By Arathy S. Nair
Apple (AAPL) withdrew a faulty update to its latest operating system after many users of its new phones complained of call service disruptions, the latest in a series of glitches to mar the first week of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales.
Apple shares fell as much as nearly 4 percent to $97.72 in early trading Thursday, to be the biggest drag on the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC).
%VIRTUAL-WSSCourseInline-963%At that price, the stock had lost all its gains since the launch of the latest iPhones and the company's market value declined by $24 billion.
"We apologize for the great inconvenience experienced by users, and are working around the clock to prepare iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue, and will release it as soon as it is ready in the next few days," an Apple spokesperson said, according to a report on technology news website Re/code.
Apple officials weren't available immediately for comment.
Users of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which started selling the new phones last Friday, complained about a drop in cellular service and inability to use the fingerprint-reading Touch ID after updating the operating system to iOS 8.0.1.
Apple issued a step-by-step guide for users to reinstall iOS 8, launched last week, through the latest version of iTunes. Its health app won't work after the reinstallation, but will be fixed in iOS 8.0.2, the company said.
Some users had complained of "sluggish Wi-Fi and dwindling battery life" after updating to iOS 8 on Twitter and Apple forums, Time magazine reported earlier this week.
The new phones also face criticism over their bendability, dubbed "bendgate" on social media and online forums, which have been abuzz with comments about how the new phones can bend when placed in back pockets or while wearing skinny jeans.
The phones' lightweight aluminum shell is more malleable than expected but this may not qualify as a design flaw, some analysts said.
Apple said Monday it had already shipped 10 million units of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but didn't comment on the bending reports.
Rival smartphone-makers have tried to take advantage of Apple's problems.
Samsung released an advertisement showcasing a bending phone against its own product, while BlackBerry (BBRY) Chief Executive Officer John Chen said: "I would challenge you guys to bend our Passport."
Apple shares were down 3 percent at $98.73 on the Nasdaq just after midday.
By Arathy S. Nair