Complete nightmare activating in a medium business

Discussion in 'iPad' started by teasphere, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. teasphere macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    I have endured easily the single toughest and most time consuming rollout of any technology in recent memory with the iPad 2s in a medium-sized business. A month or so ago I had asked here for any tips or insight on incorporating iPads into a business and I didn't receive any responses so I just soldiered on. I was assigned an Apple Business Rep. and ordered the iPads.

    Upon receiving them I asked about the best way to go about activating them and was told that each should be activated with their own unique AppleID. I created six (which was the test deployment) and began activating them, when I got to the fourth iPad it would not let me continue and said to contact iTunes support. I did. After 7 hours on the phone and countless transfers and being told everything from "just return the rest of them" or "the iPad is really just a toy not a business tool" or "the iPad is not meant for business, just give them to the employees to setup themselves with their own ID" I was then told that only 3 could be setup to one address and payment method and that my info was locked and marked as potential fraud! I explained this was a business and they would all be the same address and they basically told me tough luck.

    Really? With as much advertising and promotion and claims of business integration there is no way Apple can get 6 iPads activated for one business easily? My favorite is that Apple themselves cannot contact iTunes support (not even the business side) any way aside from chat and that the iPad and iTunes depts. do not work in conjunction at all.

    Very disappointing.
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
  3. teasphere thread starter macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    I'm not dealing with consumer anything, and absolutely I did read and contact *business* contacts, as I mentioned I have a dedicated Apple Business rep. even and she has been powerless as well. I have spoken to managers in each *business* division even, and those are the responses received that I noted in my post.
  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Sounds like you're getting crap service from your rep but what homework did you do? Posting here isn't homework. The links I provided give you all the information you need to roll out iPads to a large number of people.
  5. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008
    I activated 100 pilot iPads in about 15 minutes. We have since grown to about 2000 iPads. Um, maybe it was user error.
  6. blesio macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    If I worked like you OP, in my company I would not have a job right now. Nice going, maybe this is a little to hard for you?
  7. teasphere thread starter macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    Not to sound harsh, but I run a fairly large company's IT dept. and I have run massive international IT depts. as well... please spare me. I have not just spoken to my rep but management in every business-oriented unit which I have been passed through repeatedly. I asked here to see what if any real-world pitfalls or tips folks may have had, not to do my job for me.

    As for your links, have you looked at them? If you do you will see that actual activation is indeed glossed over and the ONLY stated solution is "Self-Service Setup" which is what Apple also gave as a response. Their words:

    "Self-service setup
    Configuring iPad for access to corporate services is simple for users. Deliver iPad directly to their desk and users can manually enter settings or install a configuration file to setup the device automatically and ensure their iPad is secure and ready for work."

    Manually entering their settings is not valid in many businesses and the certificate option is not actually useful in our environment.

    I can appreciate that it might seem like a very simple task (I would have thought so too) or that it might be on my end, but I have been in direct contact with three high-level support folks for 3 days now with no resolution so it is not that simple or trivial and they themselves have admitted they have a very poor setup for dealing with enterprise customers.


    PhoneI, did you use the VPP option or did you have the users activate their own devices?
  8. teasphere thread starter macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    OK, nevermind, obviously this is going to go nowhere.

    Apple themselves admit to a major issue that they themselves are unable to resolve, yet folks here assume it could never be them. Without knowing or asking the actual specific details it must be instantly assumed that *I* am an imbecile. Stay classy.
  9. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Majority of the fortune 100 companies use iOS devices.

    That's surely because someone said it's difficult to set up.

    Let's see:
  10. Mdifilm macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2010
    Did you set the iTunes as activation only mode?
  11. DaLurker macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2006
    Why are you guys giving the OP such a hard time? He probably isn't an idiot.

    On the other hand OP, what's your question? If you're looking for help then you should probably ask a question. If you're here to rant, expect some of the above responses.

    PhoneI: Perhaps you can share with us how you activated 100 iPads in 15 minutes, I'm sure the OP and others can benefit from your experience.
  12. dvdlovr24 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2008
    Just hook the iPad up to itunes to unbrick it and then give the iPad to the employee for them to register it. Problem solved.
  13. HitchHykr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2007
    I have no clue how easy or difficult it would be to setup multiple iPads for an enterprise, but I find it hard to believe that any Apple rep would say this:

    I think that's why some other posters are jumping all over the OP.
  14. jsh1120, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

    jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    I, too, find it difficult to imagine that Apple reps would respond in the manner characterized by the OP. On the other hand, I, and I suspect most of us, have been caught in a nightmare of phone transfers and hours of talking to the "wrong people" about a technology issue, especially if its a non-routine case. As this appears to be.

    I've also had many unpleasant experiences with "sales" people who promise extensive "support" but have virtually no understanding or backup for that support. Thankfully, I'm not in the same position as the OP and have never required more than typical consumer customer support from Apple. But my experience with a number of other technology firms suggests this kind of massive cluster**** can occur if you're talking to sales rather than professional IT support staff. And from his description, I have a feeling that might be the case for the OP. (The clue from the OP post is "spending seven hours on the phone with iTunes. I doubt very seriously that support staff at iTunes are equipped to deal with the issues he encountered.)

    Furthermore, I have it almost as difficult to believe that setting up "100 iPads in 15 minutes" is an accurate statement. Again, I haven't had to deal with large scale deployments of Apple products but if that's really possible I'd expect it to be a feat widely publicized on the internet and the professional IT press. In my experience it would be miracle.

    In short, I'm sure that mass deployment of iPads is possible (although I suspect that 100 iPads in 15 minutes is hyperbole.) But I strongly suspect that the OP was directed (via the iPad software) to the WRONG people to handle his problems, i.e. iTunes support. From there on, I suspect the entire experience deteriorated.

    The OP didn't ask for guidance. Giving him the benefit of the doubt I think he was just venting...understandably. But if I were to offer any guidance, I'd suggest he contact the "Business Rep" through whom he ordered the iPads and start over. If he cannot get satisfaction through that channel, I'd recommend he work up the "sales chain." And in no event should he try to deal with iTunes staff who are focused on individual consumer issues to resolve a corporate deployment problem.

    P.S. I suspect the OP may have abandoned this thread. But if he hasn't, and I'm assuming it's a "he," I, for one, would appreciate hearing how this case turned out. Having been responsible for the same sort of work in a previous life in a small/medium business I often found that I had to yell loudly to get the same sort of support accorded routinely to large corporations. I'd be interested in knowing more about Apple's treatment of relatively small corporate accounts.
  15. bocomo macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    New York
    This guy's blog could offer some help. He's managing ipad deployment at a school
  16. teasphere thread starter macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    Well I will respond only to clear a few things up. The issue is with activation and attaching them to a corporate card and pre-loading the specific app they are intended for. We were instructed by Apple that this was possible and they went through our needs and claimed there were no issues as we had planned our deployment. Due to the nature of the business and the specific use for this iPad deployment it is not possible to hand them out and let the user activate or load the app. I made all of this clear ahead of time and went through, in detail, our intentions and needs. They gave their recommendations and we followed them.

    After 3 successful activations and loading the app, we went to do the 4th and were presented with a red "Contact iTunes Support to complete activation" and we could not create the AppleID or activate it. Apple could not figure out the issue and transferred me for 5 hours ultimately ending up back at the first person I spoke with which was the person who told us to "Just return them." And that we would be unable to activate any more because our account was locked as fraudulent because of "too many activations to one payment method and billing address." And that it would take 48 hours to have it unlocked but still no more could be activated. After 2 more hours they stated they could unlock the account in 30 minutes, which they did. However they stated we could activate no more and this was when I spoke with the highest level support/management and they told me directly the other two things I quoted. I explained this was all unacceptable, especially since we had followed their instructions and went over this all before the purchase.

    They sent us free iPad docks to say "sorry." No actual resolution, just iPad docks.

    Then they pointed us to their VPP (Volume Purchasing Plan) and claimed it was the solution and they had mistakenly gave us bad info initially. I signed up, it still did not allow us to activate them as we had explained and they claimed it was a new program and there were issues.

    I do not dispute that in an environment where the iPad can be given to the user to activate on their own with their own ID and payment that all of this would be a non-issue. However, that is not suitable in our situation.

    Activation-only mode was discussed up front and it too would not work in our case because we needed to load the app and pre-configure it before handing out the iPad.

    The issue is that the iPad is still very much a consumer product and the activation requirements and iTunes integration is not ideal or suited for the enterprise. Apple reps *multiple* times fully admitted to this and that *many* companies have hit activation/deployment snags. The fact that iTunes is required and that there is no way to call iTunes support (not consumer or business, not even within Apple) is also ridiculous for medium, large, or enterprise customers.

    Apple's own solution for us at this point is to use gift cards to activate the rest and get around the payment/billing address restrictions. Which is insane, but one of the few options we have. If someone knows how we can activate multiple iPads to one business, with unique AppleIDs, and one corporate card as the payment method... Please share it, because Apple themselves do not have a solution.

    Hopefully that clears things up.
  17. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    Thanks for the more complete explanation. Your story does ring true, at least in terms of nightmares I experienced over the years (not with Apple; they're not alone.)

    There are reasons, other than price, that businesses (and government organizations) frequently prefer to deal with the "wholesale" side of hardware vendors rather than the "retail" side. And there are reasons that despite years (now decades) of trying to crack the large business/government market, Apple continues to be a minor player in that arena.

    Personally, I've found iTunes to be easy to deal with as an individual consumer. But I suspect that you've hit the nub of the problem; it is not an organization designed to deal with enterprise level support even if Apple as a whole is trying to ramp up that portion of their organization.

    I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that if you were a Fortune 1000 corporation (or the Department of Defense) and had purchased 5000 iPads you would not have had the same experience. What I found over the years is that small and medium size organizations are most susceptible to problems like yours. Too large to be supported like individual consumers and too small to be treated as a "special case."
  18. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Not knowing the details of your set-up, I can't say this for sure, but it seems to me that maybe each device doesn't need a separate Apple ID. For home use, I have multiple iPads, iPhones and iPods all set up with the same Apple ID. Are you positive that you can't just have one corporate Apple ID for all your devices?
  19. dustinl4m3 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    Above anything else, I think that it's clear that many posters here have not ever dealt with the realities of interacting with a large, corporate company. And if they have, they have only a tiny slice of experience.

    Companies, like Apple, are staffed by humans that are imperfect and make mistakes. I myself had a weeks-long, nightmarish time dealing with Apple's developer support regarding an issue that should have been handled in a single telephone call.

    Stuff like this *does happen* and I find it comical that so many defend Apple like they can do no wrong. Everybody screws stuff up.

    I think that it is useful that the OP shared his experience with us. What utility is there in a site loaded with candy-coated drivel? He shared his experience. I see no reason to call him a liar. He didn't claim to be from a Fortune 500, but a medium business which is still a very important segment of the ecosystem.

    "It Just Works" is only true part of the time - it's marketing.
  20. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    We had zero problems where I work. All the office types have their iPads, they connect to the exchange server, they run custom built internal apps, all is good (except for a few clutzes who banged them up already, hence why cases are on order even though IMO they should have been on order since day one).

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