Wow, a new device.
People worked really hard on this.
It sucks. Don't buy it.
I think so.
There is no real reason that I can think of that Apple has not offered LTE Macs that makes sense besides avoiding carrier lock-in.
"Would you like your Mac with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint?"
Just hearing that question makes me feel queasy, as I'm sure it does to anyone involved with creating Macs. It dilutes the Mac's image and creates a confusing and frustrating buying experience. The introduction of the Apple SIM, however, could allow LTE Macs that avoid lock-in.
The Perfect Mac Might Be Incoming
I believe that Apple potentially has the perfect Mac in the oven with the rumored 12" MacBook Air with Retina display, thinner fan-less design, and a much more efficient processor. How amazing would it be to have this mythical MacBook Air come with an LTE option and an Apple SIM?
Think about it: a MacBook Air with 12 hours of battery life, Retina display, always-on super-fast LTE connection that could flip back and forth between whatever carrier you desire (if AT&T and Verizon can get their act together).
Apple would have to make sure the software side was perfect — OS X would need some great and intuitive controls for controlling what apps are able to use cellular data. It would be a terrible experience if iTunes downloaded an entire season of Breaking Bad over your limited data plan.
When Verizon sneakily released VoLTE shortly after the iPhone 6 was launched, I almost had a heart attack out of excitement. This has been my number one feature request since I got an iPhone 4 on Verizon in 2011.
If you don't know, VoLTE enables the iPhone to do simultaneous voice and data over LTE and enables higher quality sound due to better audio encoding. Roll your eyes, GSM iPhone users, I know you've had it for years. Let me get excited. I will have you know that I get full LTE speed (instead of measly "4G" like you, so ha!
I rely on my iPhone for 100% of my business. If you don't know, I am an Apple consultant for Appinstructor in Birmingham, AL, where I do full-time in-home training and support. My normal day consists of heavy navigation (to get to the homes I service), phone calls (which normally occur in-between appointments and while navigating), answering emails in the few minutes of down time I have between appointments, and taking payments after appointments using Square. On top of that, I also use my iPhone to look up solutions to technical problems, find new apps, and keep track of tasks.
I literally run my entire business on my iPhone.
I am truly and completely iPhone dependent with my business, and if I think about it, I am completely Internet dependent as well. New appointments show up on my Google Calendar through my YouCanBookMe public facing schedule on my website.
On Verizon without VoLTE, my access to the Internet is obliterated every time I answer a phone call. As you can guess, this has the possibility to destroy my productivity. I can't book new appointments. I can't see new appointments. My current navigation can't re-route if I miss a turn during a call (which has almost been catastrophic).
I figured I would be a good test candidate for trying out VoLTE from someone who stands to benefit the most from it. Here is my take.
Amazing Audio Quality
Audio quality on a normal call is a touch better, even when talking to someone that does not have VoLTE enabled.
Audio quality when talking to someone with VoLTE (right now, only other Verizon customers) is OMG better, with audio quality comparable to FaceTime Audio. It simply sounds like you're in the room with the person on the other end of the line.
Insane Data Speeds While Talking
During my limited testing in Birmingham, AL, LTE speeds during a call were about 90-95% of what they were while not on a call.
The way I tested this was to run a speed test and record the results, then call a number and run the same speed test in the same location.
I haven't tested everywhere in Birmingham, AL where I live, but I have gotten speeds up to 60-70Mbps while also on a phone call and driving 55mph, which is incredible in my book.
Lots More Dropped Calls
One downside to VoLTE is that it has opened up a whole new world of black spots of coverage and dropped calls.
Since enabling VoLTE for the last month, I've dropped more calls than the entire other time I have been a Verizon customer — 10 years. It's a little disconcerting.
I believe it's because VoLTE calls require higher throughout due to the higher quality encoding, and because the calls do not drop down to 1x as a fallback. It requires 2 bars or higher of LTE, in my anecdotal experience, to maintain a VoLTE call. Even when I'm static, having one 1 bar of LTE isn't enough to maintain a good connection in some places.
I'm a little surprised they didn't build in backwards compatibility, or at least have a call use 1x instead of LTE when it notices there is low signal. It seems to be all or nothing — if you have LTE, it uses VoLTE. If not, it doesn't.
Is It Worth the Extra Dropped Calls? Yes.
VoLTE is by far the most transformational technology to hit Verizon iPhone customers since the iPhone came out in 2011. It has completely changed the way I work in every way. People on other networks are used to dropped calls, so it doesn't shock or surprise anyone when I have to call them back because my call dropped.
The fact that it took Verizon and Apple this long to figure this out is a little annoying, but I'll get over it.
During a call, I now can simultaneously book appointments, enter new destinations for navigation, take payments (hasn't happened yet, but I imagine it could), search my email inbox history, Google solutions, and check my calendar for new appointments. It has completely changed the way I do business, and has resulted in a huge boost to the quality of the phone support and responsiveness, because I am not afraid to take a phone call anymore because it no longer cuts off the lifeline of my business.
Well, now that I think about it, I could have just switched to AT&T if I wanted all of these benefits ;) But that's not the point.
If you break your iOS device screen, all hope is not lost.
First of all, that really stinks! I've broken screens before and it's never any fun. Fortunately, Apple has actually made it extremely easy to get a screen repaired or replaced. I'm writing this article because I want to get the word out there.
Here's my guide explaining what to do if you crack your screen.
1. Check Your Warranty Status
Head over to Apple's warranty checker to check your status. There are three possible outcomes:
- Out of warranty
- 1st year manufacturers warranty
- Covered by AppleCare+
Out Of Warranty
If you are out of warranty, don't freak out. You can still get a replacement at the Apple Store, and I strongly encourage you to let Apple handle it. I'll go into that more later.
1st Year Manufacturer's Warranty
If you're under the manufacturer's warranty, you still have to pay the same replacement cost as being out of warranty, as the 1st year warranty doesn't cover accidental damage. There is a replacement cost list below.
If you have AppleCare+, go you! You payed $99 with your device and can get a replacement at an Apple Store or through AppleCare for $50-80, depending on the device. I have a full list of repair costs listed below.
Note: Hairline Cracks Are Covered Under Warranty
One type of break is actually covered by warranty if you go to an Apple Store — a hairline crack. As of 2014, Apple considers a hairline crack to be a defect in the glass and will replace the device for free within the first year, or within the first two years if you purchased AppleCare+ (Apple's extended warranty plan).
The way you know if you have a hairline crack is that it is a single line. If there is any other sign of damage or an obvious place of impact, the Family Room Specialist (the guys/gals who service iOS devices in Apple Stores) will not cover it under warranty.
If your device has multiple cracks or a spider web crack, you will have to pay the full replacement cost.
2. Backup Your Device (If Possible)
Make sure that you are backed up to either iTunes or iCloud so that when you take the step to get your device replaced, you are also able to get your photos and personal data back as well.
To backup to iTunes, plug in your iOS device to a PC or Mac with iTunes installed and press "Backup" on the device summary screen.
Tip: If you encrypt your backup, you do not have to enter your passwords again. Just don't forget your encryption password, or you won't be able to get your information back!
To backup to iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup (iOS 7) or Backup (iOS 8) and press "Backup Now". If you don't have enough storage, you can always buy more storage, which Apple just recently made a lot more affordable.
Apple can replace your device all day long, but they can't replace your photos or memories.
3. Get It Replaced At An Apple Store
Please, for the love of all that is sacred, take it to an Apple store or call AppleCare.
Do not take it to the mall kiosk guy, the iRepairFixBreakYouFixit place, your local gas station that does iPhone repairs, or some whizz-kid that can do it in his lair. Here's why:
Apple will replace your device for a reasonable cost — while maintaining your current warranty status. If you are out of warranty, Apple will actually give you a 90 day warranty on the new device.
Tip — Mixed Warranty Repair
If you are still under AppleCare, AppleCare+, or the 1 year manufacturer's warranty and you have a broken screen AND another issue that is covered under warranty, Apple will actually replace your device for free — IF the other issue is not in any way connected to the screen break.
For example, if your lock button is jammed (top of device) and the bottom of your screen is cracked, it's up to the Family Room Specialist to make the call on whether or not the lock button issue is or is not related to the screen break. A good FRS likes to make customers happy, and will actually look for opportunities to do this. It's really fun to make someone's day. They just need to justify it.
There is no use in trying to push through to management or by throwing a fit and being a jerk to get your way. In a well-run Genius Bar, the management will always take the side of the technician unless the technician is acting outside of the spirit of Apple service, which is to do the best thing for the customer at all times.
Apple Washes Their Hands Of Your Device If You Go Somewhere Else
If you take it somewhere else to get it fixed, Apple sees that as you taking service of the device into your own hands and won't touch it anymore. Your only option, if anything else goes wrong, is to go back to the person who fixed it on the cheap, buy a brand new device (for $500-700 — ouch!), or buy a used one on eBay.
I saw countless customers who had their screen replaced somewhere else come in because it wouldn't turn on anymore, and had to tell them that we wouldn't repair it.
Another thing to note is that on the iPhone 5 and up, there is a semi-complex calibration process that must occur on the MultiTouch, Proximity Sensor, and Display that uses a highly specialized, custom array of equipment that ONLY an Apple store has. So getting your iPhone 5 and up screen replaced somewhere else can cause major problems down the road if you don't let Apple fix it.
It's SO Obvious You've Had It Fixed By Someone Else
You may think, "Oh, they'll never know I got it done somewhere else." You would be wrong :)
The Apple Store iOS technicians see hundreds of devices every week and can sniff out a third-party job a mile away.
Realistically, I'd say about 1 in every 1,000 would get through. Realistically.
So please, please, please — do not get it repaired anywhere else. Pony up and let Apple handle it. You will be much better off for it.
Don't Do It Yourself
You can literally die if you try to replace the screen of an iPhone or iPad yourself and you don't know what you're doing. I'm not kidding.
The battery is very soft and squishy and isn't protected by anything else besides the outer enclosure. If you so much as barely dent the battery or puncture it, it will burst into flames and spew poisonous gas into the room. Lithium-Ion batteries are extremely volatile when disturbed.
You can burn down your house, injure yourself, and/or die.
Don't do it.
4. Mail It In To AppleCare
If you are far away from an Apple Store, you can still get help. You can set up a mail-in repair through AppleCare by calling 1-800-APL-CARE (1-800-275-2273) or go to getsupport.apple.com .
Apple's GetSupport site just got revamped and it is amazing. I highly recommend going there for more information.
One thing to note is that if AppleCare sends you the device first, they will charge you the full cost of the device as collateral until they receive your broken device in return. It's kind of a bummer, but it's the way the world works.
Screen and Total Replacement Costs
These prices apply if you replace your device through an Apple Retail Store or mail it in through AppleCare. These prices are competitive with what the guy on the street can do it for.
Here's a breakdown of each device and its replacement cost.
As of September 2014.
Note: there is a $6.95 cost added for shipping if you mail it in.
Interesting Things to Note About Repairs and Pricing:
1. You can still get original iPads replaced, although it's not worth it.
2. As of Summer 2013, Apple was still replacing Original iPhones, but I think most of them have gone "Vintage" by now. (Vintage is Apple's way of saying that after 5 years they won't service it anymore. I may be wrong about this, somebody correct me).
3. It is cheaper to get an iPhone 6 display replaced than getting an iPhone 5, 5C, 5s, or 6 Plus display replaced. It's also only $10 more than getting a 3G or 3GS display replaced.
4. It costs $30 more to replace an iPhone 6 Plus than an iPad Air.
5. These repair costs are agnostic to storage models. For example, it's the same cost to replace a 128GB iPad Air as it is to replace an 16GB iPad Air. This also applies to iPhones.
6. Although the AppleCare+ is still $99, it costs $79 to do an AppleCare+ replacement for iPhones 5 and up, while it only costs $49 to replace all iPads. I think this speaks to the fact that the iPhone is often a more expensive device (a new iPad Air 16GB is $499 whereas a new iPhone 6 in 16GB is $650 at full price).
7. Apple has been known to bend rules when it comes to replacing devices. For example, there were a few months where our store was supply constrained for 3GSs and started replacing customers' 3GSs with iPhone 4s. Same thing happened with the 4 and 4S.
8. These prices do change rapidly, and I will do my best to keep them updated.
Great tip from my buddy, Rick Stawarz.
I don't think I've ever seen a more powerful, emotional, and flawless music performance in my entire life.
I am completely dumbfounded and weepy, 10 minutes after watching it. The emotions are real.
Sam Smith singing "Lay Me Down" live on SNL. Enjoy.
Buy his album if you haven't already.
As of last night, at way-too-late o'clock, Overthought.org became Scottyloveless.com. Don't worry, nothing else besides the logo and URL are changing.
Why, you ask?
Because I wanted to :)
Okay, I'll give you a bit more. Partially because I was bored, and partially because I wanted a logo that I designed myself, and not one I randomly picked from Squarespace Logo (which is totally awesome if you suck at design, like me).
The logo was inspired by this doodle I used to draw on everything because my name starts with "S":
Anyways, happy Monday!
This simple repair can keep you from having to buy a new MacBook charger.
I love my cats, but their favorite things to chew are white, cord-like objects. In other words, all of my Apple chargers are constantly in danger.
My grey cat, Gracie, chewed on my MacBook Pro charger over 6 months ago and it has slowly worn to the point where it won't charge anymore. For those of you that know, a new MacBook charger is a whopping $80.00 1. Not something I want to shell out.
So I decided, enlisting the help of my Dad, to fix it myself. I documented the journey with some macro photography to bring all of you along.
Before we get started, let me cover the not-so-fun stuff first.
A Word About Liability
You are using this guide at your own risk. I am not liable for any damages, bodily harm, or any other ill effect that may come upon you or your property due to following this guide. By reading this article and putting these steps into practice, you release me of any legal responsibility for your own actions, or the effects of those actions, positive or negative.
Anyways, on to the repair.
Step 1: Verify This Guide Will Fix Your Type of Break
This guide only works for cables that are severed in the middle of the cable, not at the base (next to the white brick). I have not tried a repair that connects to the brick, but if I find a way, I will post it.
Step 2: Attain All Needed Tools and Parts
If you do not have any of these tools, you can pick them up at any hardware store, or you can buy them off the links here. I just used my Dad's [t]rusty tools.
- Wire Stripper ($8.15 on Amazon)
- Butt Connector - 22-18 Gauge ($2.99 from RadioShack)
- Wide(ish) Pliers ($4.75 Amazon Add-On, or in a $22 Set)
- White Electrical Tape ($6 on Amazon)
Step 3: Make a Clean Cut
Step 4: Strip the Outer Cable Shielding
Step 5: Pull Back the Shielding/LED Braid
Step 6: Strip the Inner Power Cable
Step 7: Stick Both Sides of Cable Into Butt Connector Holes
Step 8: Crush the Butt of the Butt Connector, Connecting the Power Cables
Step 9: Test the Cable
Plug it in. If it works, move to step 10. If it doesn't, recheck your work and try again. Make sure the shielding is touching when you test it out.
Step 10: Wrap Once Vertically With Electrical Tape
Step 11: Wrap Horizonatally Around Cable with Electrical Tape
Step 12: Profit
Congratulations, you just saved yourself a bunch of money.
- Little known fact: If you make a Genius Bar appointment and take your broken charger, they can replace it for a reduced price, $60. ↩
I have fallen off the horse of writing, and it is difficult to get back on. I have plenty of excuses right now, some of which may be legitimate.
But every day I don't write gnaws at my insides like a zombie from the Walking Dead.
I've pinpointed the source of all of my procrastination — the expectations of others. Every time I set others up to expect something from me, I freak. Somehow I have let the fear of disappointing others dictate my choices on a daily basis.
This has got to stop.
My source of inspiration: an incredible Tedx Talk from the father of GTD, David Allen. He has the gift of enlightenment.