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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Apple, I Love You! I Hate You!


I have a hard time reconciling the opportunities and challenges brought by technology. On the one hand, technology greatly assists my day-to-day life, and on the other, it burdens me.

Case in point: iPhone 6.

My iPhone 4 was working perfectly well, but my two-year service contract with Verizon was up right around the time they said Apple was coming out with a new model. Normally I get the generation of phone that’s one behind the latest and greatest.  Why?  Because it’s less expensive and the bugs have been cleaned out of that model.

But this time around I skipped straight to the top – or near it.  I didn’t bother with the 5 or 5S and was able to get the 6 because of a special trade-in offer.  I was told I could get a six simply by handing in my four, which I think is strange – and not fully true anyway.  We’ll get to that soon.

The biggest problems I have with tech upgrades or switches are the following:

It takes time to shop, process, and install
It takes time to learn and troubleshoot
It ends up costing more money

You may say I have a choice, an option to opt-out of changing phones or even to opt-out of using all of the tech gadgets out there.  But if one doesn’t partake and keep relatively up-to-date on technology, he or she falls out of society and into the third world.  Technology is no longer an enhancement or the provider of a competitive edge, but to not have it, puts you at a significant disadvantage.

So my wife and I trade our phones to cash in on the deal.  We’ve never given our phones back, in part because they weren’t worth much and mainly because of a concern about the data not really being wiped clean from the phone.  But to get the iPhone 6 I put my identity theft fears and privacy violation concerns to the digital curb.  Apple, the government, FB, Google, Verizon, and Chinese hackers have all my information already.  My digital footprint publicly leaves many clues as well. I might as well get some money for the phone.

But free isn’t free.  Let’s start with the exchange of phones.  The 4’s are worth $200 each and the 6’s are selling for $200 each.  But on the exchange I ended up paying sales tax on $200.  They claim the $200 I get on each phone is a rebate but my purchase price gets taxed.  Why doesn’t Apple or Verizon pay sales tax to me on the phones I sell to them?

OK, so you got the tax.  We’re all good after that, right?  Well, no.  The iPhone 6 is larger than a 4, so we each need new cases.  And we need the screen protector thing.  There is also a $30 activation fee. And the chargers aren’t compatible, but they give us those.  Then, you need insurance or you can be out a lot of money.  See where this is all going?  Nothing’s free.

Now, once you get past the hours spent with Verizon and Apple to do the exchange and activation and transfer of data from one phone to the other, you need to learn new features and adjust to any deviations.  You have to reload certain things and spend more time looking up contacts because the email and text don’t recognize the email addresses until you start using them on the new phone.

Ok, ok, so after a few hundred dollars, time spent, and you are adjusted to the new phone, what’s next?

Your phone shatters.

Yes, this happened to my wife.  We picked up our phones on a Friday.  Verizon and Apple were out of the good cases so we went without one.  We also didn’t get insurance because Verizon is a rip-off. They charge $10 a month plus $150 deductible to replace a phone.  This means in two years you spend between $240 to $390 for piece of mind.

But then we learned Apple has a cheaper program.  For $99 they cover you on anything but loss or theft.  If you need to replace the phone they add on $79.  I went on Sunday to buy it for my wife.  Her last phone broke and the phone before that didn’t break but it once was dripped in the snow and stayed there for a week.

Two hours after I got the coverage, she dropped the phone on the street and shattered the screen.

She inspired me to get Apple’s insurance as well.

I can only hope the iPhone 6 was worth the hassle and cost.  I’m sure once we feel good about our purchase, the iPhone 7 or 8 will be out, demanding we take it home.

We probably will.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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