Apple’s iPhone alarm app has failed to sound for the third day in a row for some customers, despite the company promising that it would wake people as set from 3 January onwards.

The small but embarrassing glitch hit the iPhone and some users of the iPod Touch on the first two days of the New Year for anyone setting a single alarm call. Only users setting recurring alarms were unaffected.

Now it is being reported that at least some users remain affected by the issue, a day after Apple claimed it would be fixed.

It’s a tiny crack in a formidable edifice and one that would never be reported as news on any other platform. But the iPhone is not like other smartphones, where occasional programming problems are taken as read. Its users are also less tolerant of imperfection.

In August Apple suffered a difficult two weeks after users reported signal strength problems when holding an iPhone 4 by the bottom of the case. This might or might not have been connected to the departure of Mark Papermaster, Apple's senior vice president of engineering for the iPhone and iPod, soon after.

In 2011 Apple will have to face up to a major challenge from the upstart Android, which may predict will eventually establish itself as the number one smartphone platform in absolute terms.  In the third quarter of 2010, Google’s OS took 44 percent share to 23 percent for Apple’s iOS.