(You're reading all posts by Jonathan Zschau)Jonathan Zschau was introduced to Apple at the age of 5 when his family bought its first computer, an Apple IIGS, in 1986. He has owned and used Macs almost exclusively ever since. He is an attorney from Boston, Massachusetts, where he focuses on litigation technology. He writes about consumer-protection issues related to Apple products and is the author of Buying and Owning a Mac: Secrets Apple Doesn't Want You to Know.
About Jonathan Zschau
I had previously written the following short article in response to a reader’s question about their MagSafe power adapter. Although the recent class action settlement has seemingly resolved this particular issue, some readers might find it helpful to look at this article as a case study, which may offer some points relevant to other product defects.
“Hi Cult of Mac,
About four months ago I purchased a used 2007 MacBook Pro online from a seller on eBay. Two weeks ago I noticed the charger was discolored and looked like it had started to melt! I can now see the wires inside the cable near the base of where it connects to my MacBook Pro. I don’t think I caused any damage to the cable. I never purchased AppleCare. What should I do?”
With any luck, you’ve managed to get through Apple’s technical difficulties and order yourself a new iPhone 4S this morning. But what to do with your old iPhone? If you’re looking to sell it, here’s a reminder of four tips that will help you sell your old iPhone like a pro.
Here’s a little reminder: check your iPhone 4 thoroughly for issues before your warranty expires. At this point in time, most iPhone 4s are still under their One-Year Limited Warranty — but not for long.
Here’s a partial list of some of the issues that may warrant a replacement:
Note: Jonathan Zschau is a Boston-based attorney and a specialist in consumer rights.
UPDATE: SquareTrade has objected to some of the statements and characterizations in this article. The company has some good points, which are published in full here.
As well as a good case or bumper, should you buy an extended service plan to protect your iPhone?
These service contracts are commonly referred to as “extended warranty plans,” “protection plans,” or “insurance plans” and promise to insure your iPhone from defect, accidental damage, and sometimes loss or theft.
The problem with extended service contracts is that they don’t offer you much more than you are already entitled to through your iPhone’s warranty, AppleCare, or existing consumer protection laws.
Although these service contracts do offer additional protection from accidental damage, theft, or loss they are also fraught hidden conditions, exclusions, and deductibles, which ultimately detract from their utility. Except for a very small minority of unusually accident-prone iPhone owners, these extended service contracts are a waste of money.
The previous lines of plastic MacBooks are notorious for developing a wide variety of defects. One defect in particular, cracking plastic, has caused many to aptly refer to these MacBooks as “CrackBooks.”
This article will tell you how to turn that outdated CrackBook into a brand new MacBook. It worked for us. I hope it works for you.
Fans of classical literature rejoice. Project Gutenberg – the publisher of thousands of free, public domain eBooks – is coming to Apple’s iBookstore. Having previewed Apple’s iBookstore, AppAdvice.com reported this morning that the iPad book store will include free access to more than 30,000 public domain titles, including Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and if Apple doesn’t ban it, the Kama Sutra.
The report confirms speculation that the iPad would be compatible with free eBooks.
Have a question? Aardvark Mobile is a great iPhone app that will find a real person to answer it – usually within minutes. It is a wonderfully useful app and has the potential to be an iPhone mainstay for years to come.
Aardvark Mobile is the latest addition to Aardvark: a social question and answer service that emerged from its beta phase earlier this year. Before Aardvark Mobile, users could only communicate with Aardvark through IM or email. The upshot of this was that if you needed a question answered from your iPhone, you had to go through your email or instant messaging app. In most circumstances you were better off finding an answer on your own using Google – even on an iPhone 2G.
But now Aardvark Mobile makes using Aardvark with an iPhone a cinch. So easy in fact, it makes Googling questions from your iPhone seem cumbersome and antiquated.
Apple’s products are generally well built and very dependable. When things do go wrong, Apple normally backs its products with excellent technical support and warranty service. Normally, if your Mac or iPhone develops a problem, Apple’s return policies or warranty service will make it right.
In spite of Apple’s best efforts, some Apple products manifest chronic problems — they’re “lemons.” What follows is a guide, which details some of your options should you get stuck with a lemon.
- Image iFixit.”
As the issue of overheating iPhones heats up, Apple might be preparing to point the finger at iPhone owners who fail to keep their iPhones within acceptable temperatures.
Apple recently updated its knowledge base advising iPhone owners how to keep their devices within acceptable operating temperatures.
For many, this was not the answer they were hoping for because Apple’s solution to an apparent defect appears to be to place the burden on the user to ensure their iPhone’s temperature remains within an acceptable range.
What’s troubling about Apple’s position is that it sets the stage for Apple to adjust its iPhone service policy based on the argument that damage caused by overheating the iPhone is the fault of the iPhone’s owner — not Apple.
Remember how Apple resolved the problem with the iPhone’s oversensitive moisture sensor, which some claimed was activated by sweat?
That’s right, if you bought an iPhone with a defective moisture sensor that subsequently gets tripped by sweat or humidity you have to pay Apple $199 for a replacement under the theory that Apple cannot confirm that your iPhone was not exposed to water.
Before you rush out and buy that brand new iPhone 3G S, consider the suggestions here. For some iPhone 3G owners, the 3G S may be unnecessary. For those who simply cannot wait read on, because there are ways to minimize the overall cost of the upgrade. In fact, you may even turn a profit.
The iPhone 3G S will be subsidized by AT&T for qualified customers ($199 for the 16 GB model and $299 for the 32 GB model). Unfortunately, if you currently own an iPhone 3G you are not a qualified customer because you entered into a two-year contract with AT&T last year. Unsubsidized, the iPhone 3G S is priced at an exorbitant $599 and $699 (plus the $18 setup fee).
AT&T is probably not going to alter its stance on the matter because, like it or not, offering subsidized phones only to new customers is standard industry practice. If you are an existing iPhone 3G owner, and do not have money to burn, consider all your options after the jump.