webOS has long since passed from the battleground that is the mobile operating system atmosphere. It’s been four long years since the last official webOS version, 3.0.5 for the HP Touchpad was released. However, reports are now surfacing from former HP employees about an unreleased version of webOS that was axed by then-CEO Leo Apotheker due to a bizarre bug. We’ll tell you more past the jump!
Like many operating systems, webOS followed a fairly consistent point system when it came to releasing updates to their system. Version 1.0.1 was followed by 1.0.2, then 1.0.3. and 1.0.4 until the Pre’s official release to Canadian network provider Bell saw it make a jump to 1.1.0. This pattern is followed fairly closely by Palm, with a few minor, usually bug-fixing releases getting a small bump, followed by bigger point releases, and, of course, webOS 2.
However, this pattern interestingly changed in 2011 with webOS 3.0, the tablet-specific release that was limited to the ill-fated HP Touchpad and, in limited cases, the Touchpad Go, which of course never officially saw the light of day. The sharp eye will notice that there is a subtle interruption in the progression, with 3.0.0 followed by 3.0.2, then 3.0.4. Nobody thought much of what had become of the 3.0.1 and 3.0.3 releases that had seemingly been skipped. Of course, it is an occurrence that is not exactly one in a million. February of that same year saw iOS make the bizarre jump from 4.2.1 to 4.2.5, and that’s without even mentioning the quantum leap from 2.3.7 to 4.0 Android phones experienced in the latter half of 2011. It turns out that there was a never before revealed secret behind one of those skipped webOS releases.
It was no secret that Leo Apotheker, him of webOS-slaying notoriety, was not well liked at all. In fact, an in-depth article by Chris Ziegler of The Verge saw him described as “the worst person ever.” And according to a former employee at HP during those turbulent times, some developers went on to vent their frustration at the CEO in their code. The source, who requested anonymity, claimed that version webOS 3.0.1 contained a bug not unlike the one recently discovered in iOS 9.3 which would crash and brick webOS devices at exactly 12:13:06 am on January 1, 1970. This of course, refers to the Unix timestamp 786, which just so happens to be the numerical value of “Leo Apotheker” in English gematria.
Unsurprisingly, the German executive was less than flattered when he got wind of it, but with so much at stake (judging from the time frame between 3.0 and 3.0.2, this may have occurred shortly before the infamous fire sale of HP Touchpads), and with HP already in hot water, Apotheker was convinced to keep it quiet. It is unknown who exactly on the webOS developer team was behind the queer error, but the source hinted that his (or her) prominence in the webOS hierarchy was another contributing factor into keeping the incident quiet. HP declined to comment or verify the story when we reached out to them, but if this is true, then it’s another remarkable chapter in the life of webOS, and says a lot more about how turbulent the Apotheker era was.
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