Citing reports that the company calls "troubling" and "inexplicable," Apple has announced that it is voluntarily recalling all of its limited-edition Trump-branded smart watches.
The news comes just days after Apple rolled out its newest Apple Watch, called Series 2, and represents a rare stumble for the tech giant, which is known for scrupulous testing and strict quality control, particularly before a big product launch.
The company teamed up with Donald Trump, the real estate entrepreneur and current presidential candidate, for a limited run of Trump-branded Apple Watches, similar to the sporty Apple Watch Nike+ models that resulted from its partnership with Nike Inc. An Apple spokeswoman said that some 15,000 Trump watches were produced.
Whereas the Apple Watch Nike+ is aimed at active outdoor types such as runners, the Apple Trump Run Watch is intended for runners who, as a Trump spokesperson put it, "want to class things up."
"By a lot," the spokesperson added.
In fact, Apple's Trump Run watch proved to be little more than its standard Nike+ model bearing the Trump name instead of the familiar Nike swoosh.
Or so it seemed, until the watch got into consumers' hands—and the feedback started rolling in. Specifically, about the messages popping up on the phones' screens.
Users of Apple Watch Nike+ get "daily motivation through smart run reminders, challenges from friends and even alerts informing when the weather is right to get outside," according to Nike. For instance, an Apple Watch Nike+ might ask its owner, "Are we running today?"
The Apple Trump Run Watch, on the other hand, appears to generate nothing but insults and derision.
"Grabbed my Trump Run Watch this a.m. ready to run," wrote one woman on Twitter. "It called me a fat pig!"
Another customer tweeted at Apple: "Care to tell me why my EXPENSIVE new watch just called me pathetic and a loser?"
Yet another asked, "Anyone else's Trump Run watch calling them a failure every time they try to run? Or is it just me?"
Other messages reportedly include single words, such as "Dope," "Disaster," and "Desperate."
In addition to spewing insults, at least a few people have described Trump watches that have simply, and abruptly, stopped functioning.
"The watch isn't even working anymore," said one man on Facebook. "It just keeps showing me a message that says I was very unfair to it. Whatever the f*** that means."
For their part, Apple's engineers are baffled.
"At this point, we can't explain how this happened," said Jim Rockford, Apple's senior vice president for technical development. "When we shipped them, the watches seemed perfectly fine. Something just seems to have gone haywire."
"Sad!" he added.