It is fair to say that some say the fundamental functions of Apple’s iPad are that the portability of its design lends itself to use in both in a business environment and in offering an easy way to display media. Surely these features are supposed to lie at the heart of most products that are released by Steve Jobs and co.
There have been reports that Apple is not always quite so supportive of those who use the iPad for exactly these purpose. Photographer Mike Marcus told TechEye of the trouble he has had with using the iPad as part of his work due to simply updating to iOS 4.2.
Having purchased the Apple Connectivity Connection Kit from the Apple store to enable the viewing of photos on the iPad via a Compact Flash card, the product functioned fine before Marcus updated to the iOS 4.2 as recommended by Apple. This immediately rendered the connection kit unusable.
“I purchased the iPad predominantly for the purpose of reviewing photographs with clients away from a power supply or computer. The iPad is a fantastic device which is generally very easy to use, however I am now left with a product that is essentially useless as far as my needs are concerned,” Marcus told TechEye.
Marcus then attempted using a variety of other cards to determine where the problem may lie, but was unable to get the product working.
“I tried the kit with three separate card readers and six different CF cards, all with the same result. Rather than displaying my images, I get a dialogue with the message ‘Cannot Use Device: The connected USB device requires too much power’. I purchased the hardware in good faith and with no knowledge that Apple might remove this functionality from the device at a future point in time.”
Marcus then embarked upon a fruitless attempt to get some answers as to how it would be possible to get his iPad to function again properly. This was met by what appears to be some rather shoddy attempts to fob off a customer once they have paid for an Apple product. In an email to various addresses at Apple, who are apparently extremely difficult to contact through electronic mail, Marcus highlighted the difficulties he had been having with garnering any information whatsoever with regards to what the problem was and how it could be resolved.
“I have spoken in total to three technical support staff about the problem. None of them had a good grasp of English and communication was a struggle in each case. The first call centre operative promised to call back and didn't. When I phoned again I was told that he had lost my phone number (even though the new operator confirmed that it was on file and read it out to me to check it was correct).”
A second call centre passed him on to a third member of support staff who reported that Apple had no idea why the kit had stopped working. This is countered by Marcus, who, after a cursory search on Google, was able to find out that it was most likely due to the fact that the power output had dropped from 100ma to 20ma following the iOS update. This meant that the connection kit would not provide enough power for the card reader that professionals such as Marcus often use to read Compact Flash memory cards.
Marcus was then told that, despite alerting Apple to this fact, customer services demanded he reset his system at a risk of losing substantial data before they would continue to deal with his issue, despite the fact it would be highly unlikely to make any difference.
Marcus has, as yet had no offer of reimbursement for either the iPad or the connectivity kit, though a complaint is apparently being processed following one of his various phone calls.
This is not however an isolated case. Although Marcus was told that there were no other similar instances reported, it is very difficult to believe that Apple is totally unaware of this issue considering the complaints on Apple’s forum highlighting this very problem.
With the iPad at the front of the burgeoning and increasingly competitive tablet market it is clear that Apple will need to address the concerns of customers like Mike Marcus who rely on the product for business needs.
“The upshot is that my £500 investment is no longer fit for the purpose of its purchase, one advertised by Apple and fully understood by the retail staff at the point of sale. It is not acceptable to offer no answer in this case or to avoid accountability. I want a solution to the problem as while I am unable to review images with clients, I am losing money.”
TechEye has contacted Apple - nothing yet.