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June 13, 2011

Apple Recalls ‘Extremely Small’ Number of Verizon iPad 2 Tablets

Apple recalled an unspecified number of Verizon-carried iPad 2 tablets because of connectivity issues related to their mobile equipment identifier codes.

Late last week, a number of people reported in online forums that their iPad 2s were being returned to China mid-shipment, prompting rumors of a recall. After getting shipment notification for an iPad 2 from FedEx, some who had placed orders received a delivery exception notification that Apple had requested the unit’s return.

9to5 Mac first brought the issue to light on Thursday, with a number of readers confirming via e-mail or comments on the initial blog post.

One such reader, a recent iPad 2 purchaser from Louisville, Kentucky, said:
I bought an iPad2 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 (which I believe are hardcoded into the device) 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.
An Apple spokesperson confirmed this and the limited recall, saying, “Duplicate MEID codes were flashed onto an extremely small number of iPad units for the Verizon 3G network.” An MEID is a one-of-a-kind numerical code that is used to identify a mobile device when it connects to a CDMA network, which is why only the Verizon units were affected.

Apple unveiled its second generation tablet earlier this year, and the device originally went on sale March 11. Network connectivity is available in three options: Wi-Fi only, or 3G service provided by either AT&T or Verizon.

An Apple Store employee commented on instructions for identifying the affected tablets:
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 exact number of affected units has not been released, but Apple is in the process of replacing affected iPad 2s with new ones.