It’s becoming an annual event: a Boxing Day plea for help from one of my friends trying to get their new Apple device working for a young child.

This year it was three phone calls from a harried parent over 6 hours. Seriously Apple – 6 hours to get a new iPod touch working. What a joke. Do you realise what pain you are causing your customers?

I have mentioned this in a previous post but Apple have made it really, really hard for humans to get their mobile devices up and running. Be warned – be it an iPod, iPad or iPhone, there is a lot you have to know and do just to get them working. So much so, I recommend not just pre-charging them but testing and configuring them a few days prior to the big day just to be sure there is no disappointment.

I know of no other devices that assume so much and provide so little support. Apple mobile devices require a PC or Mac and the latest version of iTunes. Even the wifi devices require you to connect to iTunes via USB to upgrade and load media. There is no real technical reason for this – Apple just force it to be this way – to keep you within their “domain”.

This sounds simple but it’s a real pain in the proverbial – especially for non-nerds who have better things to do on their holidays than power up their PC and spend hours fighting through a maze of downloads and upgrades.

For the record, this is what you need to to do to get your new Apple device working:

  1. Find a PC or Mac that you have Administrator access to
    Most users have no idea what Administrator access is so this is the first hurdle. Work supplied laptops are usually locked down so forget about them. If you do not have a PC or Mac with Administrator access, you will not be able to use your Apple device – take it back to the store and demand your money back.
  2. Download iTunes and Quicktime
    iTunes is huge. The download is up to 100MB in size. On slower ADSL links expect the download to take 10-15 minutes. Even if you already have iTunes installed, you likely have to upgrade to the latest version as each new device requires a newer version of iTunes.
  3. Install iTunes 
    On a slower Windows XP machine, this took almost an hour. Apple assume you know how to install software on your PC. This is a big assumption. Many people do not. I know this is not Apple’s fault but the point is the wifi devices should not need you to do any of this.
  4. If on Windows, reboot
    On Windows you will likely be forced to reboot. On Mac you may not have to.
  5. Start iTunes
  6. Register for an Apple ID.
    You need to be over 13 for this and you will be asked to provide a credit card. Did they tell you that in the store before you bought the device? Not likely. God knows how many tweenies lie about their age on iTunes just to get their device working…
  7. Attach your device via USB.
  8. When prompted, register your device with Apple
  9. When prompted, download the latest software for the device. Be warned though, on a Windows XP machine over ADSL this took over an hour – and then failed! Repeat until successful.
  10. Install the software to the device. Wait.
  11. In iTunes, go to iTunes store, buy some stuff
  12. Wait for stuff to be downloaded
  13. Select stuff you want synced to your device
  14. Perform sync
  15. Eject devicee

You are now free to use your device.

If all goes well, you should be up and running with your new device in under a day. But if anything goes wrong or you have no idea how to install software on your computer then this process could take days and lots of phone calls to a technically savvy friend.

I do not understand how Apple get away with this situation. Imagine if a digital camera took over a day to get working? They would all be returned quick smart and the manufacturer would go out of business. Not so for Apple. The brand is so ubiquitous that they have managed to con their customers into believing they are somehow inadequate if they can’t perform the 15 steps above without documentation and assistance.

If you cannot get your device working – do not feel bad. It is hard work. Take the device back to the store and ask for a refund. Perhaps if more did this, Apple might listen.

Gotta go, that’s the phone again…


Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>