Apple Recalls, Replaces Some Verizon iPads

Some iPad 2s show up with duplicate mobile equipment identity numbers, can't connect to Verizon Wireless' CDMA network. Updated with comment from Apple.
Apple iPad 2 3G Teardown
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Slideshow: Apple iPad 2 3G Teardown
Apple support forums have been flooded with users complaining about iPad 2s that won't connect to Verizon Wireless's CDMA 3G network. After the story first broke, an Apple Store employee reached out to 9to5Mac with an explanation.

The employee--who surely wasn't authorized to speak on Apple's behalf--said, "Apple has given all the stores a list of serial numbers to scan, if it's a match we were told to set aside and ship back to Apple, these are only for Verizon iPads. This was to be done on Monday and continue to scan all shipments thru June 11. I had over one hundred to send back."

The problem, apparently, is that a batch of iPads have shipped with duplicate MEIDs.

MEID, which is an acronym for mobile equipment identity, is a code required on all CDMA devices. Each and every CDMA device--be it a phone or a tablet--has a unique identifier so the network knows what it is. This number can also be used to help track down a lost or stolen phone.

There can't be two devices with the same MEID. Why not? Verizon's network will see the second MEID and think it is the one that is already activated. The end result is the problem being experienced by a number of Verizon Wireless iPad owners--they aren't able to connect to Verizon's 3G network at all.

Another reader sent in the following tip:

"I bought an iPad 2 on Wednesday (6/8) from the Apple Store in Louisville, Ky. It is a 16GB black Verizon 3G edition. Have been using it for past couple days on wi-fi and went to activate the 3G service on it today. Had trouble doing it on the iPad, so I called Verizon for assistance. They told me that there is a batch of iPad2's with duplicate MEID's out there and apparently I have one of them. Only way to fix is to bring my iPad2 back to the store for exchange to new iPad. I'm betting that is why people's iPads are getting flagged for return before they even hit their doorstep."

UPDATE: Apple has confirmed that the recall is indeed legitimate. It said in a statement, "Duplicate MEID numbers were flashed onto an extremely small number of iPad 2 units for the Verizon 3G network."

According to posts made in Apple's support forums and on the original 9to5Mac article, Apple stores are exchanging the non-connecting iPads for new ones.

In other words, a small hassle for the affected customers, but not a major problem.

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