Apple Customer Service Part II

Well, this is a follow-up to my original post of how great Apple customer service is.

I own a Time Capsule, which is known to stop powering on after approximately 18months, and true to form, my time capsule died. I tried plugging it in various outlets, and none of them worked. Apple recently issued a recall for it, but sadly, my time capsule did not qualify. I figure I would make an appointment and see if they would make an exception.

Went to the Apple store, and after some diagnostics, they couldn’t get it to turn on either. However, since it wasn’t part of the recall, they couldn’t replace it at the store. Undeterred, I decided to call Apple technical support and see if they could do anything about it; Ten minutes later, they told me that they could process it through my AppleCare on my iMac. Within 2 days, a brand new Time Capsule was at my doorstep.

I’m always amazed at how forgiving and accommodating Apple is. After dealing with Dell and Verizon FiOS customer support (I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, that is how bad it is), it is refreshing to communicate with knowledgable people who will help you out. 🙂


Apple, Technology, Coding, and Me

Though I haven’t shared it with a lot of people, one of my long-term “goals” for a while has been to write an iPhone/iPad app. Finding time to work on it is the hardest part, between work, school, and life in general. However, it is not like things are ever going to get less hectic, so I just need to slowly make time to learn Objective C, Cocoa, and everything else I need to make a successful app.

I won’t be doing this myself (met someone else who is as big an Apple fan as me, haha), so we’ll be tackling it together. It’ll take a long while, and we still don’t have a complete picture of what the app will be, but that is still quite a bit away.

Relatedly, we will also be starting up a blog more devoted to tech based topics and issues. The whole iPhone 4 antenna topic has motivated me to research and write my opinion on technical topics, so this will be a way to hone our skills. Currently working on the layout and feel of things (at least for an initial release), I’ll let you know here when it is ready to go.

It is exciting (maybe the app we make is the next big hit), and being able to program is certainly not a bad skill to have in this day and age.

This Webcomic…

Accurately captures how I feel whenever I try to read comments from all the clueless people who post on any article having to do with Apple:

XKCD: Duty Calls

Webcomic from XKCD:

Apple to Hold iPhone 4 Press Conference

Well, now that is very interesting. Looks like Apple will be holding a press conference Friday at 1PM EST.  I’m stumped as to what Apple will announce (I still believe a recall is very unlikely).  Wonder what damage control they will employ to try and contain this situation and move on.

What I do know for sure is that tomorrow’s news cycle will be all about Apple and everyone’s predictions.  Until then, we wait and see.

iPhone 4 and the Antenna Issue

Ok, this antenna issue has gotten so far out of hand I feel the need to provide my viewpoint on the issue.  Let’s get the background information out of the way:

  1. I have had the iPhone 4 since launch.
  2. In their public release, Apple admitted that holding the phone in a certain area will cause loss of signal (true for most phones), and that the software governing how bars are displayed is not linear.
  3. Consumer Reports can not recommend the iPhone 4 (more on this later).

Let me start with my personal and anecdotal observations on the topic.  I have tried to replicate the death grip, and while I do drop in bars, my call and data quality have not dropped.  I literally held the death grip spot (and with a significant amount more force) than what a person normally holding it would use while talking on the phone for 30minutes.  While I was at 1 bar the entire time, my call quality was great, and did not drop the call once.  My findings are consistent with Anandtech’s testing.  Holding it in the death grip spot reduces it by 15-20dB.  I know quite a few iPhone 4 users, and none of them have experienced any problems.

I believe Consumer Reports took the opportunity to sensationalize the issue in order to get more web hits (Adding Apple to any blog increases your visitor count by at least 2-3 fold).  If you read the full report (which conveniently you have to pay for it), you will find a couple of interesting facts:

  1. Phoning and Message Quality – Very Good
  2. Voice Quality – Good
  3. Highest score out of any smartphone they have reviewed to date.

That is in conflict with their “Do not recommend” suggestion.  However, please do not misconstrue what I have written to mean that no antenna problem exists.  Because of the company Apple is, any slight fault is magnified to the nth degree.  Some points to consider:

  • Lost of reception does not mean that the iPhone is a “glorified iPod touch”.  In the real world, this affects a very small, yet very vocal minority.
  • The use of a case mitigates this entirely.  I know people don’t like to hear that excuse, but a majority of people use cases.
  • It will truly only affect people who are in areas with lower reception.
  • In a lot of videos, people are cupping it very tightly, which just isn’t representative of how we hold the phone in everyday use.
  • In the testing conducted by Anandtech, the iPhone overall has better reception, as it is able to better hold signals at lower signals.

Will some people be affected by this issue?  Yes.  Will a significant majority of people have improved call quality and reception?  Also yes.  Personally, I have noticed fewer dropped calls since switching to the iPhone 4.

Does that make me a loyal fanboy (even though I love Apple products)?  No (though the news would have you believe otherwise).  Like everything in life, there is tradeoff.  The superior OS, applications, video/camera, retina screen, and overall improved reception are more meaningful and mitigate the antenna issue.

Now, if you want to talk about how Apple handled the situation, I totally agree they dropped the ball there.  Apple is usually very good at PR, I’m surprised they have not said anything since their press release.  The talks of recalls are silly (this is not a safety issue), nor is comparing this antenna issue to Toyota or BP (read last paragraph) blunders even logical in the extreme.  Probably the best thing they can do now is either subsidize or give away bumpers to people who have purchased the iPhone 4, similar to what Nintendo did with the Wii controller.

Only Apple could release a highly successful product that sold 1.7 million units in 3 days (and easily over 2 million by now) and still be criticized to such extremes.  The truth of the matter is a significantly large percentage of users are happy, and for those that aren’t, if you are really that dissatisfied with the iPhone 4, RETURN IT.  Your 30 days are up on July 24, 2010.

New Exercise Plan

Well, I think I’ve come to the realization that doing exercise after work is just not a feasible option for me right now.  I get out of work around 5:30PM, and by the time I get home, eat, do the normal stuff around the house, etc., it is at least 8PM, and usually I need to spend some time reading and doing homework for my class.   My goal right now is to lose about 15 pounds (though more wouldn’t necessarily be in bad, haha) in order to have a more healthy lifestyle.

To assist in that effort, I’ve been attempting to run a few days a week in the morning before work.  I need to get up at 5:30AM in order to allow myself enough time to get ready and run before work, which is early (!), but something I need to do.  I did really well two weeks ago, but last week I didn’t go running at all (had to wake up early to go to work everyday and had a lot of homework/personal stuff to do after).  So this week I will be getting back to the swing of things.  My goals are as follows:

  • Work out 5 days a week
  • Work up to doing 10minutes per mile for a total of 3.5miles

Once I complete those two goals consistently, I will try to keep conditioning myself and making new goals.

I am using Runkeeper (awesome app) to track and record my progress.  You can follow me here.  I appreciate any encouragement, this will be a tough journey!