Apple will soon charge for out-of-warranty chat support, schedule repairs via new web payment system

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Apple is about to begin charging users outside of their warranty for online chat support using a new web payment system it recently developed. Sources familiar with the project say Apple is currently expecting to launch the new paid chat support, which will also let customers schedule repairs and replacements online, as early as next week. Here’s how it works: Read more

Wishful thinking: Why it’d be nice if Apple created a line of Ive-designed office technology products

Image: deskology.com

Image: deskology.com

I have a number of friends who can’t understand why I pay what they refer to as ‘the Apple tax': the premium paid for Apple products over alternatives that offer much the same functionality.

I can argue about the functionality, of course. The usability, stability and (usually!) security of OS X are all things worth paying for in my view, but I’m not ashamed to admit that aesthetics also matter to me. When I’m going to spend 8+ hours in front of a computer, I’d rather I was looking at something sleek and beautiful rather than something plastic, ugly and a chore to use and understand.

I feel the same way about the other technology on my desk and in my office, but it isn’t always easy to find kit that works well and looks the part too. I can’t help thinking there’s a lot of office technology that could use the Jony Ive touch …  Read more

Apple seeds OS X 10.9.1 to support staff as public release approaches

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In early November, we reported that Apple had begun seeding versions of OS X Mavericks 10.9.1 and 10.9.2 to employees within the its Software Engineering division. Since then, Apple provided two OS X 10.9.1 seeds to registered developers. These builds focus on improvements to Mail, Voice Over, and general system stability. The update will serve as the first point-update to the recently released OS X Mavericks.

Now, we’ve learned that Apple has provided build 13B40 of 10.9.1 to AppleCare employees. This internal release indicates that the public release of OS X 10.9.1 is near as Apple’s support staff will become familiar with the software in order to seemingly assist customers in the near-future. That particular build is the same version provided to developers last night. OS X 10.9.2 will likely follow with additional fixes in the following weeks.

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Apple Stores to soon offer iPhone 5s & 5c screen replacements, other repairs

iPhone 5s Teardown via iFixit

iPhone 5s Teardown via iFixit

Apple is gearing up to soon begin hardware repairs for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in its chain of retail stores, according to sources with knowledge of the upcoming initiative. These sources say that Apple Stores will be able to replace several parts of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on-site, meaning that Apple will no-longer need to fully replace iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c units with damage or other problems…

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Apple seeds a pair of OS X Mavericks updates internally

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Apple has seeded two software upgrades for OS X Mavericks internally, according to a source with knowledge of the upcoming updates. This person says that the updates are labeled as OS X 10.9.1 and OS X 10.9.2. The first update is expected to be released later this month, and it will serve as an update to squash bugs that accompanied the OS X 10.9.0 release of Mavericks last month. Many users have complained about issues relating to the Mail and iBooks applications, and Apple is preparing to release individual bug-fix updates for those apps in the coming days…

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How Apple will handle replacements for iPhone 5s units with battery problems

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Earlier this week, Apple confirmed that some iPhone 5s units are affected by battery-life issues due to a manufacturing glitch. Apple said that customers with affected units would be contacted to receive a replacement device. Now, sources have shared some details into how exactly that process will work. Besides what is listed in the quote from Apple’s PR department, Apple has told AppleCare representatives that the issue can cause “shortened battery life, longer charge times, or a battery that will no longer charge…”

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Apple opens up new East Coast U.S. AppleCare center to speed up repairs

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Apple’s new repair center (via Google Earth)

Apple has opened up a secondary dedicated AppleCare repairs warehouse in the United States in recent days, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the new center. The new warehouse is located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and public records indicate that the facility comes in at just under 200,000 square-feet with an additional 2500 square-feet of space available for offices.

Apple will use this facility to conduct repairs and replacements and to manage, package, and ship repaired Apple devices to both customer’s homes and Apple Store Genius Bars across the country. When an Apple customer of a Mac computer, for example, needs aspects of their device replaced and fixed, their product is typically shipped to a similar warehouse in Elk Grove, California…

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AppleCare begins OS X Mavericks training ahead of likely launch toward end of October

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Apple has begun training its AppleCare support staff on its upcoming OS X Mavericks, according to several sources. These sources say that training has begun today, and support staff will be required to learn about the operating system’s new features, installation process, and troubleshooting options for at least six hours over the course of the next few weeks…

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iMessage issues? Apple says fix available in upcoming software update

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Over the past few days, several iOS 7 users have been reporting issues with sending and receiving iMessages. A quick (partially successful) fix has been to Reset Network Settings inside of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch Settings app. However, this mostly has only been working for outgoing iMessages.

Instead of sending as an iMessage, texts have either been reverting to SMS or just hanging without ever sending. Now, Apple has told the WSJ that it is aware of the issue and it is working on a fix for an upcoming software update:

“We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update,” Apple said in a statement. “In the meantime, we encourage any users having problems to reference our troubleshooting documents or contact AppleCare to help resolve their issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes impacted users.”

In the meantime, Apple is recommending that users contact AppleCare. We’re not so sure that will solve anything as this is clearly a software issue that Apple has acknowledged (in the same statement!) will be solved with an actual update. As our own analytics have shown, Apple is widely testing iOS 7.0.3, so perhaps this will be the release with the answers to our iMessage troubles.

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iOS 7 downloads causing network outages at several school campuses, activation server failures

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As noticed by BusinessInsider, Apple’s release of iOS 7 today is causing havoc for the networks of several college campuses and other schools where a large number of iOS device users are attempting to download the new OS. Some schools, including Ohio University, is even urging students to delay upgrading to iOS 7 as the network experiences network problems due to the high amount of traffic.

Others having WiFi issues today include New York University, Michigan University, and Western Connecticut State University. Those three schools haven’t confirmed iOS 7 is the cause of network outages today, but students on Twitter have noted that iOS 7 is likely the culprit… Read more

Apple quietly adds $59 AppleCare+ for iPod touch and iPod Classic

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Not only did the iPod (Rasputin) Classic not die as predicted (again) today, Apple is wrapping the ‘old man of the iPods’ up with its Apple Care Plus plans along with the more popular iPod touch. According to the updated iPod support page, Apple customers can now purchase an additional year of coverage for the iPods as well as phone support beyond 90 days and most importantly, two incidents of accidental damage coverage (+$29 service fee) for $59 here.

Previously, only regular AppleCare as available to iPods and was grouped in with Apple TVs.

Apple also raised AppleCare+ fees today on iPhones from $49 to $79 and also launched in Europe.

Update: We have also learned that out of warranty replacements for the iPhone 5 (and presumably 5s) will be priced at $269, an increase of $40 over the past year. This inflated cost may make it easier for iPhone owners to justify the up-front cost of AppleCare+.

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