A stream of customer complaints about Apple’s new ‘smart wine’ technology has landed the tech giant in hot water.
Or perhaps, more accurately, in a sea of pompous champagne.
The iWine Glass was launched amid great fanfare just before Black Friday.
Intended to be the centrepiece of the company’s Christmas campaign, Apple CEO Mac Book claimed that it would revolutionise the way that people experienced their drinks.
‘Palate to brain’ technology
‘Why stop at flavour?’ he said at the launch. ‘It’s such a 20th century way to interact with a product. Now alco-natives can get to know their most regularly favourited beverages intimately and digitally using our ground-breaking palate-to-brain technology.
‘We’re moving wine from analogue to vin-alogue.’
The iWine features a bluetooth-enabled glass that links to an app on a customer’s phone, telling them about what they are drinking.
But the app doesn’t just give information about flavours or where a wine is from.
‘With the iWine Glass, you can actually get deep into the personality of your favourite drink,’ said Book. ‘It’s a really rich user experience.
‘Particularly for us, since we’re selling these things at £900 a pop.’
Customers who take out a premium subscription to the iWine unlock an audio function which allows them to carry out an actual ‘conversation’ with their favourite bottles.
But a good idea on paper has turned into a nightmare in the glass. Thousands of purchasers of the iWine have gone onto social media to complain about their experiences.
‘The thing is that Apple assumed that all wines would have good personalities,’ said self-styled ‘drinks techxpert’ Mike Rowe-Soft. ‘But in fact some of them turned out to be absolute bastards.’
Consumers logging on expecting to be met with wines that were ‘cheeky’, ‘playful’ or ‘approachable’ sometimes ended up with products that were ‘aristocratic’, ‘clumsy’ or ‘unpalatable’.
‘I’ve been a fan of my supermarket blanc de blancs for years,’ said Leroy Duval of Northampton, ‘but once I got to know it, it turned out to be an absolute shit. Rude, arrogant and much snobbier than I expected.
‘I got so fed up with it taking the piss out of my “bourgeois curtains” that after a while I just tipped it down the sink.’
On Twatter, @samsy76 said she was reduced to tears following ‘totally inappropriate’ comments from her favourite Pinot Grigio.
‘I just never thought that an easy-drinking white could be such a racist, misogynist prick,’ she said. ‘I’ve found a lovely Riesling since then who’s sensitive and intelligent and great with Chinese food, but I’m struggling with trust issues.’
Meanwhile, one correspondent in New York who filled his iWine with scotch was left red-faced when the glass started to abuse him through his Alexa speaker in front of his small children.
‘I got away with it by making it into a story,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘But I’m now under pressure every night to create more and more adventures for a gnome called “Stupid Yank bastard”.’
Contacted by Fake Booze, Apple said it had no plans to withdraw the iWine and that if people were concerned about negative personality traits in their drinks, they should buy bottles from an Apple-approved source.
‘All the wines in the iWine Store have had their personalities carefully vetted for inappropriate traits and are guaranteed cheerfully anodyne,’ said a spokesman.
‘True, they’re $40 each and really boring to taste, but at least they won’t give you shit or get you trolled on Twitter.
‘And we know that for most people that’s what Christmas is all about.’