A neighbor took advantage of MA's recent tax free weekend and bought an iPad. He'd seen mine and his daughter had shown off hers the last time she had visited, so he had a pretty good idea of why he wanted it. Unfortunately, his initial experience was frustrating.
After struggling with it since Sunday, he called me on Tuesday night, still unable to get it working. That surprised me a little - I think the setup instructions are pretty straight forward, and my neighbor is not a particularly "tech helpless" person, but I put on my shoes and walked down the street to see what was what.
Just some minor confusion
Well, it turns out that the setup instructions weren't confusing him; he just got stuck on a few simple things.
First, he had created an Apple ID. You need that for iTunes. He used his msn email address, but when he went to sign in to Apple, he wasn't adding "@msn.com". Minor confusion, but that would have stopped him from being able to use iTunes to buy/download any apps.
He is not the first person I have seen make that mistake. Apple might do better by putting up a little reminder if the login fails and they don't see "@something.com" or "@something.net" in the user id field. Maybe just a
Reminder - if you used your email address to create your Apple ID, you need to type the full address - "firstname.lastname@example.org" , for example.
Just a suggestion, Apple. Feel free to ignore it.
However, I said that would have stopped him. Actually, he had a more immediate problem. He couldn't connect the iPad to his wireless network.
Well, that's not true. He could, but he didn't realize that. Let me explain:
Not really a network
From his point of view, he didn't have a network. Originally, he had one PC connected to a Comcast modem. Because he wanted to use that PC in a part of the house not close to the Comcast equipment, he had bought a wireless router and, following the instructions in the box, had successfully setup the PC to use that wireless connection.
See, I told you he's not overly tech challenged.
But what he didn't understand quite was that other machines could also connect to the router. He thought he had set it up specifically for his PC and only for his PC. He knew the SSID and he knew the password - he just didn't think that was going to help him connect the iPad. Consequently, he was poring through the router manual trying to find out how to create a connection for a new device!
That's a new one on me, but if you think about it, you can see how someone might reasonably make that mistake. Wireless router setup instructions probably don't mention connecting other devices. Of course, anyone who has used a wireless connection at Starbucks or McDonald's wouldn't make that error, but this had been my neighbor's first and only exposure to wireless. I rearranged his world view and we quickly had the iPad connected to the big bad Internet.
One final problem
We cabled the iPad to his machine, fired up iTunes and did a sync. As I expected, there was a software update waiting, but we were unable to contact Apple's update server to get it.
My bet is that the fault was at Apple. There have been a lot of tax free holidays around the country and I bet a lot of new iPads have been deployed recently. Apple may have just been temporarily over burdened. I told him to try again in the morning and, if still unsuccessful, to call them or the local store.
Before I left, I helped him download Skype for iPad and left him trying to find where he had written down the login and password for that. He knows he has it somewhere..
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