Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Boundarylessness

I spent over an hour yesterday switching my Apple ID from UK to US, all because we wanted to buy some songs from iTunes. This was the final piece in the puzzle for completing our transition to the US.

This should normally be a simple, straightforward activity. After all, isn’t most technology boundaryless - laptops, desktops, printers, ipods, ipads?

We had a couple of ipods when we lived in the UK. We bought songs from the iTunes store and downloaded these with ease. Just before our move, we even wisely pre-loaded the account with some money, just to guarantee access to things we need until we settle.

We recently exhausted our UK account balance with Apple (we were down to 57p) and decided to top up in the US. We bought the iTunes giftcard in Bestbuy and headed happily home. Fairly simple task, we assumed. We’ve done this loads of times before.

It wasn’t that easy.

The first problem – because of the balance of 57p in the UK, we couldn’t switch the account over to the US. We needed to exhaust the 57p first. The cheapest song on iTunes was 59p, so we needed to load an extra 2p to exhaust the UK account, before we could transfer. This orchestrated a frantic search in the house for a UK credit card, so we could load the required 2p (All the UK cards hadn’t been used since we arrived here 6 months ago).

The second problem – finding a UK credit card that hadn’t expired! This was a tough one, but we eventually found a card that we could use. Deciding what to buy was also tricky, bearing in mind that we all have different tastes. We ended up going for something by Black Eyed Peas and thus cleared the UK account. (The track we bought was 99p, so we did end up spending a bit more than our 2p goal)

The third problem – converting the account to the US region. Oddly enough, this proved to be most exasperating part of the process. Not sure why. I ended up typing in details for 3 different bank cards (16 digits to be typed each time!), before one was finally accepted. Success! 

We eagerly logged onto the account to shop. Our transition to living in America was complete! We live here now, we shop here! (I had to do a similar ‘transfer’ for our Dell computers, so I could keep the warrantees valid, but that’s another story)

My simple question is – how hard would it be to include a currency converter module in the underlying Apple script, that knows where I am and converts my balance to the currency of my current location – provided I answer all the security questions correctly?

Somehow the guys at Visa have managed to make Visa universal, because you can shop wherever the Visa sign is seen, regardless of where your account is held.....so maybe the same logic could be used....just maybe...

2 comments:

  1. Oh the joys of modern technology!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How about appliances being smart enough to reconfigure their region, once you connect to the Internet?

    ReplyDelete

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