Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc. today hung its iconic yellow sticky saying “We'll be back soon” on the Apple Support Communities forum, indicating that the company is carrying out maintenance work to improve the service and maybe add some new features too.Using a decade-old piece of graphics that still strikes a chord with avid users of Apple computers, the yellow sticky has been an iconic indication of impeding product launches, software updates, price drops, and everything in between.
While in recent years Apple has started using a more washed-out gray sticky for store outages, the Support area of its web site still uses the ancient yellow version.
The memo states, “We are busy updating Apple Support Communities for you and will be back shortly.”
The downtime was most likely scheduled, though Apple hasn’t gone out of its way to inform customers that they wouldn’t be able to access the forums for a while on May 16. Anything from server glitches to planned new features can be the cause of the outage, therefore speculation is somewhat irrelevant.
However, we can safely assume Apple is updating not just Support Communities but all of its backend systems to ensure compatibility with the latest software updates. The company yesterday rolled out a new version of OS X, a new iTunes app for Mac and Windows, a fresh Podcasts app for iOS customers, and iTunes Connect 3 for developers looking to manage their application business on an iDevice.
It is worth noting Apple Support as a whole is not down. Only the Communities (forums) section is experiencing downtime, in what would suggest that Apple is preparing new features or at least some adjustments to the way customers post comments, reply to others, browse threads, receive notifications, etc.
While it is not unusual for Apple to take down a service without notice (i.e. the widely known online store outages that sometimes yield new products, product upgrades, and price changes), the Mac maker has always announced impending maintenance updates to its forums beforehand.
In recent weeks there have been numerous outages reported by users of Apple’s online services, including failure of iMessage delivery and FaceTime connectivity issues.
The Cupertino giant is rumored to be preparing a massive iCloud push as part of its OS X and iOS announcements at WWDC14 next month, adding new features and perhaps all-new services for its customers. WWDC is scheduled to kick off June 2 at San Francisco’s Moscone West.