Bodies dropped in a faint across the International Date Line yesterday and today as panicked iPad users received the "Not Charging" message in the upper right-hand corner of their brand new tablets.
Even ReadWriteWeb was not free of the need for smelling salts as one of our new iPad-owners followed her instinct and hooked the tablet up to her laptop in the same fashion she always has for her iPhone. That feeling that mixes acid running down your bones and your stomach dropping into your shoes was temporary if acute. A bit of rummaging and she plugged the proprietary charger in.
Endgadget reported that neither USB hubs nor Wingtel rings would charge the device either.
Apple's iPad support page on charging states that this is a result of insufficient power output from some computers, rather than a design fault. Further, if you put your iPad to sleep, it will charge up.
Either way, the charging constraint is an issue, mostly as it limits the available avenues to recharging on the go. But perhaps as important was the apparent failure in the company's user experience process. Not a hard ball to drop, given how intently a company and its teams live with the product they are developing, but an important one nonetheless. At the very least, the message "Not Charging" was inaccurate if not outright untrue.
Generally speaking, RTFM is not enough. Thinking through user experience, including testing by people outside the team, is mandatory. We will see if this sort of oversight will result in similar issues in the coming days.
Audrey Watters contributed to this report.