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Apple really is becoming Microsoft...

Once we got our Genius at the Apple store he ran their canned diagnostics on the phone, told her there was nothing wrong, and that the problem, if there was one, must be due to a bad application.
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

If you're looking for another datacenter commentary for today, this isn't it, because this is completely off topic. But my experience at the Apple store today just really merited some comment.

I found myself at the not-too-local Apple store this morning, taking my 19 year old daughter to get her iPhone 3GS serviced. She had been on vacation last week and her 9 month old phone suddenly decided that the battery would last for only an hour or two, at best. She called me and I told her to just make an appointment at the local Apple store (less than 20 minutes from where she was vacationing) and that they should swap her phone for a refurb again (her first phone suffered a major failure less than two weeks after she received it).

She handed her phone to the Genius at the Apple Bar and after running diagnostics, they reset the phone to factory defaults and upgraded her to the latest dot release of iOS 4 and told her the problem was solved. If it happened again, she should go to any Apple store and they would happily replace the phone. Since they had not told her they were going to reset the phone, she was fortunate that she had her notebook with her and was able to restore her applications, and most importantly, her contacts.

Unfortunately, on the 20 minute car ride back to the hotel from the Apple Store, the phone lost 15% of its indicated power, so the problem clearly wasn't solved. This meant I had to do the Dad thing and deal with it when she got home. So off to the Apple store we went.

Once we got our Genius at the Apple store he ran their canned diagnostics on the phone, told her there was nothing wrong, and that the problem, if there was one, must be due to a bad application. She simply reintroduced it to the phone when she restored it after her last visit to an Apple store. He then proceeded to tell her that she needed to restore the phone to its factory defaults, upgrade to the latest version of iOS 4, reinstall all of the applications she had, and then re-enter all of her contact information manually, then configure any applications that required it. But that she wasn't to restore from backup since that was the problem.

Somewhat incredulously I joking replied "it's the old Windows repair solution; wipe the OS and reinstall everything from scratch." In return I got a blank look and the comment "Just reset everything to the factory defaults." Apparently the irony of the recommended solution was lost on our Genius. The fact that I had an identical problem with my iPhone that had been resolved by the phone being replaced was simply dismissed by him. He was certain that it was a corrupted application or user problem.

Now I don't know how many of you have 19 year old daughters (or are the 19 year old daughter) but my daughter runs her life on her iPhone. She has dozens, if not hundreds, of contacts stored on her phone,so re-entering all that data would not be a trivial task, nor does she have a hard copy backup of all that contact information, so she would have had to get all the data off the phone before she could begin the recommended process to repair it. So this was looking to be a daunting task for her and she was less than amused.

Attempting to head off a daughter explosion I proposed a possible resolution to the Genius; he would restore the phone to the original configuration, update the OS, we would leave with the phone and an appointment to come back an hour after he was done doing his "fix.' He was smug, but said that would work and he could get us back in about 2 hours later if we thought it was necessary. He would not be there, but he would put notes in the file so that whoever saw us could follow-up (we later found out he was one of the store's trainers, and only at the Genius Bar for the first hour each day).

So off to breakfast we went. Got back to the store about 90 minutes later, as the phone, doing the arduous task of sitting in my daughters purse while we ate breakfast, had lost about 30% of the battery power it had from the point the ‘fix" was applied.

Our new Genius, heard the story, said ‘Sounds like there's a problem, let me get you a new phone"and had us out of the store in 5 minutes. But had I not proposed my solution this would have been an ongoing problem that would have simply led to a very frustrated customer. And the irony of the proposed solution being a Windows-esque wipe and reinstall would have gone unnoticed.

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