Apple has a big ID/login problem.

Just got back from a very confusing holiday evening with the iPad Mini.

Problem #1: User has no clue what an Apple ID is. They have an iTunes login they created back in probably 2005 bound to an e-mail address they no longer use or have access to. They repeat a million times 'we aren't Earthlink anymore' and I try to explain yes well that doesn't matter. It's just a random name that actually has nothing to do with your e-mail address really. Response? 'yeah but we don't *use* Earthlink anymore' Not getting through to them. So doing a forgot my password reset results in? An e-mail being sent to Earthlink. Maybe they were right after all. It does matter. There seems to be no way to recover this password other than trial and error. It takes about 30 minutes for them to guess every password they have ever used (and type it correctly) but yes finally they can login. Now we have to go through the process of setting up an alternative e-mail address for password recovery and entering all the information for security questions. Finally we're done with this and I have to enter a credit card. I only wanted to install a couple apps just to show them how it's done. The user goes off to find their credit card. Data is entered and we're all done right? Nope.

Problem #2: User apparently has at least 2 iTunes accounts. When being confusing about 'not being Earthlink anymore' they created a new account and forgot about it. So probably half their music is on the wrong account. As far as I know there is no way to login to two iTunes accounts at once. So I explain to the user they can re-download half of their music from iTunes but the other half will need to be synced from their computer.

Problem #3: User apparently created yet another login for iCloud when they got a new Mac last year. Not a huge problem but we have to guess the password yet again.

Problem #4: User's spouse is super impressed with how his wife's bookmarks sync over. Since they plan to share the iPad he asks me how he can see his bookmarks. Of course he can't do this. I explain it can only really use one iCloud account at a time however they counter by saying they share an iTunes account already. I repeat that no it won't work. They suggest they share an iCloud account then. I explain this is probably not a very good idea. They want to do it anyway. Now back to the husband's Mac to delete his iCloud account. Guess what happens? I should have seen this one coming but yep... Syncs the wife's data to his computer. Now his beloved bookmarks are all screwed up. Address Book is a total mess.

So this is the point I make my exit and suggest they call Apple support. Apple is responsible for the mess let them deal with it. So whatever poor guy or gal over at Apple support has to deal with these two all I can say is tell your bosses what a nightmare this situation has become and make them fix it. It's absurd. Probably one of the worst 'out of box' experiences I've ever seen. I think Apple gets a lot of unfair criticism but on this particular point they can't be hammered enough. It's awful and they should be ashamed of themselves for all the confusion and pain they are putting users through. I'm sure this process will be repeated a few million times over the next 24 hours.