Monday, October 31, 2011

How Apple Killed My iPad 1, and Almost Made Me Pay To Replace It

About 15 months ago I bought an original iPad that worked fine until a few days ago.  Then, I connected the device to iTunes on my computer for a periodic, routine sync and check for software updates.  This time there was a new version of the operating system software, and I began the upgrade and sync process. 

Trouble ensued.  The software upgrade wouldn’t complete, and I was prompted to restore.  After a while into that process, I received an error message:  “The iPad could not be restored.  An unknown error occurred (1).”

I went through all the timely troubleshooting steps to no avail.  Finally, I called Apple support and got a very polite support guy.  After taking many steps on my desktop, we tried the upgrade on my laptop, all without success.  Then he handed me off to a “senior advisor”, who told me that “this is a common problem, a hardware issue that the engineers are looking into.”  I was told Apple would replace my device.

I then went to the Apple store.  No way Apple would let me upgrade, even for a charge, to the current iPad model 2.  Apple insisted on replacing my now obsolete iPad 1 version.  The salesman gave me a replacement iPad 1 out of a plain brown shipping box, wrapped in thin plastic and looking new; however, it was not packaged for sale and there is no indication that this is a brand new, as opposed to refurbished or previously returned, device.  The salesman told me that the store keeps a supply of replacement original iPads for this scenario. 

Worse than not allowing me to buy an upgrade to the newer, current model was the fact that, had I not purchased an extended warranty plan for $99 when I bought the device, Apple would have charged me $419 to replace my now dysfunctional iPad, despite the fact that my device was working fine until it encountered Apple’s new software.  So Apple caused my iPad to die, but would have charged me half the cost of my original to replace it. 

I bought the extended warranty for protection against hardware failure, not against active destruction by an Apple software upgrade.  What if I had not bought it?  Had I not, there would have been a disturbance in the Apple store.  Apple is effectively saying to its customers that they would be smart to buy an extended warranty to protect themselves from Apple’s own future malfeasance.   

Hubris.  Arrogance.  When I next purchase a tablet, I may think different.


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