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

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For $35, Hacker Will Swap MacBook Optical Drive For Blazing SSD Drive

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For just $35, a professional hardware called Reid will swap out your MacBook Pro’s optical drive for a super-speedy SSD drive.

Why would you want to do this? Because the SSD drive is an unbelievable 7x faster than a traditional hard drive, even a fast one. Use it as your boot disk, and the OS will fly. Store your movies and pron on the regular hard drive, which remains intact.

Reid already has this two-drive setup running on his new MacBook Pro. Reid took out the optical drive, which opened up a spare SATA interface. Apple doesn’t use standard SATA connectors, so Reid had to make his own by chaining together a couple of adapters from Fry’s and Amazon. It’s not pretty, but it works.

Reid is using the SSD as his boot disk and discovered that it runs an incredible 7x faster than his already fast 7200 rpm hard drive (which he’d upgraded also).

It cost about $300. “So, FOR LESS THAN APPLE CHARGES for the single 128GB SSD upgrade (which really is a POS, if you ask me), I got 280GB of reliable hard disk space. FmyWarranty!” he writes on his blog.

He’s now offering to sell the adapter for $30 apiece (plus free shipping). Or he will perform the upgrade himself for $35 (he’s a pr0). The customer supplies the parts. An 80GB SSD runs about $200.

“Just send me a heads up, a check, a second sata drive*, and your MacBook Pro (with a tracking #, PLEASE) and I’ll return the computer to you a day after it arrives (UPS $14.00).”

Email Reid at: (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

Via Gadget Lab.

Schiller Continues Running Point for Apple PR

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Apple Senior VP Philip Schiller

Philip Schiller, Apple senior vice president and recently the company’s public face at product launch events and conference keynotes, is on a roll. In fact, some might conclude he’s replaced a significant portion of Apple’s PR department, given the press he’s received lately for personally addressing issues with the much-maligned iTunes App Store.

First, of course, came his extensively re-printed email reply to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, setting the blogger straight on the chain of events surrounding the iPhone dictionary app Ninjawords’ path to App Store approval.

And while Schiller did not — so far as we know — personally respond to Tech Crunch writer Michael Arrington’s very public abandonment of the iPhone, he did reach out personally to Steven Frank, the highly regarded developer and co-founder of Panic, who had previously made his own frustrations with Apple and the App Store publicly known.

Back when he was The Man at Apple, Steve Jobs was known to send people personal email from time to time, with such mail inevitably making its way to public attention and, more often than not, garnering Jobs and Apple invaluable attention and promotional good will. It was one method by which the company grew into its current status as one of technology’s two or three biggest powerhouse brands while maintaining a sense of being smaller than it really was, of being personal and approachable even when, in fact, it was neither.

Schiller’s carrying on of the strategy should be seen, in any case, as a good sign, an indication that, as he put it in his email to Frank, “we’re listening to your feedback”. And while, as Frank wrote about his exchange with Schiller, “technically, nothing specific has actually visibly changed,” the goodwill Apple cultivates is invaluable when a senior vice president reaches out personally to people who publicly complain about the company.

The last, best words in the matter may also be Frank’s: “communication will solve this problem — not silence.”

How To Get the Most From Your iPhone’s Warranty

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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.

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Exclusive: Apple Is Building a New Helpdesk Operation: New Product, Or Growing Popularity?

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CC-licensed photo by Joohyun Jeon

Apple appears to be building a large, distributed helpdesk operation, either in anticipation of a major new product, or simply to sustain the company’s growing popularity.

Apple this summer is recruiting about 450 “At Home” technical support staff in at least six cities across the U.S., according to a document seen by Cultofmac.com.

Instead of locating these workers in a centralized call center, they will work out of their own homes.

“As a company who’s motto is ‘think different,’ our ‘work different’ philosophy offers you the opportunity to work independently in your home office,” the job ads said. “You will receive all the wonderful benefits of working for an amazing company without ever leaving your home.”

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Study – iPod Could Save US Auto Industry

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Adding iPod connectivity as standard equipment on their vehicles could save American automobile manufacturers from extinction, according to recent research by Jacobs Media.

The study conducted among 21,000 listeners of rock-music radio stations from around the US suggests high-tech features play an important role in the vehicle-purchase decision and that carmakers should not miss key opportunities to include and market such features to consumers.

The study asked prospective vehicle purchasers to rate the most desired features and options relating to entertainment, music, and information. Nearly half (47%) of the respondents said iPod and other MP3 player connectivity was “very important” to them, ranking above satellite radio, GPS, DVD player, and HD Radio.

The finding that a large percentage of consumers are considering American cars – coupled with the fact that so many respondents want iPod connectors, – presents opportunities for American carmakers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, according to Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs.

“The automakers are struggling to generate sales in a challenging economic environment,” Jacobs said. “but outside of KIA’s new commercials for their Soul, iPod connectors are not in the sales proposition. It’s a missed opportunity. Satellite radio and GPS won’t move the needle – but iPods will.”

[MarketingCharts; Thanks Dave]

‘PC’ Impersonator Harassed at San Diego Apple Store Opening

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On Sept. 20, Apple opened its North County store in Escondido, a San Diego suburb. Reader Scott Bernard writes in to let us know that the event had a very special guest: a quite convincing “PC” impersonator who posed for pictures with the gathered Mac faithful as he distributed “Mac Unfair to PC” leaflets.

Not everyone got the joke. Notes Scott:

We couldn’t hear much of what he was saying, because there was one of those actual CRAZY Apple people in line behind us, yelling in the direction of PC. Crazy guy had NO IDEA that PC was an actor, and he was apparently completely unfamiliar with the “I’m a Mac” ads. Scraped from my week old memory:

Crazy guy: “W- w- w- Windows SUCKS!”

*everyone in line ignores crazy guy, who we thought was just trying (and failing) to be funny*

Crazy guy: “WINDOWS SUCKS!!!”

*we start wondering if this guy is crazy, because he actually sounds angry now*

Crazy guy: “In 1997, Jeffrey Dell said he would shut down Apple, and, and…”

*now we all KNOW he is crazy, especially since it was MICHAEL Dell who he is apparently trying to refer to*

Crazy guy: “Jeffrey Dell said-!”

PC: *walks over to Crazy guy* “Sir, sir, it’s OKAY. I’m playing a CHARACTER. I’m really a Mac guy. It’s OKAY.”

As Scott notes, he doesn’t have the exchange on video, largely because the iPhone has no video recording capability. You hear that, Apple? Think of what you’re denying your base!

Apple also recently opened a shop in nearby Carlsbad, but PC didn’t make the trip. Apparently, lovers of sensible ties and cheap hucksterism prefer Escondido. Click through for a shot of the North County T-Shirt and another pic of PC on duty.

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Apple Surveys 3G Customer Satisfaction

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Apple wants to know what you’re thinking about your new iPhone 3G and has been sending out email surveys asking questions such as where you’ve gone for iPhone help, whether you’ve returned your handset to your carrier for repair or replacement, whether you primarily use Windows or Mac, whether you primarily use your iPhone for work or play, whether it’s your first Apple product, and general demographic info.

The company promises not to use your responses to sell you products or services.

Via iPhoneBlog

A Culinary Journey Into Apple’s Corporate Food Court

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Though everything Apple gets covered with fanatical precision, life inside One Infinite Loop these days is something of a black box for non-Appleites. Steve Jobs has made secrecy job one. Which just makes Jon Phillips’s article for MacLife about dining in the Apple corporate food court that much more fun. This is a must-read:

“Oh. My. GOD. My first impression was that I had somehow found my way into the Prepared Foods Department of Whole Foods. Station upon station upon station offered a mind-boggling variety of international cuisine. There were kiosks for burritos, pizza, pasta, sushi, hot entrées, burgers, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, frozen yogurt. They even had a gelato bar.

Then there were the kiosks for Spanish tapas and paellas. For British bangers and mushy peas. For Ethiopian wat and injera bread. And for traditional Inuit preparations of caribou, walrus and seal. Amazing.

OK, truth be told, I didn’t see any kiosks for food from Spain, England, Ethiopia or the Canadian Arctic. But because the Caffe Mac food selection was so incredibly plentiful and varied, I couldn’t help but imagine such exotic cuisines. And, in fact, because this new world order of lunch possibilities was so overwhelming, I found myself paralyzed with indecision. Pizza or pasta? A sandwich or sushi? Or maybe a bold trifecta of blended and/or frozen delights?”

Read on, dear Mac lover. Read on.

3rd Party Apps Crashing, iTunes Bug Persists in iPhones

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Some iPhone owners continue to report an alarming bug in the device that causes 3rd party applications to crash or fail to load and makes media stored on the phone inaccessible. Calling it a “tragedy of monumental proportions” given that the phone just launched in 22 additional countries over the weekend, writer Jonny Evans reports in MacWorld UK the “well-known bug means none of my third-party apps work, and I can’t access any media held on my iPhone.”

Others have reported the issue and some have speculated on comments by Steve Jobs promising a fix for iPhone crashes by September. But so far, the true nature of the problem remains uncertain, with possible fixes and workarounds seemingly complex and sometimes ineffective.

“Frequent requests to Apple PR have yielded no response at all – and people inside the company dance around the matter, or so it seems,” according to Evans.