Friday, 13 August 2010

My iPad: An Obituary

On Saturday 31st July, encouraged by reports from @vonprond, @klillington, @catherinecronin and @jamesclay, I went out and bought myself an iPad. I knew more about it than the sales guy in Curry's, Galway. I took it home and from the first moment I held it in my arms and connected it to iTunes, it was love.

I should explain that I never, ever, have done anything like this before. I don't buy expensive gadgets for myself. This was a completely irrational move for me. Even my trusty iPod, now 4 years old, was bought as a present by my husband, after much hinting.

For the next week, I proudly showed off my new purchase to family, friends and colleagues. I spent time considering apps, reading reviews, thinking about how I could use it for teaching and work, as well as having a bit of fun. I installed not one but four twitter apps: twitterific (good), tweetdeck (not great), osfoora (very nice) and flipboard (fantastic). I started to use it for reading (iBooks and Kindle) and was looking forward to my first train journey. I bought productivity apps Keynote and Pages, and started thinking about how to use them. I even began playing with iNow and enjoying the little emails telling me how much I'd got done during the day.

Then, on Tuesday evening, 10th August, a mere 10 days after the iPad entered my life, disaster struck. While showing my mother-in-law our holiday photographs (all 477 of them) the screen froze. I can't even blame my mil, I was closely supervising her at the time. After some time, the "connect to iTunes" screen appeared and, like a concerned parent when her child is ill, I immediately followed instructions.

iTunes told me it had "detected an iPad in recovery mode" and that the poor darling needed to be restored. Ok, I've only had it 10 days, it's not a big hassle. But then, during the restore process, I got the dreaded error 1611 and was directed to a page full of diagnostics. I sat up until well after midnight, restarting the machine, trying different usb ports, even creating a new user on the pc to get a clean iTunes profile. No improvement.

After a fretful night, I contacted Apple Technical Support during lunchtime on Wednesday. A brusque chap named William, who sounded straight out of the US military, and kept calling me Ma'am, told me I'd done a good job with the diagnostics, but that I had omitted to un-install my anti-virus software! Not likely to happen while on the university network, but I said I'd give it a go at home. He also talked me through some complicated holding down of buttons while connecting to iTunes, but none of this solved the problem.

That evening I again rang support, this time talking to a young lady whose name I didn't catch. She wasn't much help at all and seemed incapable of reading the notes left by William. She suggested that I un-install iTunes, and all its associated programmes, then re-install and try again. She then hung up. I did all this (it took an hour) but still no improvement.

Finally, yesterday morning, I got through to a very understanding young man named Peter. He very gently told me that we'd tried everything, but we couldn't restore the iPad. He explained that he would send a courier to take my iPad away in a box, and that I would receive a new one within a few days. He also asked if I'd dropped it, but I explained that it had been (almost literally) wrapped in cotton wool since the day I brought it home.

So, here I am, waiting for the courier to call. The darling device is back in its original box and I'm feeling a hole in my life.

Update (19th August, 3.30pm): My replacement iPad has just been delivered. Oh joy!

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