Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

A little Apple frustration

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t dislike Apple products: For the most part in my experience, they work well and are fairly intuitive, and from an OS standpoint, they’ve tended to run more smoothly than their Microsoft counterparts.

My slight Apple-induced irritability has always been with aspects of their pricing and practices, but I’m not a hater. That said, over the past 24 hours, I’ve been bugged and focused by the form of a simple cracked iPod Touch glass.

Thus, after an angry Tweet or three yesterday afternoon, I’m writing this in what I hope is a more rational (and somewhat absurdly amused) state of mind – it’s not intended as a rant, but out of curiosity about the factors driving my current Apple store experience.

Wanting to get my daughter’s iPod fixed before an upcoming trip, I called the nearest Apple Store, which is about 50 miles away, last week. I asked them about the whole “getting the glass fixed” thing, since the iPod otherwise works just fine. It’s explained to me that for the $100 repair fee, Apple will simply swap the broken iPod for a new one. I’m assuming they will later replace the glass themselves so they can sell our current iPod as a refurb, and though something about that strikes me as a little skeevy, I’m OK with it, since it makes for the quickest fix from a customer standpoint.

I am advised, however, that this means my daughter will need to back up her iPod songs, videos and photos onto our home computer in order to keep her data.

So she does. And with her music-free iPod ready to go (don’t get me started on the unecessary complexity of the iTunes/iPod syncing process), on Monday afternoon, I call the Apple store again to make sure I understand the situation, since I’m planning to be near Cleveland on Tuesday anyway.

I call. I clarify the cost and the process, and an employee tells me that yes, they do have the identical iPod Touch in stock, so it will be a simple swap. “Great!” I say. “Can I stop in tomorrow?”

“No. This requires an appointment, and we’re all booked up.”

This seems ludicrous on the surface, but my guess is it’s to inspect the iPod and make sure that the glass is the only thing broken, and I get that, but it does lead me to more questions: If the iPod works, cracked glass and all, and if I have to set an appointment, then why not simply do an in-store transfer of all the data to the new iPod?

My wife and daughter and I recently switched cell phone providers, and yet despite moving to a different carrier and needing differently-branded devices, all of our contact information, photos, music, and videos were quickly and cleanly transferred right there in the store. The same thing can’t be accomplished in an Apple store, between two identical Apple products? Yes, it would “cost” Apple a tiny bit more in time and labor terms, but then again, handing out a new iPod rather than fixing the glass in the one I’ve got was their idea, not mine, and if they’re going to get a refurb sale to boot, the cost of that extra few minutes of labor spent in transferring data should be theirs to bear.

Okay, fine, then: I’d like to book an appointment. Are there openings next week?


Excellent – I’d like to set one up for Monday or Tuesday.

“Oh, sorry,” they tell me, “The computer won’t let us make appointments that far in advance.”

June 8, 2010 - Posted by | geek, Web/Tech | , ,


  1. JRB,

    There is another option that perhaps you may not have considered – sending your daughter’s device with all it’s music/data intact to a repair company like, where we can replace the glass for you and send back the very same device. If you head to our website and click on ‘iPod touch Repair’ you will be able to learn more about our services.

    If you DO go this route, please drop me a line so that I can monitor your device to make sure it moves quickly through our shop.

    Hope that helps,

    Anthony Magnabosco, Owner

    Comment by Anthony Magnabosco | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. Full disclosure: I have an iPhone, a Nano, and two MacBooks. I liked Apple back in the 2E days, then disliked them, then came around once again when they switched to the Intel processors and the Unix-like OS in OS X. So I like the PRODUCTS for the most part.

    DESPITE my love for these products and for the Final Cut editing software…
    I agree with you that they can be too pricey.
    I agree with you that some of their software, e.g. iTunes does some unnecessary things and are inexplicably weird.
    I agree with you that the whole idea of the appointment-only “Genius” Bar is ridiculous douchebaggery. And then NOT taking appointments in advance? Ridiculous.
    I feel like their too-restrictive AppStore policies are wrong.
    I feel that their refusal to allow their OS to be virtualized is stupid (more of a software developer gripe).

    I suspect that the reason for them not doing an in-store data transfer for you may have something to do with the way iTunes allows an iPod to only sync up with a certain computer. This is the safeguard that they use to stop my from copying my entire music/video library to every one of my friends’ computers. So I think it’s partially a DRM issue.

    AND even though they could probably find a way to hook you up to some “god” machine that could break the iTunes rules…the copying of up to 16, 32 or even 160GB (if you had an iPod Classic) TWICE (from cracked iPod to computer, computer to new iPod) would take a prohibitively long time.

    So you’re screwed for the moment, I fear. If you’re coming up to the Apple Store up here, let me know and maybe we can get a run in or something!


    Comment by Kink | June 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I knew I could count on a level-headed response from you, Kink. :)

      For my part, I didn’t know that iPods can only sync with a certain computer, which now has me worried because Kelsey transferred all her stuff onto Jenn’s netbook. However, she lost THE ENTIRE BEATLES CATALOG she had meticulously loaded using her old Windows machine. (She. Was. PISSED.) We still have that machine, of course, and she’s planning to use it to put her John, Paul, George & Ringo back in place, since the netbook has no CD drive. Hopefully she can do that without requiring an iTunes sync.

      Alternate solution – Her iPod is mountable on my Ubuntu desktop. For some reason, I can’t get her computer to do the same thing – yet – but if worse comes to worse, I think she could use this machine for Beatles-to-iPod transfers.

      Comment by jrbooth | June 8, 2010 | Reply

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