The Computer Blog

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

iPhone Video Glitch: Apple Store Comes to the Rescue

As I was preparing for work this morning, my wife told me something was wrong with her iPhone. Whenever she tried to play a video using You-Tube, she’d see a flashing mash of color instead, like the phone was on an acid-trip. (Don’t blame me for that. My wife described it that way. Ask her how she knows.) She demonstrated it for me, and I responded by pulling out my iPhone and calling up a You-Tube video of my own, which played without a hitch, proving that the problem was with the device and not the feed.

While I was at work, she took her malfunctioning device to the Apple Store in Baybrook Mall. Once they convinced themselves the device really had a problem, they told her they’d replace her phone, but they said it would be a “refreshed” one. We’ve bought “refreshed” computers from Apple Stores before; and the term meant a unit that was “barely used”, usually a customer returning a unit due to buyer’s remorse. (And, in one case, the store was using it to describe a demo unit they were selling.) She told them that was unacceptable and wanted a new phone. When she left, the store managers were telling her she’d get a new phone but they didn’t have any 8GB iPhones in stock. They might have some in the next few days. They made no promises.

We were still inside the period since the sale when we could return the phone for any reason, though it would cost me a $59.95 restocking fee. So, that was one option we could explore, though we’d obviously have to buy a new iPhone somewhere else. (The Galleria Apple Store did have some 8 GB iPhones; I checked.) Connie was pressed for time and didn’t want to go over there, nor did she want to follow what Apple said was the standard procedure. According to the FAQ at the Apple website, Apple would normally send the phone in for repair and Connie could rent another phone to use during the repair period for $29. She didn’t want to go down that road, either. So, we were letting it ride, waiting to see how long it took the Baybrook Mall store to come up with a phone.

It turned out we didn’t have to wait long. The store, which had thought it would be a few days before they got a phone, called about four thirty p.m. and let her know they had a phone for her. We went together to pick it up, and the crew at the store was very hospitable.

Once again, THAT was the kind of customer service we have learned to expect from Apple!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

After Ten Days with an iPhone

It’s been about ten days since my wife and I bought iPhones. We are still loving them and have no regrets about the time or money we have spent to buy them.

Yesterday was my first day back at work since the purchase. What surprised me was how enthralled even the nay-sayers were with the device. A friend of mine who uses a Treo considers the iPhone a “step-up”.

That said, I’ve been using it enough to develop two small peeves with it.

The first is the limited amount of ringtones. I’d like to be able to take a song snippet from a recent motion picture and use that. There is currently no way to add any ringtones to the phone, something I suspect Apple will cure by providing more you can download. But if the phone could use any AIFF, AAC, or MP3 file, that would be even better.

The second is the phone’s volume which gets a bit low when listening to a call. The phone automatically lowers the call volume when you bring the phone up to your face and sometimes does a little too much. The volume is adequate for listening to call in a fairly quiet area but requires concentrated listening in a standard business setting or a busy restaurant. I’d like for Apple to turn the volume up a notch more.

All the talk on the Internet about the device’s battery life does have me paying a little closer attention to how I manage it than I do with my iPod. Yes, it would have been much better if Apple had used a user-changeable battery; but it really doesn’t bother me too much they didn’t. Someone will come up with external battery packs you can use to extend the iPhone’s talk or play time as well as skirt the internal battery issue before too long, so I really don’t think that issue is going to be huge. I don’t feel the lawsuit against Apple claiming that knowledge of the battery issue would have turned off buyers has a lot of merit because the issue was discussed on various websites days before the iPhone’s release. I also don’t think that us early buyers cared much if the problem did exist; I doubt if there’s one person who stood in line with me who also would have stepped out knowing how Apple was going to manage it. This is the kind of lawsuit that might have some legs later in the device’s history when a majority of users lost use of the device before the expiration of this first AT&T contract period. Even so, it seems to me to be one of those attempts by someone to use the courts to redesign the iPhone, when the truth is that no one’s forcing anyone to buy the device in the first place.