A tale of an iPad – short but not so sweet!


Seems to be my time for new devices. I recently wrote about my experiences purchasing an eReader for the bride and now it’s the turn of the iPad. My eldest son got a brand new iPad 2 from Santa so he has given me his older iPad to play with – bless him.

First thing I did was create a full system image, I’ve had no experience of iTunes whatsoever but I’m well aware of the role it plays with these devices and am wary of Apple software in general so I felt it was desirable (nay, essential) to have a fall back position in place. Next it was on to the iTunes download and install; as expected the software seemed to exist of a seemingly never ending string of various components, which also managed to keep WinPatrol’s little watchdog Scotty pretty busy. In all 6 requests were issued to allow new services to run at startup, goodness knows what most of them were all about. I was perfectly happy to keep allowing them however, content in the knowledge that I had an image safely tucked away in the event of any serious repercussions.

As soon as installation completed, iTunes interface popped up and the syncing process automatically took over. Syncing was quick and painless but I was then asked if I wanted to download the latest iOS version, a suggestion with which I was quite happy to comply. Some 716MB and over an hour later the upgrade process was finally complete (I do realize, by the way, that this would not be usual). Next step was to create an Apple ID so I could access the store and download apps. Two emails later, and after confirmation, the ID was in place and I was good to go. So I set up the wi-fi and visited the app store to see what goodies might be on offer. As soon as I arrived a popup informed me I could download the iBooks eReader app for free, a nice little surprise. I could just envisage my lovely wife and I kicking back side by side in our recliners each reading from our respective electronic devices – only mine’s bigger of course.

Clicked on the ‘go’ button and was asked to sign in, I thought I’d done that already but no problem. Next thing up pops a form requesting all manner of personal details; birth date, full name, home address, phone number, etc. – really! Oh well, upward and onward. Got to the address part and discovered only US addresses are accepted, couldn’t find any way to change locations – stumped. I thought that was really strange because, from the settings on the device itself, the iPad obviously knew I was in Australia. So I accessed the store from within iTunes interface and scrolled up and down the page looking for any reference to locations or Countries. Finally found it right at the bottom of page in faint gray text, “Change Country” – success! Clicked that option, selected Australia and the page refreshed, but now I apparently needed to sign in again. Signed in once more and was immediately taken back to the US page – ever had the feeling you’re going round in circles?

The penny finally dropped and I realized there was probably a local store where I would need to create a fresh ID – I’ve absolutely no idea why the US store could not or would not handle downloads on a global basis. So off to search for a possible Aussie store. I locate one soon enough, create the fresh ID and try again. Sign in yet again and discover I’ve finally done something right, the form now allows me to input an Australian address – but wait, what’s this? Now I’m not only required to input all that personal information but my credit card details as well – for a free app! – you got to be kidding me!

It was at that I point I finally decided enough was enough and the iPad was not for me – thank goodness for the image! Cranked up Acronis, restored the image and back to where I was before this most frustrating experience ever began. And I can assure you, I’ve left out a fair bit of the repetitious stuff for the sake of brevity – many of the constant sign-ins and going around in seemingly endless cycles.


Now I know many among the iPad fraternity are going to view my apparent ineptitude with a certain amount of derision, and I accept that graciously. Heck, even my pre-pubescent grandchildren have managed to master the intricacies of the iPad and Apple’s/iTunes idiosyncrasies. But please bear in mind, I started from a position of total ignorance and did not solicit any advice or assistance whatsoever, not even from our resident expert Judy. That was, by the way, a conscious decision on my part – I wanted to witness first hand just how easy or complicated an iPad would be for a complete novice to set up.

I also concede that the whole process would have been simplified no end had I been a US resident. Millions of iPad users worldwide is testament enough I guess, we have a saying here in Oz – ‘fifty million blowflies can’t be wrong!’ No doubting the iPad includes stellar features and innovations but, for me anyway; the invasive nature of the iTunes software, the forced submission of bucket loads of personal information, the compulsory requirement for credit card details even for free apps, and the proprietary nature of the beast in general are just too many hurdles to get over. I’ll just stick with my beloved desktop and trusty laptop. By the way, my son absolutely loves his iPad.

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele… as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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