SMB Now Blog: The blog for small to medium sized business.

Ten SMB Secret Tips for the Apple iPhone

by Jonathan Zschau

1.      Be prepared to act fast. If you want the new iPhone, be prepared to act fast on the date of release. After the announcement of the iPhone 4 pre-orders sold out within a matter of hours and those who procrastinated got left out in the cold. Pay attention to Apple news sources and pre-order your new iPhone as early as possible.

2.   Avoid the lines: order online and deliver to your home. There are going to be lines around the block for the new iPhone. Don’t let fear of expensive shipping fees or late deliveries stop you from buying online. Apple has a great track record for getting new iPhones delivered to customers on time and delivery is free.

3.   Buy from alternative sellers. If Apple’s pre-ordering system gets bogged down, buy from Verizon or AT&T. Whenever you buy from authorized retailers your new iPhone will come with the same one-year limited warranty and will be fully serviceable at Apple locations. Be aware, however, that return policies and procedures may differ from Apple’s so you should take a moment to read the retailer’s return policy.

4.   Sell your old iPhone. If you’re upgrading from an old iPhone consider selling your old one for cash on eBay, Craigslist, or other channels such as sellyourmac.com. There’s plenty of demand and a used iPhone can fetch as much as a few hundred dollars. You can also trade in your iPhone with companies like Gazelle.com, which offers hundreds of dollars for well-kept models.

5.   Buy with a credit card that offers additional protection. Many credit card companies (such as American Express) offer additional protection plans on purchases made with their cards. As long as you pay off your card balance so you don’t accrue interest or other fees that offset the benefit, it may be a good idea to take advantage of this service.

6.   Hold off on AppleCare. AppleCare is Apple’s own service plan, which it offers for most of its products. The iPhone AppleCare plan currently costs $69 and can be obtained at any time for up to one year after purchase. Apart from the additional telephone technical support available beyond the 90-day complimentary period, there is little benefit to buying AppleCare before the one-year limited warranty is about to expire. Consider saving a date 11 months after you purchase your iPhone and decide then. It’s a waste of $69 if your phone gets lost, stolen, or damaged in a way that would void coverage (for example, by water damage).

7.   Invest in a good case. Whether or not to equip your iPhone with a case is a matter of personal preference and risk assessment. If you do decide to buy a case take some time to read the reviews and choose one that is both aesthetically pleasing and offers sufficient protection for the types of environments you envision taking your iPhone into.

8.   Learn iOS5. The iPhone 5’s operating system, iOS, is just as important—if not more—than the new hardware features in the iPhone 5. All smartphones, not just the iPhone, are capable of far more than most users give them credit for. Take time to read up on the capabilities of the iOS and pay particular attention to the new features.

9.   Do your research and read the reviews. Whatever iPhone(s) Apple releases this fall it’s important to research whether a new iPhone is really right for you. Online Mac sites are a great place to start because writers will be covering Apple’s release and sharing ideas and opinions for weeks before and after the announcement.

10. Look out for defects and be an informed consumer. Always be on the lookout for defects and get them addressed when they first arise. Stay informed by keeping up to date on problems, issues, bugs and breakdowns other Mac users may be having through Mac web sites (such as Cult of Mac.com).

About the Author:

Jonathan Zschau is not your average Mac enthusiast. He is a Boston-based attorney, a consumer rights advocate, a regular columnist for a popular Mac blog site called Cult of Mac. Two years ago, Jonathan got Apple to agree to replace his MacBook with a brand new model—free of charge. In his new book, Buying and Owning a Mac, he shares what he has learned about how consumers can get what they need and want from Apple.

“It’s a little-known secret,” he says, “but you have the ability to make Apple bend over backwards for you. The onus is on you, the consumer, to make it happen. It’s your job to be an informed and proactive consumer—an advocate for your own interests and rights.”

Buying and Owning a Mac: Secrets Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know is available at bookstores online in print, PDF, EPUB, and Kindle formats

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