Battery backup…

A couple of months ago I finally had to break down and face that my iPhone 5 was falling down on the job. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the blasted thing to hold a charge for any longer than about six hours under what I would consider not particularly heavy use. A trip to the Apple Store, a battery swap out, and all was right with the world. Or at least it was for about a month.

Apple_LogoI’ve been trying to avoid admitting it to myself, but when I looked at my phone at 9:45 this morning and saw it holding only a 48% charge I’ve been forced to finally admit that history is repeating itself. Which means come Furlough Friday, I’ll probably be trudging back to the Apple Store in the hopes that they can right what has once again gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Sleek as it is, I can’t say that iPhone 5 has been my best Apple experience. If it were my first, I think I’d have a tough time justifying sticking with the platform at this point. I’m absolutely dependant on my phone and need it to be something that “just works,” rather than something I’m hauling around extra charging cables and an external battery pack just to keep in service. My last, Hail Mary play is restoring the phone to factory presets and adding apps back one by one to see if I can determine if one of them is causing a battery sucking do loop. That’s pretty much the only big gun I have left.

If all else fails, I hope there’s a Genius in Delaware who can fix my phone. If we go for round three of this mess, it’s going to be time to start seriously looking at other options and that’s not a road I particularly want to have to go down.

Day 2…

I had good intentions of getting a hands on review of the iPhone 5 done and posted last night, alas, my new job as nursemaid pretty much slammed the door on that idea. I haven’t even had time yet to really put the phone through its paces. The only think I can really add at the moment to yesterday’s first impression of it being super light is that it also feels fast and very responsive to inputs. Data speeds seem improved even here in Cecil County, BFE, so I’ll be very interested to see how it handles the next time I wander into LTE coverage. The only snag so far was a few apps that absolutely refused to restore from iTunes. After downloading them directly through the iTunes app, all was once again right with the world. So far, my day two impression is similar to one that is floating around out in the tech forums… iPhone 5 and iOS 6 are essentially refinements to what was already a solid device. Bottom line, is it worth the cost of upgrade from a 4S? For a heavy user bent on squeezing out every ounce of performance from the iPhone or a iOS gamer who wants more screen real estate, yes, absolutely with the upgrade. For the casual user wanting to check mail, text, and play angry birds, it’s not so much of a necessity.

Launch 5.0

7:12AM – Good morning and welcome to the iPhone 5 launch day live blog. This is the second year that there was no option to reserve a phone for pickup at the local Apple Store, so rather than lining up and hoping that there was stock on hand by the time I got to the front, I opted for home delivery (translation: I’ll be casting alot of longing glances out the window looking for signs of UPS). I miss the festival atmosphere at the yearly Apple Store line up, but I have to admit that sitting here in the kitchen with a fresh steaming mug of coffee is generally better than waking up at midnight and heading over to Delaware to stand in the cold until the sun comes up.

For anyone curious about the new phone, I’d recommend checking out the venerable Walt Mossberg‘s early review. If you’re interested in some hands on discussion, take a look at the forums tab at As always, I’ll keep this space updated with anything quirky or interesting that I come across over the course of the day. In the interest of not flooding the page with separate posts, all updates will be made here on Launch 5.0. Stay tuned as Steve’s faithful enjoy Christmas in September.

8:06AM – One thing I didn’t mention in the bulldog-induced angst yesterday was that FedEx dropped off three Lightning cables. That still won’t replace all of the cables I currently use, but it will at least let me make keep two at home, one in the car, and one at work without needing to remember to take a cable everywhere every day. I’m glad I got that order in before people realized the adapters weren’t going to be available until sometime in October. What I didn’t take into account with the replacement of the 30-pin dock connector was just how small the Lightning connector was going to be. It’s about a quarter the size of a standard USB connector… For reference, here’s Lightning compared to a standard issue paperclip. Pretty slick, right?

8:20AM – If you upgraded to iOS 6 or if you’re considering it, here’s a good piece on some of the more beneficial changes Apple made by Jacqui Chang over at Ars Technica.

11:24AM – UPS makes an unexpected morning stop at Rental Casa de Jeff… Box in hand, I’ll give you the rundown once things are up and running.

11:45AM – First impression: This phone is surprisingly light, but still manages to feel like a very solid build in your hand. I’m setting up the phone now and will put together a more complete first impressions piece later today.

What Annoys Jeff This Week?

So it’s Thursday and by now you’re surely wondering what annoys Jeff this week. From a host of things, here are the three that made the final cut this time around:

1. Religious zealots. Every religion since the dawn of time has been based on what it’s followers (or creators) considered some kind of “revealed truth” about the universe and our place in it… and mostly, the central tenant of most major religions is the same: Try not to be a doucebag. The problem arises when people make an addendum to this basic philosophy and you end up with something more like: Don’t be a douchebag, unless the person you’re acting like a douchebag towards doesn’t subscribe to every particular detail of your system of beliefs. I’m not known as the most laid back guy in the world, but at the end of the day, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Jesus, Vishnu, Buddha, and Mohammed all seem to agree on that point. So yeah, don’t be a douchebag zealot, regardless of who hears your prayers.

2. First world problems. I don’t need a new iPhone. I definitely don’t need a $600 new iPhone. I’m not even particularly impressed with the incremental design improvements the leaks have shown this time around. And yet somehow despite those three pieces of evidence to the contrary, I really, really want to order the new iPhone when it’s launched next week. Not even my best mental gymnastics can manage to transform this from a “want” into a “need.” And lord knows I’ve tried. That a slightly lengthened form factor, a marginally larger screen, and a couple of as yet unknown new bells and whistles can cause me this much gnashing of teeth is an impressive tribute to the power of marketing… and a slightly disturbing testament to my priorities.

3. It’s not the end of the world. I’m constantly amazed at people’s misguided assessment of their importance in the grand scheme of things. Nothing makes me want to bang my head against the keyboard more than people who spend all day lost in a haze of everything they do being an emergency. Things worked just fine before we showed up and unless you’re actually the next Einstein of your field, they’re keep going along in more or less the same direction long after we’re all singing with the choir invisible. The sooner you come to grips with that fact, the less bothersome these nominal “emergencies” become.

Rumor Mill 5…

It’s no secret that I read alot of tech blogs and keep my eye on half a dozen or so rumor sites. When it gets to be this time of year and they all start coalescing around the a few key pieces of information, it’s impossible to keep my mind from turning to the thought that perhaps these might be more than the run of the mill rumors. As it stands after the last day or so, the blogs have all lit up with September 12th being the day Apple officially announces “iPhone 5”. Most are going so far as to point to September 21st as the expected launch date. Apple, of course, does not comment on rumor or speculation. Apple barely comments on products that are already in their lineup, which is sort of an impressive quality in a world full of companies that spend alot of time telling you how great their products are.

So, with the coming of the massed rumors, this would now be the time of the year when I start thinking that I don’t really “need” to upgrade my phone this time around. Eventually that will slip to only upgrading if there’s a major update. As specs start leaking out, I’ll be caught in the maelstrom and come around to understanding that this is a product update that I just can’t live without. Maybe this year I’ll skip the foreplay and go ahead and say for the record that I’m really, really looking forward to having a new model iPhone to play with and that baring any unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be throwing a pile of cash in Apple’s direction in September, as is my annual tradition.

So yeah, if anyone is looking for a good quality previously owned iPhone 4S, let me know and come September I’m sure I’ll be able to make you a good deal on it.