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Out of the Blue: There may be no way out of the Apple vortex

Finding the right phone proves to be a communications nightmare.

December 05, 2013|By Billy Fried

Now that holiday shopping is in full throttle, it's time to ask that computer-age old question: Just how many Apple products does a household need?

If you are like me, you have Apple desktops, laptops, iPads, iPhones, and various generations of iPods you never use. Plus Apple TV and Apple routers. It's an abusive relationship I can't get out of. I'm the low self-esteem guy who gets degraded and abused, yet can't pursue another girl because when it's good it's good, and when it's bad, well, its still good enough for me.

I had one such experience recently when I sought to figure out why my just-over-a-year-old iPhone 4S could no longer hold a battery charge. I routinely closed all my apps, and even turned off those notorious juice suckers, WiFi and Bluetooth. Nothing worked. I became the cord-carrying guy always desperate for the next socket.

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Then one day at physical therapy I met some Laguna High School girls talking Instagram techniques. Ahh, young techies. I asked if they knew how to overcome battery issues and they suggested I restore the whole system. Only when I did I accidentally upgraded my operating system to iOS 7. And as everyone with an iPhone4 knows, iOS 7 is actually an Apple virus that makes your 4 so buggy you are left with no choice but to upgrade to the 5.

Now I had little battery life and tons of bugs. I made several trips to the dreaded Apple store and asked if I could remove iOS 7 and return to my old operating system. Nope, irreversible. And yet when we discovered it didn't fix the battery problem, and that I was unfortunately just past the one-year warranty, the only solution Apple offered was a discount on an upgraded 5. The same discount anyone would get if they signed a two-year service contract.

"Wait, are you blaming the defective battery on me?" I asked.

"Not at all," the unkempt, tatted, unfailingly polite punk, I mean, Apple employee answered. "But you are past the warranty, so all we can do is offer you a new phone at a discounted price. But you can trade in your 4G and apply it to the purchase."

"How much do I get?" I asked.

"That depends on the condition," said the clerk. He took the phone and surreptitiously inspected the ports with his back turned to me. Then he walked it over to another guy who examined it with what looked like an anal probe.

"We can't offer you anything, there's water damage," said the returning worm, I mean, clerk.

"What?! But it works just fine!" I argued. The guy just shrugged.

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