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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-04-30 16:41
Subject: [tech] iPad 3G round one, major Apple and AT&T fail
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, help, ipad, personal, tech
So my iPad 3G arrived today. This is a result of a very generous gift of a group of friends and colleagues, spearheaded by Marti McKenna and bhagwanx. About which more later, with immense gratitude. None of the following is a complaint about their love and generosity. No, my steely gaze is aimed at Apple and AT&T.

At the moment, I am wrestling with set up and configuration issues. And I have to say, this is the worst new Apple product experience I've had in my life.

To be clear, I've been a loyal and enthusiastic Mac user since 1985. The first machine I ever touched was a Mac 128 running System 1.1. I've owned or used (at work) almost every generation of Mac ever made. My current whip is a MacBook Pro, my current phone is an iPhone 3G. I have unboxed and configured many dozens of Apple products over the years. And all of them put together have not been as much trouble as the iPad 3G. My store of goodwill for Apple magic is ridiculously high, and my personal experience with the nuts and bolts is almost as high.


Problem one. In order to establish the AT&T data plan, I have to provide a credit card. iPad informs me that credit cards which bill to PO boxes cannot be used. Guess what? Every aspect of my financial life flows through my PO box for security reasons. The Visa card in my hand can buy anything anywhere in the world except an iPad data plan from AT&T. I've been on the phone to AT&T and Apple, had three callbacks, and no one seems to be able to do anything except tell me to change my billing address with the credit card company. I'm pretty sure this is an AT&T issue, but it stinks, and it's stupid. How many thousands of iPad 3G early adopters have had exactly that same problem today? Major joint AT&T and Apple fail, as yet unresolved.

Problem two. iPad synced my iPhone apps (which seemed obvious enough) but didn't sync their preferences. Sorting out how to fix that took me some time, even with my vast fund of Apple experience. If I'd come to this tabula rasa it wouldn't be an issue, but that a long-time Apple fanboy like me had to struggle to work this out seems very strange. Minor Apple fail, resolved.

Problem three. iTunes throws sync errors repeatedly when addressing my iPad. It then syncs fully (more about this below, however). It also sometimes thinks the iPad has 64 GB of memory (well, about 59 GB), and sometimes thinks the iPad has 4 GB of memory. Something is very wrong here. Moderate Apple fail, as yet unresolved.

Problem four. When I finally unplugged the iPad from the MacBook Pro, then plugged it back in, iTunes wanted to set up as a new iPad. So the hour and half I just spent configuring the iPad would be blown. I've rebooted everything, same problem. Again, something is very wrong here. Major Apple fail, as yet unresolved.

It's late in the day. My chemo brain is fading. I don't have time or bandwidth to spend the next few hours on the phone with Apple's tech support. The iPad is actually nicely set up and synced now, whatever iTunes happens to think, so other than the 3G issue, it's perfectly usable. I'll deal with this over the weekend.

But right now I have to say Apple has really handed me a lemon. These aren't the teething problems I had when I first got my iPhone. These aren't the fixable hardware problems I had with my dual-USB iBook back in the day. This is serious, fresh out of the box crap. I'm really looking forward to using this iPad, but I need it to work correctly with iTunes first, to have the right memory allocations, to sync, and to be able to subscribe to a 3G data plan.

Hey, Steve Jobs. Your magical device is pretty much blowing chunks so far.

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Laurel Amberdine: lightning
User: amberdine
Date: 2010-04-30 23:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You know, when I asked on Twitter for you to let us know how it went, I didn't actually expect there to be any problems! :(

(Well, maybe a few with AT&T.)

Good luck. I hate when shiny new goodies don't work right!
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ubiquitous_a: whitenerdy-shower
User: ubiquitous_a
Date: 2010-04-30 23:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
1) Any thought that it might let you pay for your data plan through Paypal instead?

2) Does the iPad offer the same ability to manage your files manually (i.e. keep it from synching automatically) so you can pick and choose what gets transferred? I do that for my iPod Touch, and it makes things easier.

3) On the setup issues with iTunes.....I recall having issues with my video iPod when I first got it. For some reason, it had problems recognizing the drive, due to mapping issues, so it would constantly try and restore, or whatever. I'm not a Mac person, so I can't say whether this is something endemic to PC's or not, but maybe it's related?

4) I really really want an iPad.....but I'm waiting until the next generation of them comes out so they can iron out the kinks, and hopefully either boost the storage and/or lower the price.

5) Oh, and before you spend oodles on time on the phone, you might try searching the support forums on the apple site. I've found them to often be helpful, and I imagine if things are going wrong, they're probably doing so for lots of people right now.

Edited at 2010-04-30 11:59 pm (UTC)
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They Didn't Ask Me: 7of9borg
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2010-05-01 01:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We live out in the country. Mailbox is by the side of the road. Years ago we had a gang going around and picking through peoples mailboxes by the road, trolling for financial info. We moved our major bills to a P.O. Box in town. Both addresses are registered with the credit cards, though the billing address is the P.O. Box. AT&T needs to get their head out of their ass. Their credit card (since sold to Citi) is one of the ones that we did this to.

You might as well require people to give a landline telephone number these days.

Dr. Phil
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User: jtdiii
Date: 2010-05-01 08:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Talk to your PO box holder.

Some of them offer the service of a non PO Box style name on the box. Thus as far as Apple/AT&T are concerned you have a physical street address, but it still goes to a PO Box.

UPS can do this for you: http://www.theupsstore.com/products/pages/maiandpos.aspx

Personally I am waiting for the PC or Linux version to come out. But you knew I was a PC heretic anyways. :)
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User: autopope
Date: 2010-05-01 09:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The "does it have 64Gb or 4Gb" problem sounds to me like it might actually be a hardware fault on your iPad; possibly real memory trouble, or possibly a flaky dock connector chipset.

The dock connector bus is basically USB plus some other stuff -- such as audio. The 4Gb/64Gb thing sounds like a data structure is being passed from the iPad to the Mac and is intermittently dropping a couple of significant bits. Ergo, hardware, probably in the dock connector as your iPad doesn't seem to be crashing randomly which is what you'd see with bad memory.

NB: I do not have an iPad (they're not on sale in my country yet) and this advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. But I'd be talking to AppleCare at this point.

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