Apple and Starbucks – Honeymoon Over?

Something is going on between Apple and Starbucks. For a while, it seemed that they seemed to be getting closer, but now I think there might be trouble in paradise.

The Starbucks Icon in the iTunes WIFI store seems to be broken. For those of you who haven’t tried this feature, you get an extra Starbucks icon in iTunes whenever you are in a participating Starbucks.  When I first got my iPhone, I went to a Starbucks and tried it out.  The Starbucks page showed me the name of the Currently Playing song, a history of the last songs played, and links to find out more about the Song and Artists, and links to buy these songs in the iTunes WIFI store.

Users are reporting in many support forums and discussions that instead of seeing the Now Playing Starbucks screen when they touch the Starbucks Icon in iTunes WIFI Store, they see a never ending “Loading…” Screen.

Apple not only seems to be ignoring these threads, they seem to even be trying to remove Starbucks References on their Web pages. Even the links to the Starbucks agreement on are no longer there ( and reroute you here instead. A search on “Starbucks” on the Apple site shows you the preferred link to iTunes WIFI store, but takes you back to the same place as before. In fact if say “View All Search Results” after searching on the Apple page, all four top links take your right back to the same place. It’s as if they had removed references to Starbucks from everywhere but their support forum.

And there are lot of links there. All where people are saying that instead of getting a Starbucks page in the iTunes Store, their iPhone is just showing a screen with the word “Loading…” that goes on and on.

There are many other forums out there with people talking about this problem.  So far, I haven’t seen a published work-around or response from Apple.

After my first upgrade to 2.0.1, it stopped working. Each time I go into Starbucks now the endless “Loading…” screen.   Every 30 seconds or so I see a flash of the screen that is supposed to be showing, but it quickly goes right back to “Loading…” again.

I have been trying to pin point the issue. I have read that the older iTouch’s don’t seem to have this problem, but I have tested on both the iPhone 3G and the iTouch 2G and they both have the same issue.

Talking to support on both sides of this is getting me nowhere. Support on both sides of this issue don’t seem to be aware of the feature, never mind the problem. I talked to the Manager at the local Starbucks and they had no idea that the feature was even available. They had a “guy” that they used to fix their network problems, but he only came in when they called him. They seemed to think it was a non-issue and I could tell fixing this wasn’t there first priority.   So I called the Starbucks customer support and they said that it was an iPhone issue, not a Starbucks issue. They said they would talk to the local manager of my Starbucks and have them see what they could do. The follow up phone call I was promised never happened.

So then I tried calling Apple support.  At first, they too were confused about the feature even existing.  After explaining it to the Customer Support rep, they switched me to the iTunes Support group. This person said that it was a known problem and had to do with the way the network was configured at the Starbucks.  They sent me some links and encouraged me to go back to the Starbucks and get the Network Administrator to call Apple. I printed out the links (which really said nothing much) and tried again with the Starbucks. No Joy! This was about two weeks ago and it still is saying “Loading” each time I go.

Anyone else have any experiences to report on this? Please let us hear about it.