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iPad 2 recalled in unknown quantity in US, thanks to shonky ID numbers

Some US customers have bought iPad 2s with a non-unique identifying code which could stop them connecting to the mobile network, prompting to Apple to recall the tablets.

Apple has slipped up and shipped a batch of US-bound iPad 2 tablets with non-unique IDs, prompting a limited recall, according to Reuters.

An "extremely small number" of devices destined for the Verizon network were given duplicate MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier) codes, an Apple spokeswoman admitted. As each mobile device is supposed to be uniquely identifiable, this can cause trouble when attempting to connect to 3G networks to send and receive data.

Though Apple initially contacted the news organisation to announce the problem, no other details have been forthcoming. We don't know how many iPad 2s are involved and neither Apple nor Verizon will reveal which ID numbers are affected. We're not entirely sure how easy it is to read off that number anyway.

The manufacturer advises that anyone experiencing problems connecting to their network should pop in to an Apple Store or phone the Apple customer helpline in order to get a free replacement.

None of this affects UK users. We're all connected to the GSM network, rather than CDMA, which is still in common use on some US mobile networks. Our phones and tablets are uniquely identified by an IMEI number instead.

Despite the frustration this will cause some iPad users (it could be dozens, hundreds or thousands -- perhaps we'll get a better idea on the forums in due course), it's a relatively rare ballsup for Apple. It'll probably be reading the riot act to one of its component manufacturers, but Apple will take the blame and the cost.

The issue is unlikely to be as severe as antennagate, which Apple claimed was exaggerated. Other minor hardware issues have affected Apple in the past, as with any manufacturer, yet the company tends to be given a hard time because of the demanding nature of its fans. At least this recall isn't dangerous -- your iPad won't overheat and explode all over you.

These US iPad 2 defects could, however, increase the enviably low 2 per cent return rate Apple currently enjoys.