Morning at Apple store (or “No SIM” sign of death)

Today I would like to share something different: My first real service call regarding my iPhone 4 and the help I received at the Apple store. The story begins like every good story with a happy moment (and also has a not too bad ending).

First thing first, the opening scene. Remember late June this year? The first day of iPhone 4 and the long lines in the Apple Store and stores running out of devices?

Well, I was not there. I was not standing in long lines and I did not get my first iPhone on that very first day. I waited…and waited…and waited for whole full week. And than I went to an Apple Store near my home and just walked and picked-up a brand new iPhone 4. No line. No hassle. Just the way I like it…Happy I came home and started to experience phone like I never did before. I am an old time BlackBerry Curve user but could not really use it for more than email and phone calls. With the iPhone I started to surf the web (well only for sites without Adobe things), and started to explore the ocean of available applications (and again, assuming they are approved by Apple) and games (same). It is the first time I really enjoying mobile devices for more than talk and email but for pleasure. Really, really fun!

And now for scene two. The not so fun: My first issue was when trying to use the phone as a phone. Apparently I am one of those people that do not know how to hold the iPhone correctly while talking. I got the disconnects all the time…but $30 fixed that. I went back to the Apple store and bought the bumper on my own expense. Later I got a notification about the refund so that was ok, I guess.

And here we get to the real issue. Issue number two. About a week ago I picked up the phone and there was no reception. Or at least that is what I thought. Looking closer I saw a message saying “No SIM”. I thought to myself – I know that there is a SIM card somewhere but were is it?? I had no idea and my phone was basically dead.

iPhone 4 "No SIM" sign
iPhone 4 "No SIM" sign

I went back to the Apple Store. This time the kid at the shop looked at the phone and said that this is a well known issue (good to know). He pulled some sort of secret key, inserted it to the side of the phone and voilà SIM card appears out of nowhere. He took it out, reset the iPhone, clean the SIM and inserted it back. He hands me the iPhone and said that the device is now working. I looked at it and indeed reception is back. However I am in the computer business and know our long time support tricks, “do a reset and it will be ok”. Our support guys are just buying time and hoping that next time someone else will have to take care of the issue.

I asked the guy what to do if the problem will appear again and he said that in that case I should setup a meeting with a “Genius” and he will surely solve any problem.

I went home and 30 minutes later the problem showed up again. This time I googled the issue and fair enough. Multiple people reported that problem. Many of them went to Apple store and got the same story. Some of them suggest to “do it yourself” and patch the SIM tray (see this article Fixing iPhone 4 “No-Sim” problem). However, some of them got the machine replaced.

"Do it yourself" fix for iPhone 4 No-SIM
"Do it yourself" fix for iPhone 4 No-SIM

With no other alternative I setup a meeting with the “Genius” for the following day and went back to the Apple store. Starting to get annoyed. The “Genius” was polite but started to do the same things… Pick the secret key, take the SIM out and all the rest. I stopped him and told him that we did all of this already and that it does not work. Also, I told him that I googled the issue and others reported that it has to do with a defected iPhone and that they need to replace it. The guy seemed embarrassed and admitted that this is indeed a hardware issue and that the only way to “fix” it is to replace the machine. And that is what he did! He gave me a new iPhone and inserted my old SIM.

Last part, the not so bad ending. I went home. Synced the iPhone with my iTune. iTune asked whether I this is a replacement and should it re-load all the content (including the contact list). I approved ad everything is working since. No real complain about the “Genius” work and about the support, but…

What I have is an unease feeling that they know something I do not. For me Apple seems like this “DR. Jekyll and MR. Hyde”. They build the most amazing products. Fun and stylish and cool and best. We are all too used for Apple to come every few years with yet another life changing device. However, they seems to have this other side. This nasty conglomerate culture. For example, I have no idea if the “No SIM” issue is something that happened in few devices or millions. Same as I did not know if the iPhone disconnects are my iPhone issue or is it a global issue until it was publicly reported by multiple media groups and forced Apple to semi-admit that there is an issue.

Is it just me or is it that Apple became just a little bit too all mighty?

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Author: dave

Consider myself kid in soul and naive by choice. I am interested in people, technology and business and thrive when they all work together. My favorite quote and motto is that “You can fool some people some times but you cant fool all the people all the time” ― Bob Marley

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