(You're reading all posts by Jonathan Zschau)

About Jonathan Zschau

Jonathan Zschau Jonathan was introduced to Apple at the age of five 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. As a contributor he writes about consumer protection issues related to Apple products. He is also the author of Buying and Owning a Mac: Secrets Apple Doesn't Want You to Know.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

Are iPhone Extended Service Contracts Worth The Money?

Are iPhone Extended Service Contracts Worth The Money?

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.

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »

Exchange Your Cracked MacBook For A Brand New MacBook [How To]

Exchange Your Cracked MacBook For A Brand New MacBook [How To]

We exchanged our CrackBook for this MacBook

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This article will tell you how to turn that outdated CrackBook into a brand new MacBook.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.

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »

Project Gutenberg Is Coming to Apple’s iPad iBookstore

Project Gutenberg Is Coming to Apple’s iPad iBookstore

Courtesy AppAdvice.com

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.

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »

Review: Why Aadvark’s iPhone App Is Great For Questions and Answers

aardvark

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.

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »

Know Your Rights – What To Do If Your Apple Turns Out To Be A Lemon

iphone_lemon

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.”

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »

Apple May Treat Overheated iPhones Like Waterlogged iPhones: You’re SOL

heat_warning

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.

Sound familiar?

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »

How To: Make a Profit Upgrading To The iPhone 3G S

Apple's Phil Schiller outlining the great prices for brand new iPhone customers - not existing 3G owners. CC-licensed picture by <a href=

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.

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »

How To Get the Most From Your iPhone’s Warranty

busted_iphone

CC-licensed photo by Jeff Turner

By Jonathan Zschau

Apple released the iPhone 3G on July 11th, 2008, which gives you early adopters just a few weeks before your one-year warranty runs out.

What does this mean? It means you should give your iPhone a good hard look to determine if it’s in your best interest to take your iPhone to your local Apple Store to try to obtain a replacement.

There are at least 18 well-known defects with the iPhone, all of which oblige Apple to replace the handset for free. All are detailed are over the next few pages, including ways to test your iPhone to make sure everything is functioning properly.

Issues that Apple considers grounds for replacement include hairline cracks, discolored screens, dead pixels, flakey WiFi, dodgy GPS and crackly speakers.

If your precious iPhone is suffering from any of these problems, read on to make sure you’re properly prepared before you head down to your local Apple store and get a replacement. Hurry, before it’s too late.

Read the rest of this iBusiness Report post »