Tuesday November 8, 2016 10:40 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple recently updated its online refurbished store to include a range of different iPhone models, giving customers a way to purchase a certified refurbished device at a lower cost directly from Apple.
Apple is currently offering refurbished iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models in a variety of colors and capacities. Prices for an entry-level 16GB iPhone 6s start at $449, while a 16GB iPhone 6s Plus can be purchased for $529.
Those prices are $100 to $120 less than brand new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices, which are priced at $549 and $649 for 32GB of storage space. All refurbished iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models are unlocked and SIM-free, meaning they are compatible with all U.S. carriers.
While Apple has long offered iPads and Macs in its refurbished store, it has never before allowed customers to purchase refurbished iPhones. Customers who wanted lower prices on iPhones had to wait for third-party deals or purchase refurbished/used devices from a third-party retailer.
All of Apple's refurbished products, iPhone included, are tested, certified, cleaned, and guaranteed with a one-year warranty. iPhones also feature a brand new battery and a fresh outer shell, ensuring there are no scratches or other cosmetic damage.
Sunday October 9, 2016 4:20 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Three additional law firms have joined a class action lawsuit against Apple over an alleged defect that causes iPhone 6 Plus touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail.
Back in August, reports began appearing from iPhone 6 owners describing an apparently latent manufacturing issue that causes a flickering bar to appear at the top of the screen and the display to become unresponsive or less responsive to touch.
A week later, three iPhone 6 owners filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court of Northern California after their devices presented symptoms of the problem – dubbed "touch disease" by repair website iFixit – which Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge.
Yesterday, Motherboard reported that lawyers who filed the class action complaint earlier this fall have now signed on three additional law firms to support their case, while an additional class action lawsuit related to the issue has been filed against Apple in Utah.
Richard McCune, an attorney in the California case, said he has been contacted by 10,000 people asking to join the suit, which accuses Apple of violating the state's consumer fraud statutes, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and other consumer act violations.
The "touch disease" flaw is thought to be caused by the touchscreen controller chips soldered to the iPhone's logic board losing contact after a period of normal usage, because of Apple's failure to incorporate a metal shield. So far, Apple has refused to repair the out-of-warranty iPhones without charge when the defect manifests. Worse, replacement refurbished handsets costing owners $329 have reportedly shown symptoms of the same problem within days or weeks of being issued.
Motherboard claims five separate current and former Apple Geniuses have confirmed that Apple is aware of the problem but will not tell customers about it.
However, Apple's filed response to the most recent Utah complaint appears at least to signal a legal acknowledgement of the issue and the company's lawyers have requested an "extension of time to respond to the Complaint" and asked that the Utah and California cases be combined into one.
Given the similarity between the [Utah] and [California] actions, it would unnecessarily tax judicial resources if these actions were to proceed in separate class action lawsuits—especially where the [Utah] and [California] Plaintiffs purport to represent the same putative class of all consumers who purchased an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.
On Friday, McCune filed an updated lawsuit against Apple that includes several new plaintiffs and formally adds the three separate law firms to the legal battle. "Each of the firms (who had their own clients) brings strength to the case, including Stephen Larson of Larson O'Brien, who is a former Federal Judge," McCune told Motherboard. "With these firms working with us, we believe it gives us the best chance of obtaining a positive result in the case for the owners of the phones."
Wednesday October 5, 2016 12:32 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
An increasing number of iPhone users are experiencing an Activation Lock issue in which the device is linked to an Apple ID email address that does not belong to them, according to crowdsourced information from MacRumors and Twitter.
MacRumors reader Balders, who recently purchased an iPhone 7 Plus, explained in our discussion forums:
Just received my brand new 256GB Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus. Looks immaculate, screen is perfect, machining all fine… Only problem is, it appears someone has already used it as the iPhone is asking for the account used to activate it — o.....@icloud.com. Apple say it needs replacing […] Now got to wait for an expedited replacement iPhone once I've returned this one.
With the wrong Apple ID being displayed, users cannot sign in and are therefore unable to proceed with setting up the iPhone. The issue has primarily affected new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models upon being turned on for the first time, and iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models upon being restored to default settings, although older models appear to be affected to a lesser extent.
I purchased an iPhone 6s full-price and outright directly from an Apple Store in September 2015. The phone was unlocked (I switched from T-Mobile to Verizon after I purchased it without issue). I recently purchased an iPhone 7 Plus and after that phone was activated on Verizon's network, the iPhone 6s now indicates that it has an "Activation Lock." It is also linked to some unknown iCloud account (not the account I activated it with or have been using it with for close to a full year).
The discussion topics above and others have received multiple replies from other MacRumors readers experiencing the same issue, while several Twitter users have also shared similar complaints. It is unclear when the Apple ID mixups first began, but user reports have gained traction since at least September.
Got my brand new iPhone 7 Plus… with an activation lock on it… WTF? Anybody else with the same problem?
A number of affected users said Apple was able to remove the Activation Lock on their iPhones upon providing the company with proof of purchase. This process can seemingly be completed at an Apple retail store by scheduling a Genius Bar appointment, or remotely by calling Apple's support team at 1-800-MY-APPLE.
On rarer occasions, however, the Activation Lock screen linked to a wrong Apple ID email address reappears more than once. In these cases, some users report that Apple fully replaced their iPhones.
It remains unclear what is causing the Activation Lock issues. Apple has not publicly commented on the matter.
Tuesday September 20, 2016 12:46 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Following last week's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch, Apple has added the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus to its trade-up program in the United States, offering estimated trade-in values of $160, $275, and $315 respectively towards the purchase of a new iPhone.
Apple has also lowered its estimated trade-in values for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus by $25 each to $200 and $225 respectively, while the iPhone 5s now scores $90 instead of $125. iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c trade-in values are now $50 and $40 respectively, down from $75 each, and the iPhone 4s is no longer eligible for trade in.
The iPhone trade-up program, not to be confused with the iPhone Upgrade Program, allows customers to trade in their old iPhone to Apple in exchange for credit to lower the full cost of a new iPhone, or to reduce the monthly payments of a carrier financing plan. Trade-in values, managed by third-party vendor Brightstar Corporation, may vary based on the condition of the iPhone traded in. Select Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices are also eligible for trade in.
iPhone owners looking to get the best value for their old smartphone should consider selling privately through websites like eBay or Craigslist, but Apple's trade-up program does provide a convenient and safe resale option.
Thursday September 8, 2016 7:47 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Along with the reveal of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple yesterday briefly mentioned that the previous generation of iPhone -- the 6s and 6s Plus -- have both gotten updates to storage capacities and price drops. In solidarity with the iPhone 7's omission of the low-tier 16GB option, anyone interested in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will now have two storage tiers to choose from: 32GB and 128GB. The iPhone 7 has an additional 256GB option.
New storage tiers for the iPhone 6s
With the new storage options come new, lower prices as well. For the iPhone 6s, the 32GB tier is priced at $549.00 while the 128GB tier is priced at $649.00. Previously, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s ran for $650 (16GB), $750 (64GB), and $850 (128GB), so the barrier for entry has been noticeably lowered this year.
Although slightly higher in price thanks to its size and camera features, the iPhone 6s Plus has received a discount in price as well. The 32GB tier will cost those interested $649.00 and the 128GB tier costs $749.00. For the larger iPhone, that's a big difference from the $750 (16GB), $850 (64GB), and $950 (128GB) options that launched last year.
New storage tiers for the iPhone 6s Plus
The 32GB storage option for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will go on sale tomorrow, September 9, alongside the pre-orders for iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 2. Since 128GB was an existing capacity, users can purchase it now. To look more in-depth at all of the iPhone models, Apple offers a comparison chart on its website, with all of the various colors, pricing, storage options, and tech specs for each iPhone.
Monday August 29, 2016 10:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Thomas Davidson of Pennsylvania, Todd Cleary of California, and Jun Bai of Delaware have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple over an alleged defect that causes iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus touchscreens to become unresponsive and fail, according to court documents filed electronically this week.
The class action complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern California, accuses Apple of violating California's consumer fraud statutes, through fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and for violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.
Apple has long been aware of the defective iPhones. Yet, notwithstanding its longstanding knowledge of this design defect, Apple routinely has refused to repair the iPhones without charge when the defect manifests. Many other iPhone owners have communicated with Apple's employees and agents to request that Apple remedy and/or address the Touchscreen Defect and/or resultant damage at no expense. Apple has failed and/or refused to do so.
As a result of Apple’s unfair, deceptive and/or fraudulent business practices, owners of the iPhones, including Plaintiffs, have suffered an ascertainable loss of money and/or property and/or value. The unfair and deceptive trade practices committed by Apple were conducted in a manner giving rise to substantial aggravating circumstances.
The complaint, lodged by California law firm McCuneWright, LLP, seeks an order that requires Apple to repair, recall, and/or replace affected iPhones and to extend the warranties of those devices for a reasonable period of time. The plaintiffs also seek unspecified damages. A jury trial has been demanded.
The lawsuit cites repair website iFixit, which last week shared a blog post and video about the defect, nicknamed "touch disease." The defect presents as a gray flickering bar at the top of the screen and a display that's unresponsive or less responsive to touch. The problem is said to be caused by the touchscreen controller chips soldered to the iPhone's logic board losing contact after a period of normal usage.
The complaint specifically claims that Apple's failure to incorporate a "metal shield" or "underfill" over the logic board, as it did with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c respectively, makes the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus "substantially less durable to foreseeable and reasonable use by consumers and ultimately causes the touchscreen defect."
iFixit said the defect has affected a growing number of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners, citing its own repair shop colleagues and dozens of complaints on the Apple Support Communities. Multiple customers who brought their iPhones to Apple Stores were told that Apple doesn't recognize it as an issue and nothing could be done as their iPhones were no longer covered by warranty.
Update: Those that wish to join the class action lawsuit can contact law firm McCuneWright LLP here.
Tuesday August 23, 2016 10:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
As the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus approach their second birthday, a growing number of users are suffering from what appears to be a latent manufacturing issue that presents as a gray flickering bar at the top of the screen and a display that's unresponsive or less responsive to touch.
In a new blog post and video, repair site iFixit says a number of third-party repair outlets have seen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models affected by the bug, which appears to be very common. STS Telecom owner Jason Villmer says he sees faulty iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models multiple times a week, while another repair tech in Louisiana sees up to 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices that don't respond well to touch.
"This issue is widespread enough that I feel like almost every iPhone 6/6+ has a touch of it (no pun intended) and are like ticking bombs just waiting to act up," says Jason Villmer, owner of STS Telecom--a board repair shop in Missouri. [...]
iFixit is calling the problem "Touch Disease," and says Apple appears to be aware of the issue based on dozens of complaints on Apple's support forum, but isn't "doing anything about it." Multiple people who brought their iPhones to Apple Stores were told that Apple doesn't recognize it as an issue and nothing could be done as their iPhones were out of warranty.
Putting pressure on the display of an affected iPhone or twisting the device appears to reverse the issue for a short period, but the gray bar returns and touch functionality grows worse and worse until the touchscreen stops functioning entirely.
Replacing the display doesn't work as the problem is said to be caused by the touchscreen controller chips soldered to the logic board of the phone, and it's possible the damage is caused by the same structural design flaw that caused the major "Bendgate" controversy.
In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of itty-bitty solder balls--"like a plate resting on marbles," Jessa explains. Over time, as the phone flexes or twists slightly during normal use, those solder balls crack and start to lose contact with the board.
"At first, there may be no defect at all. Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset," Jessa explains. "As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent."
According to iFixit, the only way to fix the problem is to replace the iPhone, replace the logic board, or replace the Touch ICs on the logic board, something Apple's in-house repair staff is not able to do. iFixit recommends users who are experiencing early symptoms of Touch Disease -- an intermittently non-functional touch screen or hints of a gray bar -- get their iPhones replaced outright if they're still under warranty.
For those without a warranty, iFixit suggests taking an affected iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to an electronics repair shop able to replace the chips. Apple doesn't approve of third-party repairs, but it may be the only solution until the problem is officially acknowledged by the company.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are not affected by the same issue as Apple strengthened the body and changed the position of the Touch IC chips in those devices.
Monday August 22, 2016 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Earlier this month, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 7, its newest smartphone with a 14-nanometer Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core 64-bit processor, 4GB RAM, a 12-megapixel camera, waterproofing, and wireless charging.
Spec wise, the Galaxy Note 7 seems to best the dual-core A9 processor and the 2GB RAM of the iPhone 6s, but based on a new speed test, it's clear raw hardware can't quite match superior hardware and software integration when it comes to real world usage.
In the performance comparison in which the two phones simultaneously launched the same apps, Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was thoroughly defeated by the iPhone 6s, despite the Note 7's cutting edge hardware and the fact that it's a year newer than Apple's latest iPhone.
The iPhone was able to launch apps in succession at a much faster rate than the Galaxy Note 7, launching 14 apps (including rendering a video) in one minute and 21 seconds and eventually lapping the Galaxy Note 7, which took two minutes and four seconds to complete the same tasks. The iPhone was able to cycle through two laps of the app test in one minute and 51 seconds, while the Note 7 took two minutes and 49 seconds, almost a full minute longer.
This is just a single test that compares an unusual usage scenario, but it does suggest Apple's efforts to deeply integrate hardware and software give the iPhone some significant benefits compared to even the latest Android devices.
Apple will be announcing a new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the near future with improved hardware that includes a faster, more efficient A10 processor and perhaps more RAM, at least in the larger device. The new phones are expected to debut in early September with a launch coming later in the month.
Monday August 15, 2016 6:16 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
In China, low-cost smartphones have brought an overall uptick in sales in the second quarter of 2016, while high-end devices -- from companies like Apple and Samsung -- continue to face declining sales numbers in the country (via DigiTimes). Local vendors in China are said to be "focused on promoting entry-level and mid-range 4G models," instead of trying to convince the Chinese public that Apple or Samsung's smartphones are worth the higher price points.
Specifically, smartphone shipments totaled 149 million units in Q2 2016, increasing 2.7 percent from Q1 2016 and 14.3 percent from the year-ago quarter. This surge comes from China's top-selling smartphone companies (in order of smartphone market share in China): Huawei (14 percent), Oppo (12.7 percent), Vivo (11.2 percent), and Xiaomi (10.4 percent). Apple comes in fifth place, "with its market share falling into a single-digit range," although the specific number wasn't disclosed.
Sales of high-end models from Apple and Samsung Electronics continued to suffer declines in the second quarter as local smartphone vendors focused on promoting entry-level and mid-range 4G models capitalizing on subsidies offered by the top-three telecom operators, Digitimes Research noted.
The double-digit shipment growth rates enjoyed by China-based smartphone vendors in the first two quarters of 2016 were higher than the growth rates of smartphones shipped to consumers from retail channel operators, resulting in an increasing pile-up of inventories at channels.
As it was reported earlier in the summer, low-cost devices that are available to a wide range of users who have yet to purchase a smartphone are helping to contribute to an overall growth in the worldwide market. Apple still faces some issues in the Greater China market, reporting an 11 percent revenue drop in mainland China in April, in the same earnings call that confirmed the company's first year-over-year revenue decline since 2003.
In the same call, CEO Tim Cook remained "optimistic" about Apple's presence in China, saying that "China is not as weak as has been talked about. We may not have the wind at our backs that we once did, but it's more stable than the common view of it." Despite some hindrances placed on Apple services like iTunes and iBooks in the country, not to mention Apple's occasional scuffle with Chinese regulators, China remains Apple's third-most profitable market behind the United States and Europe.
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command is looking to switch from Android smartphones for its Tactical Assault Kits to iPhones, according to Military.com'sDoDBuzz. The switch away from Android, and specifically Samsung devices, is largely because the devices aren't reliable enough.
The iPhone is “faster; smoother. Android freezes up” and has to be restarted too often, the source said. The problem with the Android is particularly noticeable when viewing live feed from an unmanned aerial system such as Instant Eye, the source said.
Specifically, Android will freeze up and apps will fail to refresh properly when viewing split screens with information on them. This forces the user to restart the phone, wasting valuable minutes. The source tells DoDBuzz that the same process is "seamless" on the iPhone and that the graphics are "clear" and "unbelievable."
The Tactical Assault Kits are made up of a system that links a smartphone to a connected network radio, allowing unit leaders to keep track of their own locations and the locations of their troops on a digital map. It's unclear which version of Android or which Samsung device the Army was using in the Tactical Assault Kit. In 2013, the Department of Defense approved the use of iOS devices for military networks.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
Tuesday July 12, 2016 12:04 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Somaltus, LLC has filed a complaint against Apple today in an Eastern Texas district court, accusing the iPhone maker of infringing upon its 2010 patent related to complex battery technologies. The small Frisco, Texas-based firm also filed lawsuits against Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba over the same patent.
The lawsuit claims that the iPhone 6s and any similar devices sold by Apple infringe upon U.S. Patent No. 7,657,386, titled "Integrated Battery Service System," and seeks unspecified monetary damages or, alternatively, a running royalty on sales of infringing devices from the time of judgment going forward.
Defendant sells, offers to sell, and/or uses telephones including, without limitation, the iPhone 6s (the "Product"), for example, and any similar devices, which infringe at least Claim 1 of the ‘386 Patent.
On information and belief, the Product includes a battery service system including a processor (e.g., the A9 chip), which is configured to receive signals from connectors coupled to a battery (e.g., the Product's rechargeable lithium-ion battery).
Specifically, it appears that the infringement claim at least partially relates to the iPhone's process of charging in fast-charge mode until the battery reaches 80% capacity, and then adjusting to trickle-charge mode above 80% capacity.
On information and belief, the processor executes the control codes to continually adjust a charge level to the battery. The Product has a charging system according to which the system operates in fast-charge mode until the battery reaches 80% capacity and then adjusts to trickle-charge mode when the capacity exceeds 80%. When the capacity drops below 80%, the system gain adjusts to fast-charge operation. The purpose of the system is to reduce the charging level applied to the battery at high capacity in order to extend the battery lifespan. Thus, the system adjusts the charging level applied to the battery and does so continuously as the battery charge capacity repeatedly exceeds and drops below 80%.
Somaltus, LLC generally fits the description of a "patent troll," as it does not appear to provide any obvious products or services and lacks an easily identifiable online presence. Nevertheless, it has successfully reached out-of-court settlements with automakers like Ford and Nissan in the past in relation to the same particular patent.
The legal complaint's case number is 2:16-cv-00758 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Wednesday June 8, 2016 11:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple analyst Brian White of Wall Street brokerage firm Drexel Hamilton has issued a research note to investors in which he estimates that Apple will reach a bottom in iPhone sales, and overall revenue and profit, in the third quarter of the 2016 fiscal year, a three-month period that ends in late June.
White claimed that all of Apple's supply chain partners that his firm tracks reported May sales that were "softer than historical averages" due to the slowdown, but he forecasted that the much-rumored iPhone 7 series will help Apple's smartphone business return to growth by the second quarter of fiscal 2017.
Until then, the bleeding isn't over. The firm estimated Apple will sell 38.5 million iPhones in the June quarter, down from 47.5 million in the year-ago quarter, followed by an estimated 41 million and 72.3 million sales in the September and December quarters respectively, both of which would also mark year-over-year declines.
White predicted that iPhone sales will then rebound to an estimated 56 million, 45.4 million, and 47.3 million in the subsequent three quarters, signaling a return to modest year-over-year growth throughout 2017. iPhone sales are estimated to reach 76.3 million by the first quarter of fiscal 2018, which would be a record breaker.
It was initially reported that Apple suppliers projected weak demand for the iPhone 7 series due to a "lack of innovation," with other market conditions to blame, but a subsequent report said Apple has asked suppliers prepare for the highest iPhone production target in "about two years."
Apple also reportedly increased iPhone SE orders last month due to strong sales, and the lower-priced 4-inch smartphone should help boost overall iPhone sales.
Mac sales are also expected to bottom out, but not until the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, when sales drop to an estimated 3.7 million compared to 4 million in the year-ago quarter. Mac sales are then estimated to reach 3.9 million, 4.4 million, and 4.44 million in the subsequent three quarters.
Given the current "gloom and doom" sentiment surrounding Apple reaching "extreme levels" this year, Drexel Hamilton believes the company's stock represents an "exceptional value." AAPL is currently trading in around the $98 to $100 range, while the firm has set a "buy" status with a price target of $185.
In April, Apple reported its first year-over-year decline in iPhone sales and quarterly revenue since 2003, and its third quarter guidance of between $41 billion and $43 billion in revenue, which would be up to 18 percent lower than the year-ago quarter, suggests that trend will continue through the first half of 2016.
Brian White is a longtime but somewhat infamous Apple analyst that currently serves as Global Head of Technology Hardware and Software at institutional brokerage firm Drexel Hamilton. He previously worked at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, where he held the same title, and Topeka Capital Markets.
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