Dear Steve Jobs, please fix my Mom’s iMac

A few years ago we bought my mom an iMac G5 for her 60th birthday. She’s loved having it, but a few months ago it started ‘acting funny.’ Matt and I theorized that it was related to the capacitor problem that had plagued this generation of iMacs, and when it finally overheated and died, we suggested she take it to the Apple store, thinking that Apple would repair it for free, honoring the recall/repair program that was extended on these models.

Sadly, that didn’t happen, the Apple “Genius” claimed he had never heard of any problems and told her that it would cost $1100 to fix, so she bought a new one instead. After thinking about it a little more though it seems like the “Genius” was taking advantage of her, and I think acted unethically.

Once it was back from the Apple Store and declared dead, Matt opened the iMac to try to fix it himself. He discovered that the capacitors were indeed bad, and he called Apple and asked them to fix it – they told him that they would have, but now that it’s open, it’s too late. This is crazy, since the Apple store clearly would’ve seen the bad capacitors when they opened it themselves to come up with that $1100 estimate – so either they didn’t do an actual eval (like they were supposed to) or they were actively trying to take advantage of my mom. Either way, I think they owe her an apology and a repaired computer. Here is her letter to Steve.

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. I hope you could help me with a problem that I am having.

I am a retired public school teacher who first learned to love Apple computers in my role as an art teacher in the Newton Public Schools, Newton, MA.  In fact I became something of a guru developing clip art files of child artwork in the Appleworks Libraries —presenting workshops around the state.  I am a big fan of Apple computers and products.     Recently, however, I have had a most frustrating and upsetting experience.   I think you personally need to know about the situation and how it was handled.

Three years ago I was given a new iMAC g5 as a 60th birthday present.   I use my computer daily but not for very heavy use.  In May the screen suddenly started to look like it was weaving a plaid.   The problem went from bad to worse.  When I made an appointment at the Genius Bar at the Chestnut Hill, MA,  Apple Store,  I was told that the logic board would need to be replaced and that it would cost about $1100 to repair.  I mentioned that I had read on line of similar problems in that generation of iMACs and was told that they had never heard such a thing.  It seemed very atypical to me that a 3 year old iMAC would develop such severe problems.

Reluctantly I bought a new iMAC.  My son in law asked if he could see if he could fix my old one.  When he made many phone calls and did some internet research, he was told that the warranty on that generation of machines had been extended because of issues with bad capacitors but that they would not honor the warranty because the machine had been opened!  The Apple Store “genius” told me no such thing —just that I should buy a new computer.   My son in law had found this article about the problem

You can understand both my frustration and my lack of confidence in a company that previously had earned a great deal of support and enthusiasm.  I think that Apple should honor the repair program since the machine was only opened after the Apple geniuses gave me what seems to be false information. Please help me get my computer repaired or replaced.

Yours truly,

Arlene Bandes

Open letter to Apple – Unbreak the iPhone!

Ok Apple, here’s my story:I bought my iPhone on day 1. I had faith that the platform would open up, and I had faith that you as a company would keep your users best interests in mind as you developed the device. I believed you when you said you’d be rolling out features to “surprise and delight” me. I’m patient – I didn’t mind that the price dropped precipitously after just three months, in large part because the developer community succeeded at opening up the platform even without your support.

Their efforts showed us just how lameass your “AJAX devkit” really was – native apps were just better, even those written with zero support and zero SDK. They did a great job. They made your customers happy. We loved our iPhones.

Then yesterday, FOR NO REASON, you released an “update” that offered no meaningful new features (sure the wifi store is cool and all, but now that Amazon sells DRM-free music for less, why do I want to buy from you ever again?) and instead crippled iPhones everywhere.Now, I never unlocked my iPhone, because I don’t really see any reason to do so. But HOW DARE YOU break phones willy-nilly while simultaneously voiding warrantees just because people legally installed _legal software_ on a device they legally owned?

It’s time you showed up with an apology, a plan, and a path towards Apple-sanctioned 3rd party development. In the meantime, I’m happy I never unlocked my phone, and I’m going to avoid all of your future “updates” like the plague.

For all those whose iPhones are now broken, it seems to me that a remedy from Apple is owed you. They’ve essentially sold you a defective non-upgradeable device which they refuse to support, and that is simply appalling. I wonder how many class-action suits are being written as I write this. Apple – I expected better from you. I am very, very disappointed in you. Make it right.

iPhone initial impressions (and unbox pix)

So I’ve spent a day with the iPhone, and here are some thoughts:

1. Everywhere I have been so far (in rural maine) has had wifi open so I haven’t been on edge yet. Wifi is nice and snappy

2. Nobody has called or texted me yet, so I can’t really say anything about the cellular features per se

3. Mail automatically configured itself to my accounts and settings – supercool!

4. I didn’t have to enter any configuration info whatsoever

5. Activation through iTunes was a dream, it couldn’t have been easier, took about two minutes.

6. The screen is gorgeous and really works. Multitouch is everything they said it would be.

7. I find the onscreen keyboard a bit easier to use than the Treo’s keypad, but I was never big on the two-thumb approach anyway. I do make plenty of typos, though I did on the treo too.

8. Web browsing is good over wifi, and I am pretty sure that AIM works via the web clients (I connected, but none of my buddies were online.)

9. YouTube is just brilliant on this thing

10. Music, video, YouTube all can use the internal speaker, which is really cool

11. It feels much much smaller than the treo, fits comfortably in my pocket

12. Neither mail nor safari are at all like their desktop counterparts, but both are good.

13. App-switching does feel a little clunky. I miss the apple-tab switching…

14. I’m feeling good about the 4GB capacity. I would of course love to have a 60 or 80 gig model, but failing that, a small-capacity unit is going to feel limited either way, and since it needs to be synced often to charge, I can just use it like I would use a shuffle.

15. The headphone jack is idiotic. I don’t think my koss headphones are going to work (they are at home) and it’s hard to imagine why they did this, it doesn’t make the thing look any better, that’s for sure.

16. The camera is ok, and the photos app is amazingly great

17. Google map app is very very cool, though I haven’t figured out how to use it for “just” a map instead of for directions

18. Call forwarding doesn’t seem to allow you to keep an address-book list of possible forwarded destinations, that’s a shame.

19. The screen can get a little sticky/greasy

20. The DLO “jam jacket” case I bought has got to be the worst case I have ever seen. Don’t buy it! (If you want one (you don’t,) let me know and I’ll give you a deal.)

21. The included ringtones are great. I love the “Old Phone” which is much better than the equivalent ring on my treo.

22. Web and email apps are VASTLY better than the treo equivalents

23. There are already a promising array of cute web-apps for the iphone, including sudoku – this makes me happy

24. The text message my dad tried to send me never arrived. I don’t know what to make of that.

25. The AT+T store salesguy tried to sell me a charger. I said it came with one. The “Apple Representative” at the AT+T store said it didn’t and I should buy one. Guess what? The iPhone does in fact come with a dock and charger, just like everyone said, just like it (somewhat cryptically) says on the box.

26. The iPhone packaging is amazing. I especially like the little lucite tray that it was “floating” in inside the box.

All in all – there are a few rough spots, but they are relatively inconsequential. This is probably the most satisfying gadget first day I’ve had since my first iPod. Now I just need to figure out what to do with my Treo.