Black Friday at Apple

Both my wife and I need new Macs. We each currently drive a 21.5-inch iMac; hers is a mid-2010 and mine is a mid-2011 (neither support macOS Mojave 10.14). We were planning on purchasing new iMac desktops sometime in the next few months, but holiday plans put a monkey with a wrench in the way. We will be traveling for the holidays and since both of us have work to do that can’t be completed on iOS, we decided to purchase a MacBook as a satellite travel Mac for us both instead.

I had been looking at the new MacBook Air announced in October as a possibility for a week or so since we made the decision when Apple announced their shopping event for November 23 through 26 where qualified Mac purchases would include a $200 Apple gift card. Even though it’s not technically a Black Friday discount, the gift card value exceeded the local government discount I could get. So we decided to buy on Black Friday.

I opened the Apple Store app on my iPhone early Friday morning and placed the order through the special shopping event links within the app, tapping through Shop, Apple Shopping Event, scrolling down to Macs, tapping on MacBook Air and finding the new models there immediately below the header stating “get a $200 Apple Store Gift Card when you buy select Mac models today.” It appeared as if the new MacBook Air was one of those, since it was listed right below that. So I went through the configuration process, found out it was available in store for pickup that day, and placed the order.

We were visiting relatives for Thanksgiving and planned a bit of a longer trip home in order to pick up our new Mac. After a lunch of Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, we headed out and arrived at Apple La Encantada in Tucson, Arizona mid afternoon. The store was packed, as expected, but after checking in with the associate at the door, it only took a minute or so for someone to arrive to help us pick up our purchase. As Carlos, the associate helping us, was finalizing the process, I asked about the gift card.

Customers and associates in a busy Apple retail store.

Carlos helping us check out with our new MacBook Air. My wife Lucinda is in the lower left corner.

He checked his list and as it turns out the only MacBook Air that qualified was the 2017 model that was still on sale for $999. I showed Carlos on my iPhone the way the special event section of the Apple Store app made it appear as if the new MacBook Air was part of the offer (if I had scrolled down to the old Air in the list I would have found the label “Special Offer – See in bag”).

He got his manager and I showed her. She agreed that it did seem to visually imply what I had assumed, based on the way the new MacBook Airs were listed first, and offered to pass that feedback up the chain. But, of course, they couldn’t just decide to ignore the corporate policy and give us the gift card anyway just because I didn’t scroll far enough.

We didn’t want the older MacBook Air, and the lack of the promotional gift card wasn’t going be a deal-breaker. But Carlos and his manager did suggest we could complete the purchase pickup and then immediately return it. They’d refund my credit card and then we could repurchase the same Mac using one of the discount programs we did qualify for (local government employee for me and educational for my wife, who teaches at our local community college). So that’s what we did. But the best customer service of any retail store chain I’ve ever experienced was not finished yet.

After the initial online purchase was completed and “picked up,” and then subsequently returned, as we started the repurchase of the MacBook Air, Carlos looked through all the special discount buying options Apple offers and applied the one with the biggest percentage off—more than what either of us actually qualified for—amounting to almost $150 off the retail price.

Wife and husband happy customers at Apple Retail Store

My wife Lucinda and I are happy owners of a new MacBook Air.

So a big shout out to Carlos and his manager at Apple La Encantada for going the extra mile in the midst of a busy shopping day to make our Black Friday one we’ll remember every time we use our new, discounted, MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018).

Mac geek with new purchase outside Apple retail store

Bazza the Mac geek outside Apple La Encantada.

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Watch

The Long Wait is Over

After the Apple Watch was introduced in the Spring of 2015, I wrote a short post entitled “Which Watch.” Twenty months later, I finally purchased one. I did get the Space Gray 42mm aluminum with black fluoroelastomer sport band. Since I waited so long, I had a choice between the Series 1 and Series 2. Target made my choice easier due to a Black Friday discount on the Series 1.

I was originally planning on making this an unboxing photo essay, but it’s now been almost a year, so what’s the point? The introduction of the Series 3 has prompted me to come back to this draft post and wrap it up, finally!

My First Apple Watch

I did have an Apple Watch prior to the introduction of what the tech community is now calling “series 0,” however.

Original Apple Watch

Even though it thought different [differently?], it was not smart. So I was glad to upgrade to the Series 1.

Watch Series 1 Box

It has been a fun 11 months with the Watch Series 1. I use it primarily for notifications, a remote for playing audio from my iPhone 6s, and, in the last six months, walk workout fitness tracking. Having the watch has motivated me to get out and move more than I had been in many years, so I think it has been a good investment.

Watch Series 1 on Wrist

So, there you have it. I’ve incorporated the Watch into my daily routine. Now, another decision has to be made. Do I upgrade to the Series 3? And if so, do I go for LTE?

Which Watch?

Do I want an  Watch? Yes. Do I need an  Watch? Probably not. Will I buy an  Watch? At some point, yes. Which  Watch? 42mm Sport with black fluoroelastomer band.

But first I want an iPhone 6. And before that I need a new Mac.

The  Watch is getting more and more expensive. 😜

Happy Belated Birthday, iPhone

“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.” ~Steve Jobs

I neglected to mark the day on June 29, the seventh anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch. I didn’t own or use an iPhone until 2009 (iPhone 3Gs), but my computing life sure has changed due to the iPhone.

Apple gives developers a hug.

Apple gives developers a hug.

Dave Wiskus writing for Macworld:

Those of us who make software tend to see our industry through the lens of what came before us: a scrappy group of nerds banded together to start software companies and change the world. It’s easy to continue to cast ourselves as the underdogs, but the truth is that we won. Technology is cool now. People are buying computing devices and software at a rate unmatched in history. All kinds of people like this stuff, and now Apple is empowering and encouraging us to make software for all kinds of people.

As a user (not a developer), I agree with Mr. Wiskus’ take on Apple’s WWDC keynote. Last year I thought we were seeing the emerging of Tim Cook’s Apple. This year it’s beginning to blossom.

Be sure to watch the short WWDC Developer Reactions video.

The Unboxing

I’ve had a Space Gray iPhone 5s since mid-November, 2013. I have put off getting any kind of case, wanting to see how if fares naked under normal use. I did apply a screen protector film on the face (since it came at a discount from Best Buy when I purchased the phone), but that’s the only protection it’s had—up to this point.

Yesterday, I put my iPhone in one of Apple’s leather cases. I wanted the (PRODUCT) RED™ case—because I like the color red and I like that a portion of the purchase price is donated to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa—but our local Best Buy only carried the black and brown ones. (Aside: there are a number of reasons I chose to purchase from Best Buy instead of directly from Apple or some other retailer, but I won’t bore you with that story.) So I ordered one for in-store pickup early last week and it came in—and I picked it up—yesterday on my way home.

As I sat down to take it out and put it on my iPhone while waiting for the Papa Murphy’s pizza to bake, I decided to be a little silly and take unboxing photos to share with all my loyal fans (I say with tongue firmly planted in cheek). So here you go world, my Apple (PRODUCT) RED™ leather iPhone 5s case unboxing and installation. Enjoy…

Remove Bust Buy Label

1. First I removed the ugly shipping label that Best Buy applied to get it to our local store.

New Case in Box

2. The front of the now pristine package.

Back of Box

3. The back side of the package.

Opening and Leather Notice

4. The rack hanger is built into the top opening of the package. To open it, a plastic strip needs to be ripped off (indicated by the arrow in the orange dot). The text below reads, “This case is made from natural aniline leather. It’s appearance will change as you use it.”

Top Open

5. After ripping off the plastic strip, the top opens easily.

Slide Out the Goods

6. Once opened, the case and cardboard backing easily slide out of the plastic package.

Take Case Off Backing

7. The leather iPhone case just pops off the cardboard backing. After which, the phone easily popped into the leather case.

Phone in Case Front

8. The front of my iPhone 5s, now in the red leather case.

Phone in Case Back

9. The back of the case protecting my iPhone 5s. Such a pretty red.

 

Two-fer: Verizon sticks it to rival carriers in the US

Two-fer: Verizon sticks it to rival carriers in the US

The offer underscores the competitive nature of the U.S. mobile market, where Verizon faces intense competition from rival AT&T, as well as stepped-up price wars prompted by T-Mobile. Yankee Group estimates AT&T and Verizon are neck-and-neck when it comes to share of domestic mobile phone lines, at roughly 33 percent each.

Two crappy customer experiences for the price of one is good business. Anything is better than paying the higher subsidies to Apple—customer be damned!