Ready for an absolute stumper, boys and girls? Have I got one for you. Here's the dealio: I backup to iCloud with all my iOS devices (iPhone 5, iPad mini). I pay for extra storage, in fact. I've never had a problem with it. Last night, I visited the Genius Bar due to a "speck" appearing on all of my images taken with my iPhone 5 camera. The Genius happily offered to swap my iPhone out, which I had anticipated. I already had an iCloud backup taken from earlier in the day. After verifying that I did have a backup, we wiped my old iPhone 5 and the Genius offered to help load my iCloud backup on my new iPhone 5. I politely declined, as my iCloud backup is huge and I'd rather do it from the comfort of home (and my 50 megabit connection) instead of loitering around the Apple Store. He completely understood, we shake hands, and he sends me on my way. I arrive home, and go through the Setup Assistant until I get to the point where I restore from iCloud backup. I type in my iCloud username (firstname.lastname@example.org) and password and... I type it in several times, painstakingly, letter-by-letter, ensuring that it's right. Won't work. So, I fire up Safari on my iMac and swing over to http://appleid.apple.com/. I figure my password's expired or something is not right with my account and that site will tell me. I log right in with no problems and everything looks good. All my information is correct, I've set security questions, the whole nine yards. You would never know there's a problem from visiting that site. For kicks, I changed my password anyways, thinking maybe it's locked out or something. Same error on the iPhone Setup Assistant. I finally decided to bypass the iCloud restore for the time being and just get into the phone. The next step of Setup Assistant asks me to sign into iCloud to automatically set up my iMessage and FaceTime. Again, same error message. Fine, I'll just bypass that, too. So, I finally get through Setup Assistant and get into iOS. Once I'm in iOS, I visit the Settings.app, and lo and behold, I can log into iCloud, FaceTime, iMessage with my Apple ID without a problem. I even log into the App Store, and download a new paid app (and verify my billing information so Apple ties the serial # to me). Everything works fine. Only Setup Assistant has a problem with logging into my Apple ID. I realize I'm only on iOS 6.1 (and my iCloud backup is from 6.1.2), so I plug the new iPhone into iTunes on my iMac, and do a restore for iOS 6.1.2. Once it's done, I'm back in the Setup Assistant, it still won't accept my Apple ID password, despite it working fine EVERYWHERE else (included on the phone once you're through Setup Assistant). I called AppleCare, and had a shockingly poor experience. They answered quickly, but forced me to wait on hold for most of the call and after about 20-25 minutes, concluded I should just take the device back to the Apple Store and swap it again. They didn't have any answers. Luckily, I have a few other iOS devices laying around that run iOS 6 -- an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4. I powered them up, went into Setup Assistant, and had the exact same problem as on the iPhone 5. So, it's not a device-specific problem. Okay, so what do we troubleshoot next? Well, maybe it's my connection at home! That could be the issue. I took all of my devices to work, logged on the Wi-Fi there (which I've used countless times to restore from iCloud backups -- I'm a mobile device administrator), and again, same issue. It's pretty conclusive that something's wrong with my iCloud account, seeing as this issue is not device specific, nor connection specific, and it only occurs within the Setup Assistant. At this point, I'm pretty lost as to where to proceed from here. AppleCare was very unhelpful last night, but with the added information of it not being device, nor connection specific, perhaps I could press them harder to find a solution (since a device swap won't help). I could also go to the Genius Bar and pretty much refuse to leave until it's working. I am not sure what's my better choice at this point. The Apple Store is not far from my house, so I don't mind going there if need be. I'm just curious what you guys think would be most effective, or if you have any other suggestions for getting a resolution.