« Searching for the Right Word | Main | Camera All the Time »

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

It seems like a new craze in customer (dis)service. I recently tried to buy a fridge from a shop but when I told them I wanted it delivered to a different address than my home address and that the people there would arrange a delivery date, they said it couldn't be done. A few days earlier I'd rung a camera shop and asked for a D810 to be reserved for me, that I'd pay over the phone and come in the next day to pick it up - they told me, just like your genius above, that it couldn't be done. In both cases I went elsewhere for the items. Seems like a desire to fail is running round retail at present.

My sister just got an iPhone 6 and sent me a fuzzy picture of my niece in her Halloween costume -- "What a great camera!"

I have a 4s which I like, for the most part. And all of my work pants have a pocket that fits the 4s perfectly. Which means that the (larger) iPhone 6 WON'T fit. So I'm not all that ethusiastic about the prospect of an upgrade. I'm not sure if anyone makes a phone the size of the 4s anymore.

It's weird: cameras are getting smaller -- sometimes too small, and phones are getting bigger -- sometimes too big.

I was a bandwagon-jumper and per-ordered mine on the first day... mainly because the battery in my 4S was getting quite bad and desperately needed replacement. So instead of getting a new battery, I got a new phone. (Not as un-economical as you would think, batteries are not an easy nor cheap job.)

Anyway, I got it precisely when they said I would, and since then have been surprised in hearing stories like yours where the product is unavailable.

Is the 6 better than my old 4S? Well, on one account, yes, unquestionably -- the new camera focuses much closer than the old one, and for much of the photography I do with the phone, that's a huge benefit.

Of course the iPhone is the best. If you ask Siri, she will tell you in no uncertain terms that the iPhone is the best, at least she used to provide you with several entertaining answers to that question.

Mike, thanks for Apple Store saga. By any chance did you fondle the iPhone6plus? I'm thinking the larger screen would be more compatible with my old eyes. Will venture out to the store next week (he's been saying for 6 weeks).


If you haven't ordered already, the marketplace for smart phone upgrades has gotten a little weirder than when you bought you 4s.

It's carrier-dependent, but all have changed to one degree or another, so you'll have to do some homework so you aren't surprised by your carrier. The good news is data is cheaper. The bad news is, they charge you explicitly now for your subsidy if you choose to "upgrade." (In my case, with AT&T, they said I'd "lose" my "discount" on my plan. My bill would go up $35.00 a month, which is about what it went down when I changed plans to a new, cheaper, shared data plan. I'd still have much more data than my old plan, so there's that.)

I elected to buy my phone outright through the Apple online store (should ship in a couple of weeks), and in my case, I've chosen the T-Mobile iPhone 6, because it ships unlocked. I'll just extract my SIM from my iPhone 5s (which goes to my son), and put it in the iPhone 6, and by all accounts, it'll "just work." What I'm not sure about is if AT&T will still charge me a new device fee when they detect the new phone. My guess is they will. I think that's $35.00 too. Anyway, I'll have an unlocked 6 so I can switch carriers when my contract is up if I want to, or use a European data provider if I go to Europe (unlikely). And I get my reward points (yay!).

My son has my old iPhone 5, I'll call AT&T and they'll unlock it over the phone (they have in the past, anyway), and I'll pass that on to my daughter who's on T-Mobile, and she'll return my old 4s, which I can then use as a sophisticated iPod or something. Actually, there are some home automation uses it might come in handy for.

Hopefully this will be the last year I do this dance. I think we've reached the knee in the curve of smartphone advancements and they'll be much more incremental going forward, reducing the incentive for yearly "upgrades."

It's a bit of a zoo in that marketplace, and I wish you luck.

Have you been outside yet? I bet your chin will feel cold! Also, how can you look knowledgeable if you don't have a beard to stroke?

Not grumpy? At least the curmudgeon still shines through the "positive" attitude.

I'm no longer a GBG—grumpy beardy guy
Well, at least you ditched the beard. ;-)

I upgraded from the 4s to a 6 about a week and a half ago. The phone is a nice upgrade, the camera is moderately better. To quantify the camera improvements, it appears to have more dynamic range, and slightly less noise in the images.

Still...it's not going to to replace any of my 'real' cameras. I use it to grab pics that I post to facebook, that's about it.

Interesting, I would have guessed the best place to get it was the store of the carrier you were going to run it on. I know the Sprint stores I've been in lately all seem to have various iPhones (not actually sure if they really had 6, I'm kind of color-blind in that range) in stock.

I'm wondering if I should pay attention to the camera in my next phone purchase, in hopes I might find it more useful (tech improves over time of course, plus picking with camera in mind should help), or continue to ignore it and take notes sometimes with whatever I get. Not considering brand A myself, though; I was scared once by an Apple in my youth and have never fully recovered, or something.

I hope you're able to get one soon, they're massively in demand. The logistics of starting up and shipping a new product as sophisticated as a handheld pocketable supercomputer that sells in the 10s of millions in opening weekends is a modern wonder. Thus your difficulty in getting one on a casual visit. One solution is to get up early, 6:30am ish and log on to the retail store of your choice https://www.apple.com/retail/personal-pickup/ and select the model iPhone you want. On any given day they'll know the day's stock and you can reserve one if they have stock and then go to the store and pick it up. At the store they'll help you set it up too. That way you don't have to drive to Madison or wherever every day.

You might also consider Apple's One to One program https://www.apple.com/retail/learn/one-to-one/. Basically it's Apple products' school. For $99 of your hard earned dosh Apple will taylor one to one and/or group lessons for a year at an Apple store of your choice to teach you stuff about your iPhone, iPad or Mac that you'd like to learn.

My advice…….do not go naked!
Get a protective sleeve that does not cover any of the controls. I have used one for years.
We have family with cracked screens on their "naked" iPhones.
Think in terms of ex-communications.
Very depressing.
Very expensive.

It's that way in Alaska now. All six iPhones received by various cell-carrier stores were sold during the first hour they were open in mid September.

I recently jumped from an iPhone 4 to the 5s, and it was an enormous upgrade in picture quality. Panoramas are great - better than my Panasonic G6 or Sony P&S. The upgrade to iOS 8 has also finally brought exposure compensation as a standard feature.

So like, it's faster than the 4S, and you'll typically want to stay current with iOS for security and features reasons, which runs like a dog now on the 4S.

So yes, it's just like with regular computers. Old ones suck.

So yeah, I'm enjoying my new 6.

So also make SURE you skip the 16GB model (you'll be sorry ...) and pay the extra $100 to get 64GB, presuming you don't need 128GB of storage.

As with Mac operating system updates, I like to wait a while before updating. In particular, with iPads and iPhone upgrades. I usually wait about two months, in general, after the release of the latest iPhone, iPad, for things to settle down and any bugs to shake out. I'll be eligible to upgrade to the iPhone 6 November 29, so the first week of December, I will go in and upgrade. By then, there will be a smooth flow of inventory to customers, and no lines at the Apple Store. Plan to do the same with the Yosemite release as well; I usually wait until there is a x.x.2 release for OS updates.

I'd say three generations is about right these days. My 5s is lighter than the 4s and faster. I didn't used to lock my phone (but should have) until I got the touch open (main problem is it does't work well when fingers are damp).

I've been upgrading more or less every two years, but the jump from a 4s to the 5s wasn't a big one. The main advantage was touch open and I could have waited another years. My wife's 4 does seem slow.

I recently went from a thick rubber bumper to a maybe 0.5mm thick case and much prefer it, although it is less protected. I may have had a full case with my first iPhone (2?), but way too inconvenient.

PS. We gave up our land line when we moved three years ago and haven't been inconvenienced. We are retired to give you and idea of our demographic.

i don't own an iphone or indeed any smart phone but hell will freeze over before i buy from apple....

"So" seems to be the new "like."

Fom my perspective as a steady apple customer, I think you should send the conversation transcript to Tim the CEO or one of his minions enclosed with a massive WTF. Not exactly a great testimonial to customer oriently corporate vision. It's too bad you didn't video it. It would go viral on youtube in a heartbeat.

I don't have an iPhone 6 (yet) but do have an iPad & iPod touch. I use a colorless clear skin on both and plan to do so when I get the 6. See this link: http://www.bodyguardz.com/ultratough-clear-skins-info. You get to see the beauty of your iDevice and have scratch protection.

Or you could simply go with another brand. A smsung galaxy perhaps.

Slightly off topic. These list threads, ie best this... Smallest that.. All smack of topics that turn up on every forum of every dive website on the planet.

We just recently upgraded from an iPhone 3s to the 5s. I'd suggest you go ahead and get the 5s instead of waiting for the 6. It's a great phone and camera. And it will be much cheaper now that the 6 is out.

So, why do so many people start so many sentences with so?

Since you liked the iPhone6, I just clicked at your Amazon link and ordered four iPhone accessories that I wanted and will bring you money.

I also noticed a fine Orange backup battery that would easily get lost on your Orange sofa. Everyone needs backup power.

The link to it is here:

I ask that you adjust the link to make sure TOP gets the credit.
The battery is a strong 12000mAh Power Pack for $39.95 or $90 off retail. And again, it is your favorite Orange color.

Thanks for the laugh, as good as morning coffee.

I switched from a 4s to a 6 a few weeks ago. I was not really looking forward to it, but my wife needed a new phone. Love the iPhone 6. Bigger, but doesn't feel like it. Easy to use, easy to hold. I'm sold.

So you did order one?


Hi Mike, this website will show you stock levels. If you refresh it every so often, once your local store has stock you can reserve a phone online for same-day pickup.

I'v really been holding out on the smartphone thing. I have a "dumb" phone that works just fine for, yup, making phone calls. It has a really bad 2 mp camera with a 2 inch dim, low resolution screen.

I figure for the roughly $1000.00 yearly fee (thats service and cost of phone) I can buy a very nice 1" sensor compact camera with change left over. Yes its bigger than a phone but will perform far better than any smartphone at taking pictures with files (jpg and raw) much nicer.

Clearly your mileage will vary and priorities play a big part in the decision, as does costs involved to smartphone or not.

So are you making some sort of statement about how twenty-somethings begin every sentence with a particular coordinating conjunction?

I went to an Apple store once and got 3 different answers to the same question from 3 different, so called "Mac Geniuses" (none of which worked). That was about 5 years ago, last week my wife also got three different answers from... 3 different "geniuses" with the same exact results.

Consistency and mileage remarks go here.

I wouldn't go case less, the corners of the phone need some protection. I have a Body Glove case for my Samsung which doesn't obstruct anything and has protected through a couple of nasty drops.


You and I and most TOPpers are unlikely to see camera phones as more than visual notebooks because we're not in the target demographic. In general we want fine tools that will help us create art. Camera phones are made for happy snappers, i.e. people who want to record the emotional content of their lives as easily as possible.

Did the Apple experience diminish your new improved non-grumpyness?
I can confirm in the Android world that moving from 3 year old to new phone greatly improved image quality and responsiveness - new Sony Xperia phone has dedicated (real!) shutter button which improves on generally crapulous ergnomics of phone-as-camera, focus etc all much less laggy.

Yes, place your order online and have it delivered to the nearest Apple Retail Store, or to your home. They'll let you know when it's on the way, when you can pick it up, etc. The ordering system is generally very efficient and accurate on delivery dates/times and all that.

I have a 4S and will order a 6 sometime soon. The improvements are numerous, beyond the obvious larger screen, but include a more capable processor, improved camera, the touch-Id button, etc. There are lots of sites that enumerate all the differences. I'm in no rush, but I do use my iPhone quite a lot, even if not specifically for a lot of photography.

Well, maybe even there ... I like shooting with it and producing Polaroid prints with the Impossible Project "Instant Lab" camera. It's an interesting fusion of new and old ...

Mike, one word, and I feel I have to apologise for it, iPhoneography!

Context: I own iPods, but my tablet is Android. My desktop computer is Windows, but I recently bought a Macbook Pro. I have an old semi-smart Blackberry as a phone. So, neither an Apple fanboy nor Apple hater.

All that said, I just don't understand the cult of the iPhone. Or maybe I do. Despite the abysmal attitude Apple has towards you, a potential customer, you're still likely to buy the new iPhone. Why should Apple change its ways (there's probably a cost associated with that) when it won't make any difference to sales? I think people who complain about Apple mostly have themselves to blame.

For many years I worked in computer repair and service and I just got sick of the sight of them. They put money in my pocket but I just wasn't interested in having them at home.

Of course I always did have more than one at home but I always keep them hidden away and I only bring them out to use them and then they're put away again. I don't leave them out and on view as I feel they dominate a room and I don't like that.

Smart phones are really portable computers that just happen to have a phone and a camera built in and they don't really fit my lifestyle. They wont fit in my pocket so if I want to carry a phone I carry a small PAYG which will and if I want a pocket camera I have one which will fit in my pocket together with my phone and the two together are smaller than a smart phone.

My advice is to not force yourself to love smartphones. If they fit your lifestyle, fine, but personally I see little point in a mobile phone which wont fit in my pocket. My girlfriend put hers in her handbag. I don't carry a handbag.

Not sure if this was mentioned in any of the other iPhone discussions, but you can use the volume buttons as a shutter release and even use the headphone volume controls as a cable release. I find it more useful for horizontal images.

Your conversation with the iphone sales woman reminds me of the Dylan song, My Hearts in the Highlands, where he has a similar going nowhere exchange with a waitress in Boston. It's a great song.

Did the Apple Store have the new Retina 5K iMac on display?

I'd vote against "Pleasing Cameras We Love."

It reminds me too much of Emerson's "Things are in the saddle and ride mankind!"

This site updates iPhone 6 availability: http://www.istocknow.com/live/
The 6 Plus has OIS and is in shorter supply.

You might want to try using the Apple Store's WiFi + AirDrop to take pictures on the iPhone 6 and then send to your MacBook running Yosemite.

I do hope that someone from Cupertino reads you blog.

Similar situation here in Beijing from what I have been told by several people.

I opted for an iPhone 5S that was reduced by 1,200 yuan when the iPhone 6 was announced. It seemed like a better deal to me.

What's all this starting everything with so nonsense I hear increasingly often now?

(in grumpy old guy mode).

But what did you expect from one of the brethren inside a cathedral of the cult of Mac?

I refuse to cross the threshold.

This exchange is almost identical, word-for-word, to the one my wife and I experienced in an Apple store when she tried to buy an iPhone 5S a few months after it came out.

We were able to walk to an AT&T store about a block away and make the purchase from the stock they had on hand (and at a small discount).

I never LOL, but LOL.

Did Ms. Applestore tell you that there are two versions of iPhone 6? Did you decide on big or bigger? I am likely to upgrade my 5s soon (and hand the 5s off to a family member with a 4s), so I am interested to know how iPhone 6 buyers are deciding between the two.

a) It would seem that phone performance does tend to fall off after around 2 generations. Charitably, this could be because they pack so much goodness into the new OS that the old processor simply cannot keep up. Cynically, this would be planned obsolescence.
b) Apple shareholders would certainly agree. I have little patience with slow technology, so I move one when the contract is up.
c) Yes, this is what makes the iPhone a usable substitute for a pocket camera. No slower than pulling an S90 from a pocket, turning it on and getting ready to shoot.
d) I only partially agree here. I use a case that protects the phone from drops and more importantly makes it easier to hold onto, but leaves the screen and camera unobstructed. Check out the Element Case Ion or Speck CandyShell Grip.

Talking of Sam Beckett, I sat just opposite photographer John Minihane last Saturday in Skibereen in West Cork, Ireland while we both had coffee at separate tables. Well for any one interested,his portraits of Sam Beckett in Paris are some of the finest around, well worth a look. Just Sayin


If you buy it on line from Apple they ship it to you from China -- it took just over a week for me to get mine. It's a pretty slick little machine.

Why do so many people today begin every statement with the word "so" ?
It adds nothing to the point they are trying to make.

Due to occupy ... or umbrella movement ... I have essentially given up using any camera except the one with the phone which is very inappropriate as xiaomi Red Note. No mood for "real camera". Did shoot some video with panasonic GH4 -- somehow do not consider it is a camera (and take may be two or three still among hours of just letting it run on video mode). Too tense. Did bring out my Nikon to take the banner someone hang in the mountain for Hong Kong to see (and the climbers did a great work for such a large banner). Just get an iphone 6+ today and would go for a yacht trip. Now what camera to choose. The Hasselnuts also arrived today. Where is my 4x5 travel camera. Still too tense to think. Passing each day like year. Chaos. From a Yellow ribbon camp for those HKers on the other sides.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007