It was not the first time the iPhone software had malfunctioned on a wide scale

Pat Kiernan, a morning anchor on NY1, the New York City cable news channel, is no stranger to alarm clock problems. That’s why he usually relies on several clocks, phones and other devices to wake him in time for his early newscasts.

That redundancy paid off for Mr. Kiernan on Saturday when his primary alarm, the one built into his Apple iPhone, failed to go off because of a programming error in the phone’s calendar software.

“Before I went to bed I set two iPhone alarms, and both completely failed to go off,” said Mr. Kiernan, adding that he uses the iPhone as his alarm clock when he travels. “Luckily I had an Android phone with me as a third backup alarm, and it woke me up in time for my news segment.”

Many people weren’t as lucky as Mr. Kiernan, voicing frustration online after they overslept on the first morning of the new year.

By Sunday morning thousands more people were posting angry missives about the iPhone problem on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, noting that they had missed a breakfast meeting or were running late for work or church.

At first, Nick Tapalansky, a writer who lives in Philadelphia, was convinced that he had set his alarm incorrectly, writing on Twitter : “iPhone alarm bug got me. Thought it was my mistake yesterday, yet woke up nearly 2-hours late today.”

Apple did not offer an explanation, but a spokeswoman, Natalie Harrison, acknowledged that the company was “aware of an issue related to nonrepeating alarms set for January 1 or 2.” She said all iPhone alarms would begin to work normally on Monday.

On a support page on Apple’s Web site, customers were told that a temporary fix to the problem was to set their alarm clock as a “recurring alarm” that goes off daily rather than as a one-time alarm.

It was unclear whether the error affected all models of the iPhone or only the latest version, iPhone 4. The technology blog Engadget said the error probably affected all customers with the latest iPhone 4 software.

It was not the first time the iPhone software had malfunctioned on a wide scale. In November, as daylight saving time ended and clocks were turned back an hour, iPhone owners in Europe complained that their alarm clocks went off an hour late, causing outrage online as people overslept.


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