" at Tesla.

"They have hired people we've fired," Musk said. "We always jokingly call Apple the 'Tesla Graveyard.' If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding."


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