Sunday, November 16, 2014

REVIEWS: iPhone 6

Around the time I began thinking about upgrading my mobile phone, reports emerged that Apple would be announcing and then releasing the iPhone 6. I decided the release of the new device presented the perfect opportunity to upgrade from my iPhone 4s.

When the phone was released, I bided my time until I truly felt in the mood to upgrade. In the meantime, I checked it out a few times at local stores—my first reaction was, “Boy, that’s big!” — and I was just referring to the smaller iPhone 6.

At the end of October, I finally decided I was ready, only to discover the phone was sold out and on back order at most places. My local AT&T store—which is my carrier—said that they could put me on a waiting list. They couldn’t give me a delivery date, but said customers usually received them in 2-3 weeks. Meanwhile, I went straight to the source at apple.com. The site had them on back order too, though they had “real time” updates that allowed you to check immediate availability by stores in your local area. Only one Apple boutique that was local to me (I had four within reasonable driving distance) was listed as having them in stock—but when I called to confirm, they said they were out.

That evening, I decide to just go to my AT&T store and get on the waiting list. As we sat down to start the process, the AT&T representative told me that a friend of his told him earlier that day the store was available at the Apple Store in Century City and suggested that I go ahead and call so that I could get the phone immediately! He even pulled up the number for me.

Unfortunately, when I called the Century City store, they informed me that they had sold out—but their records noted that it was available at stores at the Grove (an open air upscale mall near Farmer’s Market) and Santa Monica. Since I live just a quick freeway ride of about 4 miles from Santa Monica, I drove there, arriving about 40 minutes before closing, only to be told they were no longer selling the phones for the day (I presume because of the time it takes to register and activate the phone). But the sales person advised me to go online that night, reserve the phone for pickup, and return the next day for it. Which I did. Which is how I got my phone.

Just as exciting, a few days later, I transferred my old iPhone 4s to my wife’s Net10 pay-as-you-go account under their “bring your own phone program.” Since it was no longer on contract, all I needed to do was purchase a compatible Net10 SIM card at a local Best Buy (they’re also available online from Net10) and activate the phone with Net10, porting over my wife’s number from her old Net10 Nokia phone. With Net10, the plan is more than half of what my plan was with AT&T with the same level of phone, text and data (unlimited calls and text, 500 MB of data) –– $35 per month.

REVIEW: When people ask me how I like the new iPhone, I simply reply, “It works exactly like my old phone.” Yes, of course, it has upgraded features (particularly the camera I hear) and the main reason I went with the 6 (as opposed to the 5) was to have the ability to use Apple Pay if the feature gains critical mass. But since I use it exactly as I did my last phone, it isn’t much of a new “toy” with “new” features to explore. Aside from making and taking calls, texting, my main use of the phone is to surf the web; use the maps function for travel and GPS; social media; picture taking; and banking. (I also use it to store all my passwords via SplashID.) Just like my old iPhone. I do like the extra real estate of the screen, which has given me a bit more breathing space for organizing my apps on different screens.


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