2012-10-06 01:40:55

The Apple Experiment: Day One

About a week ago, I received an iPhone 4S with 32GB of storage. I immediately spent another CHF 40.- to get a rubber bumper and a display protection foil for the phone, in order to avoid it being destroyed in an accident or by being transported. A good iPhone user would possess such protectors, so I should have them too. They're ridiculously expensive though: CHF 20.- for the bumpers and CHF 20.- for the display protection foils.

And up for repairs

The charge of the battery was relatively low, about 20%, when I received it, so I plugged the phone in to charge it. While the phone was running on external power then, the battery wouldn't charge. As I carried it around, the power would continue to drain. Eventually, it reached zero, but the phone still wouldn't charge, even after several hours on the charger. So I brought it in to be repaired.

After a week in repairs I received the phone back just today, configured to the Apple ID of an employee of the shop which fixed it. The phone firmware had been reset and I was promised the phone would charge again. I haven't yet had an opportunity to try though.

Initial setup

Now that I had the phone back, I had to reset it and configure it for my own use. The option for resetting the phone could be found easily in the settings menu. Then, I was greeted with the iPhone setup screen. I slid to unlock, selected language and country, then configured the wireless network. I enabled location services and configured the iPhone as new. Then I was asked for an Apple ID.

I didn't have one, so I chose to create a Free Apple ID. The first question I was presented with was the birth date. The date is selected using three adjustment wheels, which is highly unpleasant if you were born at the other end of the month and year, a long time ago. A combined adjustment wheel and number editor would certainly be a relief here.

Then I had to type in my name — no surprises here. However, the name was split up into first and last name, which doesn't work for all cultures. It's a bit surprising that Apple forces this specific name format although they should have gathered quite some experience in dealing with different cultures by now.

Either way, I do have a first and last name, so I entered them. I was then asked whether I want to enter a mail address or create an iCloud account. Trying the full Apple experience, I had to go for the iCloud account. A quick question for the mail address later I received an error message: «Can't Create Apple ID: Your Apple ID could not be created because of a server error.» Clicking «Ok» on this message lead back to the screen which asks if you want to create an Apple ID or use an existing one.

Roadblock iCloud

Left without an option, I went to the Apple web site using Safari on my Mac Mini and was greeted with a very large video of Steve Jobs promoting various products to a kind of music. I couldn't find any other controls on the web site so I patiently watched the video till the end — which wasn't exactly easy, since the buffer kept running out. At some point the video was over and started again.

Hovering the mouse randomly over the browser window I discovered that there was a cross button on the upper left corner of the screen which would only appear when the mouse was hovered over it. Clicking that button loaded the regular Apple web site. However, that site didn't show the slightest sign of Apple ID creation mechanisms.

The apple in the menu bar brought back the video of Steve Jobs, which wasn't particularly helpful. The other menu items (Mac, iTunes, etc.) didn't mention Apple IDs either. In the Apple Store, there was a menu which mentioned «Accounts» and contained a menu point named «Account Home Page». The following page was more centered around orders from the Apple Store (looking at order lists or modifying or canceling orders), but there was a link to a page for changing the mail address of an Apple ID account.

The following page asked me to log into my Apple ID and offered an option to create one. I had finally found it! But the «Create Apple ID» page only allowed to create an ID with an existing, external mail account. No mention of iCloud anywhere.

So I used Google to find the iCloud service, which was apparently located at icloud.com. The web site didn't offer to create an account directly though. It asked you to create the account from the Mac or from an iOS6 device. The alternative was to use some iCloud tool bar on Windows. Since however I didn't have Windows, I couldn't follow that route.

The MacOS way required to open the system settings dialog. In that dialog, there was supposed to be a point called iCloud. I couldn't find that point though and it turned out that MacOS version 10.7.4 was required. I didn't have that version at hand, so I abandoned that road as well.

I may try finding a Windows installation to attempt the third way, but right now it appears that I cannot pursue the road I wanted to take due to a server error. Does that mean that my experiment is already over?

Read more about this in the next episode…

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