Last June, I ordered an iPad, the 3G version. I have MacBook Pro, and I already knew I didn’t like the Apple computers, but I had nothing but positives to say about the iPhone, and this looked like a larger version of that device. Most of all, I was ridiculously excited about the tiered data options, since there were many months where I didn’t use my AT&T aircard at all.
Frankly, there wasn’t much use for the iPad because of the iPhone. I used it a few times: from a meeting to make a lunch reservation for a group from my school at P.F. Chang’s, because I couldn’t do it via my phone because of the interface. Another time, I used it to navigate to a bookstore in Decatur, Georgia (which I really could have done with my phone, anyway, but maps do look nicer on the iPad). When I did use it, I picked it up (like my phone) more than once to take a picture, but this was the first generation, so it actually had LESS functionality than that device.
I did read one iBook, because it wasn’t available in Kindle format, but I frankly found the thing too heavy and rounded to work as a reader. Anyway, to say I hadn’t used it much is a huge understatement. But it was at Educon in January that I got my first SIM card error. I had left my laptop at home for the conference, and everyone else seemed to be wielding iPads, and there was accessible wireless at the Science Leadership Academy, but I couldn’t use it in my hotel room, so I was limited to the phone there.
I read up on the SIM error, as one does, and used a pin to pop out the SIM card and blow on it (exactly what my “genius” did when I did take it to the Apple Store, but I had barely used the thing, so odds were it wasn’t dirty). They restored it to factory settings, but it errored again after an update. I was getting ready to go to Computers in Libraries to talk about ebooks and wanted samples of hardware when I remembered the error and went back to the store.
That “genius” (a nice girl, an art major, a painter) almost conceded getting data was a lost cause when she finally resorted to wiping the thing and restoring it to its factory settings, which seemed to work. I had told her I had done the updates the day before, so I had backed it up then, not like there was much data but I would be able to get the applications back, I assumed. I restored the data and synched to iTunes the day before I left for the conference and, last I checked, the SIM card was detecting a 3G signal. Then I got to the airport. The SIM was gone again.
The most ridiculous part of the whole thing is that you can’t discontinue the $15 a month AT&T data plan without the SIM card being active. So I keep being billed for data I can’t deactivate. It seems like a paltry amount of money, compared to the $60 for the aircard, and the device is no superfluous to my needs, I really just tend to forget about until it is time to pack for a trip, and then I start imagining how much weight I could save if I could do without a laptop, and I pull out the iPad, and it fails.
If I had a cat, he would have a really cool toy.
I am at the end of my tether and want a refund for both the $649 device and the $15 a month I have been hamstrung into paying to AT&T because of their ridiculously defective product. I will eat the $100 for the Zaggmate bluetooth keyboard case that fails to properly hold the thing in any secure fashion – I have resorted to double-sided tape to attach it, but did allow me to type without looking like I was imagining I was conducting the London Philharmonic. And the Zaggmate made the device more useful for content PRODUCTION. I can consume all the media I want via my phone. I have real misgivings about buying these things for educational use if you can't write on them in a sustained way.
Now, another trip to the Apple store looms on the horizon. I consider it a particular kind of hell, the one near me is filled with people I don’t particularly want to be near, scrawny braying electrical engineers in filthy running shoes. The “geniuses” treat everyone like they are mentally deficient. There are only two Apple stores in the state of Alabama, and one is in my city. What if I lived hours away? Can they really expect people to make that trip?
Obviously, I should have just gone with a Verizon mifi for my mobile data needs.