Another AirPods Mishap

I am by no means a novice when it comes to technology. I would like to think that I take care of my technology, particularly since I have spent my hard earned money on them. However, it seems as though I do not have much luck with the AirPods, because I have had another incident with my AirPods. This is on top of the issue I had last April, where I dropped my AirPods into the toilet; case and all. I had another mishap with my AirPods. However, this time it is not nearly as bad.

Replacing an AirPod

A couple weeks ago I made an appointment at the Apple Store to get the right AirPod of my set replaced. I had been having issues with it for a while, but finally got around to making an appointment. The issue I had been having is that I could not hear anything unless I turned the AirPod approximately 45 degrees. This arrangement made it difficult to listen to something when you cannot hear anything. At my appointment, the right AirPod was replaced under warranty. One side effect of this is that the right AirPod now has significantly better battery life than the left; but that is an entirely different issue. Even with this, I have fun into another issue with my AirPods. This one, again, is self-inflicted.

This Ordeal

So during my normal weekend routine of laundry, I changed pants so I could wash the ones that I was wearing. When I put the clothes in the dryer, I began hearing a “thump, thump, thump” like something was hitting the dryer drum. I initially looked and thought it might be the hoodie I had in there. So I removed the hoodie and started up the dryer again. Again, I heard the same thumping. I again took a much closer look and saw something I did not want to see. My AirPods case in the dryer. Luckily, I was wearing the actual AirPods at the time, so I knew they were alright.

What I thought I had done and normally do, but obviously did not do, was check to make sure that I did not leave anything in my pants before throwing the nto the washer. If I manage to leave a pair of nail clippers, change, or even a comb in my pocket there is typically no issue. However, forgetting something else could be a problem, and obviously it had become an issue.

When I had my incident last April, I ordered a pair from AT&T and they arrived in a couple of days. I also did something I normally would not do, at least with something so expensive, I bought a second pair. The second pair I ordered from Apple, and this was back when AirPods were taking six weeks to receive. The second pair had been sitting wrapped in their box since I received them. I had contemplated on returning them, but decided not to.

Next Course

While I am writing this, I debated on what to do for the next course of action. Since I have the second pair of AirPods, it is not a problem for me to just use the case from the new pair of AirPods, with my older AirPods and wait out for the new AirPods case with wireless charging to be available. Once the new case is available, buy a wireless charging case, which I am going to end up doing anyway, and use the new case with the older AirPods.

The other option is to buy a replacement case for $69 and have two pairs of AirPods again. Due to the fact that we do not know when the new AirPods case will be available. I am tempted to just buy a new AirPods case and then replace one of them when the new AirPods case with wireless charging comes out.

I ultimately decided to just order a new AirPods case, since I did not like the idea of having two AirPods just sitting in one spot, which could easily get lost, as well as not knowing when the wireless charging cases will be released.

Apple Support

I initially thought about going to the Apple Store to get a replacement case. But after looking at my options for appointments, it would have taken over a week to get an appointment. I opted to use Chat support instead. Since I have no problem waiting a couple of days for a replacement to arrive. After working with Apple Chat Support for 25 minutes, they were having trouble generating a payment URL, so I could pay online. The options given to me were to wait for the email or get a call back. I opted for a call back. While I was waiting for a representative, I got an email indicating that my repair had been cancelled.

Once I was able to talk to a senior Apple Care member, they inquired about the repair case. I mentioned that I got the cancellation email. The representative determined that they were o setup a whole new repair, which they did, and they were able to get another case setup and properly generate the payment URL.

Concerns

I had to go through the confirmation validating the information, agreeing to the terms, and everything else associated with it. When I looked amount, it was actually almost $12 more. Nearly $5 of this was for taxes, which is fine, but the other $7 is for shipping charges. I can understand the taxes, without any qualms, since I am being sold something, but the shipping charge seems a bit excessive, considering Apple is likely making a hefty margin, and typically everything over $50 comes with free shipping.

However, the shipping charges are not the thing that concerns me the most. When I went to pay for the replacement AirPods case, the only payment option provided was via card, there was no option to use Apple Pay. If it were any other retailer, I would not have thought twice about it, but this is Appel. To me, this seems like an oversight. You would think that Apple would want to implement Apple Pay in as many places as they could, but for some reason on the support site, they did not, which confounds me. I was still on the phone with the Apple Care senior support person and mentioned this to them. They were surprised as well. They also mentioned that they were going mention it as a spot to improve service.

Final Thoughts

I should be receiving my replacement AirPods case within a few days. I do have the one that went through the washer sitting in some rice, on the off chance that the case does decide to work again; but I am not betting on it; hence why I ordered the new case. Until my new AirPods case arrives, I will be using the replacement case with my older AirPods, and returning the second AirPods case to its rightful pair. That will be how I do things, that is until the wireless charging case come out, when everything will change again.

Apple Sport Loop Band: A Review

I have had an Apple Watch since May of 2015. I have owned the original Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 2 and now the Apple Watch Series 3. During that time I have only used a single watch band, the black sport band. When I say that I have used a single watch band, I do not mean that I used the black sport watch band that came with each new Apple Watch. Instead, I just transferred the same band that I got from the original Apple Watch. Having used the same watch band shows that the Apple Watch band can last for a long time. More than two and half years, and it is likely that it can go even longer. I have been going back and forth with the idea of getting a new Apple Watch band for a while.

A couple weeks ago I made an appointment at Apple to get the screen on my iPhone 7 Plus replaced. While I was there waiting to pickup the iPhone I went to take a peak at the iMac Pro that was on display, which looks fantastic in all of its Space Gray glory. After looking at the iMac Pro I wandered over to the Apple Watch bands. Now, I am not one who will go with an ostentatious or bright colored watch band, it is just not my style. Instead I tend to stick to more muted colors. I did decide to pickup the Black Sport Loop band.

Comparison

The Black Apple Watch Sport Loop band is not entirely black. Actually it is a multi-colored band which has black surrounding it. A cursory glance would say otherwise, but if you look closer you will see a variety of colors. Some of the colors that can be seen are orange, blue, and red. Even with this the band still appears black.

The Sport Loop band differs from the classic Sport Band in almost every way. The Sports Band is a fluoroelastomer material, where as the Sport Loop is a bit more of a plastic base. The Sport Band comes in two pieces. The bottom portion of the band has a series of holes that allow you to select one that comfortably fits. The top part has a slot to receive the excess watch band from the bottom portion and at the edge is a stud to fit into one of the holes on the bottom portion of the band.

The Sport Loop is a single piece and, as the name suggests, a loop. The Sport Loop uses a hook and loop mechanism that allows you to get an exact fit. The actual locking mechanism is a series of five hooking mechanisms that you press down and get a snug fit.

After using the same Apple Watch band for more than two and a half years, you become accustom to how it feels. Getting accustom to the Sport Loop band took very little time. In fact, it is actually lighter, in terms of weight, than the Sport Band. Which is quite nice.

One of the biggest habits that I have had to change is how I place the Apple Watch on the charger. The watch charger that comes with the Apple Watch is not an issue with the Sport Loop, in fact the Sport Loop makes a nice pillow for the charger itself. You can just place the loop around the charger and it is not a problem.

As with the Sport Band, the Sport Loops can be used with the clasp coming from the top of the watch or the bottom of the watch, which allows for use on either wrist, but it also allows you to determine the best placement for the clasp.

Concerns

There is one thing that the Sport Loop does that the Sport Band does not, but it not necessarily a good thing. The Sport Loop can retain a small bit of water. It will eventually dry out, but it can be awkward if you place your wrist on your clothing after washing your hands and the water seeps out. Despite the Sport Loop retaining water, it does not affect the ability for the Sport Loop to stay secured. This is good for those who enjoy going swimming and have the Sport Loop on their Apple Watch.

Questions

The biggest question I have regarding Apple’s upcoming AirPower mat, is how well with sport loops bands charge on the mat? Will they charge at all? In order get them to charge will we need to remove one of the ends of the band from the Apple Watch in order to have it be placed close enough to be charge wirelessly?

We do not know the answer to these questions, but it is a concern with the loop bands. The only other band that might have some concern is the link bracelet, much for the same reason because it cannot lie flat enough to be charged.

Final Thoughts

The Sport Loop is a good Apple Watch band. The hook and loop enclosure mechanism that is used by the Sport Loop stays secure regardless of it being water logged or not, which is a definite plus. Despite its name the Black Sport Loop does contains small hints of color within the band, which is a nice accent and unless you are looking closer it is hardly noticeable. I have not decided whether I prefer the Sport Band or the Sport Loop. It is unlikely that I will be swapping out the watch bands anytime soon. If you are in the market for a new Apple Watch band, take a look at the Sport Loop, it may be a good choice for you.

Book Sales from 2012 to 2017

If you have been following me for any length of time, you probably notice that I try to advertise my e-books from time to time. I have been writing books about macOS and iOS since 2012. My first book was OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Server Review, which coincidentally is my overall best selling book. However, it is not the one that has sold the most during its release year, but more on that later.

I do no often post about how well my books are selling. This is not necessarily because I do not want people to know how well they are doing (not as well as one might think), nor is it because I care if people know how much I make from them (again is not nearly as much as one might guess). The reason I do not post more about them is because it may not be that interesting to many individuals. The last time I shared my e-book sales it was in 2014, when I released my iOS 8 e-books, and that was only because it was anomalous.

I thought I would look back at my entire sales history of all of my e-books. Part of the impetus for doing so is to determine where I should focus my attention for my books. Should I focus more on iOS or more on macOS? I tend to try and release my e-books on the day that the new version of iOS or macOS is released. This is likely due to the highest amount of interest being near the release of the operating system.

The Process

The first thing I had to do, in order to be able to gleam any information about my e-book sales, was to create a database of all of my books and then I needed to pull all of the sales information from both Apple and Amazon. Thankfully, being the data driven companies that they are, I was able to pull in the information, after a bit of tweaking.

There are still some issues with the way that I have it all setup and some aspects require manually adding some records to get the correct information, but given that my sales are not as large as you might assume, it is not a big deal. I will eventually fix it, but for now it is not an issue.

There were a few specific areas that I wanted to look at. The first was I wanted to compare release year totals, to “all-time” totals. The second was which country sold the most, after the U.S. To answer each of these required a different report to be created. Because I can program webpages for my day job, and because web programming has been a hobby for much longer, it was not a difficult task to accomplish. What I found was interesting.

macOS vs. iOS

The first thing that I found was the breakdown of macOS vs. iOS e-books. For just sales during the release year, which for most books is three to three and half months. Apple is 59.54% macOS vs. 40.46% iOS. Amazon is 69.40% macOS vs. 30.60% iOS. Overall the breakdown is 63.99% macOS vs. 36.01% iOS. This tells me that I need to focus on the macOS release more than the iOS release; which is the exact opposite of the amount of time I spent on each of the latest versions of my e-books.

Now if we look at all-time sales, this is where it really becomes interesting. For Apple sales, the macOS vs. iOS breakdown is 72.44% vs. 27.56%. For Amazon it is similar, 75.57% vs. 24.43%. The overall percentages are 73.71% vs. 26.29%. What this tells me is that the long tail for macOS e-books sales is much longer than for iOS. This is borne out with the next group of statistics.

Release Year

The next group we will look at is the percentage of sales that are release year sales. As mentioned above, I suspected that most of the sales were near the time when the new version of each operating system is released. From Apple, for macOS the percentage of sales that are from the release year only is 53.36% for macOS versus 95.30% for iOS. If I look at Amazon, it is even higher at 71.27% for macOS and 97.22% for iOS. The total for each is 60.88% and 96.01% respectively for macOS and iOS.

This statistic is the one that surprised me the most. This ultimately lets me know that once I am done with my iOS books, I am effectively truly done with them. Not many people end up buying iOS books beyond the initial release year. While I did not look into this specifically, it would not surprise me if the iOS books did not really sell beyond the first 60 days and possibly even the first 30 days. I could create a report to look at this, and I might at some point in the future.

Similarly, it might be a good idea for me to update the macOS books as new features, if any, are added. With the annual release of macOS, it may not be worth the effort to do this, but I will think about that in the future. Along side this, the Mac is a very mature operating system and the number of new features in each release is minimal.

After some thinking, it does not surprise me as much that macOS has a longer selling life than iOS. This is because many users upgrade their iPhones every year or two, so they may only be looking for a book about the version of iOS that comes with their upgraded phone. Conversely, users likely upgrade their Macs every three to four years, if not longer. So it would make a lot more sense that users may be looking for information about the latest version of macOS. At the same time though, it is also possible that users wait much longer to upgrade their Macs and want information about the latest version before upgrading. Next, let us look at the breakdown of sales by country.

Sales by Country

The last statistic we will look at is which countries, besides the U.S., do my books sell the best? One might suspect that the United Kingdom or even Australia as the second best selling market, after the United States, due to the language being the same. However, for whatever reason, this is not the case. In fact it is Germany that is the second best selling market, followed by the United Kingdom, France, and then closely by Canada.

Physical Books

In 2017, I decided to add physical books as an option. This was done as a means to increase sales and as another option for those who prefer physical books instead of e-books. For each book there is a color and a black and white version. I opted to provide both as a means to see how well each would see. Naturally, as one might suspect, the color version is a bit more expensive than the black and white version.

Given that this is the first year for physical book sales, I do not have any historical data for comparison. I published these through Amazon’s CreateSpace platform. It is possible to publish a physical book alongside a Kindle e-book, but CreateSpace offers a couple of additional features beyond the Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

I opted to go through CreateSpace because it allows distribution by more than just Amazon, but also through third-party resellers, like your favorite book store. This also allows libraries to purchase copies as well. A vast majority of sales have come through

With that in mind, for sales through the end of December are as follows. The macOS versus iOS sales percentages are 82.69% for macOS and 17.31% for iOS. The breakdown of black and white versus color is 65.38% black and white and 34.62% color copies.

Anomoly

There was one statistic that I intuitively knew, but did not have quantitative information for. That statistic was that 2014 was an anomalous year for my e-book sales. This happens to coincide with an anonymous year for iPhone sales too. I do not know if there is any causation, but there is a correlation. In 2014, 41.10% of my “all-time” sales of my iOS e-books, were for my iOS 8 book.

Overall Sales

The overall sales of my e-books have not been too bad. Not nearly as many as I would like, but I cannot complain too much. They will not allow me to quit my job and become independent wealthy, that is for sure. I do not know if any of the advertising nor any of the sales that I have done over the years have helped or not. If you would like to support the website, you can always purchase an e-book or two, or even a physical copy.

2017 Games Ranking

One of my areas of interest is video games. I do own a number of consoles. The list of consoles that I own includes:

  • Xbox One
  • Playstation 4
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Wii U
  • Playstation 3
  • Wii
  • Xbox 360

I do not generally use all of these. In fact, the only ones that I use on a regular basis are the first four listed. The Playstation 3 is effectively a Blu-ray player at this point.

My go to gaming console is the Xbox One. I do not buy that many games throughout the year. In fact, I generally only end up buying at most six a year. During 2017 I ended up buying more games than normal due to the Nintendo Switch being released. As a matter of fact, I only played eleven different games this year. I thought I would provide a ranking of the games that I have played throughout the year.

  1. Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
  2. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Xbox One)
  3. PCalc (iOS)
  4. LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 Deluxe (Xbox One)
  5. Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)
  6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch)
  7. Typeshift (iOS)
  8. Call of Duty: WWII (Xbox One)
  9. Lego City Undercover (Xbox One)
  10. Super Bomberman R (Nintendo Switch)
  11. Puyo Puyo Tetris (Nintendo Switch)

The ranking that provided above is for many reasons. I will attempt to briefly give reasons for my rankings.

1. Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is the best game that I have played this year. It worked flawlessly on the Nintendo Switch. It combined the best elements of classic 2D Super Mario as well as Nintendo 64 Mario, and it did this all to provide a great story and fun game play. There were only a couple of sections that I found that I could not accomplish. The new game play mechanics of using the hat did add a nice touch to the game. I hope Nintendo continues using the mechanic in another game in the future. I did not get all of the Moons, but that is okay with me.

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2. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Xbox One)

I have been of a fan of the Wolfenstein series since I first played Wolfenstein 3D back in the MS-DOS days. I have probably purchased more copies of Wolfenstein 3D than I care to admit. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was not universally loved, like Super Mario, but I enjoyed the story and the game play. You play as BJ Blazkowicz in a continuation of the story in the 2014 reboot, Wolfenstein: The New Order. The gameplay of Wolfenstein II was fun and some new mechanics added a nice touch to a first person shooter. I ran into some issues, which is why it ended up as second in my list and not number one.

To me the Wolfenstein Series, along with Duke Nukem and Doom, will always hold a special place and as long as there is another game in the Wolfenstein universe released, I will likely end up buying it.

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3. PCalc (iOS)

I do not play as many new iOS games as others do. On iOS I generally tend to stick to a couple of games, Solitaire and Tetris. PCalc is not a game, on its face. However, there is a full fledged game within the app. PCalc’s author James Thomson has been working on versions of PCalc for 25 years now. Every time a new feature in iOS is added, James attempts to include it within PCalc, if it makes sense.

Within iOS 11, Apple added a bunch of new frameworks that would allow developers to add augmented reality within their apps. James has done just this. You can play a racing game, complete with track and even achievements. With the inclusion of the game in the “About” screen, I consider it a game. If you have an Apple TV, PCalc TV is the way to really play the game. Plus, besides the game, you get a fully fledged calculator and you definitely need one on the iPad.

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4. Lego Marvel Superheroes 2

Besides video games I love legos. As a kid, I loved playing with legos. As much as I love legos, Lego sets are a bit expensive and therefore I do not buy as many as I would like; plus I do not have the space for a bunch of sets. Now, if you combine Video games and Legos, it is a no brainer for me to get those. The strangest aspect to this purchase was that I am not a Comic book fan and do not really care to see most Comic-based movies. Therefore, I do not know about most of the characters that are included in these games. However, even with all of this, I did enjoy the Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 game.

The story was interesting and did make for a different gameplay. Despite my love for lego and video games, there was not really enough new to warrant having it go higher than it’s current ranking. One of the things I try to do with Lego games is get 100% on them. However, the Lego Superhero games do not allow me to do this. The fact that it is a Lego game, is why it edged out the next game.

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5. Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Unlike the Wolfenstein series, the Zelda franchise is not one that I generally partake in. The biggest reason that I ended up playing some of Zelda is that when I got my Nintendo Switch back in March there were not many games out, particularly since Mario Kart was not going to be released until April. Therefore, in order to be able to play something I picked up a copy of Zelda.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a visually stunning game. The story really does allow you to become immersed within the world and urges you on. The open world nature of the game provides a way for you to be able to go and explore wherever you want. Eventually though, it did not hold enough appeal for me to continue playing it. For those that love Zelda, it is a great game to play and is one that you should go out and play.

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6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

One of the things that is not easy to do is differentiate racing games. Racing games all have a common game mechanic, end up in first. It is not easy to make your game stand out, however for Nintendo it is a bit easier. This is due to having a large breadth of characters. Mario Kart has been the go to Nintendo racing game, not only for the iconic characters, but because of the very

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not a brand new Mario Kart game, since it was available for the Nintendo Wii U, but the Nintendo Switch provided a boost to sales of the game. Mario Kart 8 is a traditional Mario Kart game complete with classic tracks as well as new ones. If you have played any Mario Kart games, Mario Kart 8 is one you should play as well.

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7. Typeshift (iOS)

There are only two iOS games on my list this year, and this is the second of them; Typeshift. TypeShift is a word puzzle game that provides you with a set of characters and the object of the game is make words using all of the characters. The catch is that the characters appear in vertical lines and have to shift each line to create the words.

While my explanation may not make a lot of sense, once you begin playing you will catch on quickly. Typeshift has become one of the games that I play daily, besides Tetris Premium and Solitaire by Mobilityware.

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8. Call of Duty: WWII (Xbox One)

You may be able to tel that my primary gaming genre is the first person shooter. One of the most popular franchises is the Call of Duty series. The Call of Duty series started off as a World War II series, but eventually turned to more modern and even futuristic storylines. Call of Duty: WWII brings the franchise back to its roots with World War II, but with modern mechanics.

For me, first person shooters are the single player stories, which is the antithesis of the focus of the series for many gamers. Much like Wolfenstein II, some players did not like the single player story, but I did not mind it. It was not the best story, but you do play as a number of different characters in different scenarios which was a nice adaptation for the series.

I have only played a couple dozen online matches for Call of Duty: WWII and it is not likely that I will play many more. The online matches offer no real differentiation from pervious games and is one of the big reasons that it is number 7 on my list. If you enjoy the Call of Duty series and were hoping for it to go back to its roots, this is one that you might enjoy.

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9. Lego City Undercover (Xbox One)

This is the second Lego video game that I have played this year, however it not the first time that I have played the game. Lego City Undercover originally came out in 2013 on the Wii U. When it was released on the Wii U it heavily relied upon the Wii U game pad for interaction. Without a game pad this time, interactions had to be adjusted.

I enjoyed playing through the game again and unlike Lego Marvel Superheroes 2, I did get 100% on this one. Because I had played it did not rank up as high as other games, but that does not diminish from how fun it is. If you take the vast open world nature of Grand Theft Auto or Zelda and place it within a world of Lego characters you will get Lego City Undercover. Lego City Undercover contains hours of fun and will keep you occupied for a long time.

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10. Super Bomberman R (Nintendo Switch)

With it being the debut year for the Nintendo Switch there are a number of games that are being released for the console. One of those games is a remake of a classic Nintendo franchise, Bomberman. Super Bomberman R is a rebooted Bomberman game. I never really played any of the previous Bomberman games, but I enjoyed the story mode on this one. There are 50 levels to play through where you have to complete puzzles to defeat the robot enemies. As with most games, there are some levels that are tougher than others, but overall it is a good puzzle game that will keep you entertained. There is an online multiplayer component, but I have not played online

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11. Puyo Puyo Tetris (Nintendo Switch)

The last game in my list for this year is Puyo Puyo Tetris. Puyo Puyo Tetris takes two franchises, Puyo Puyo and Tetris and intersperses gameplay of both games into one. I originally purchased this game because it was a Tetris game. However, I was quite disappointed with the game overall. I am sure if you were a fan of Puyo Puyo as well as Tetris you would enjoy it. However, for me, it was not anything that I enjoyed.

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Final Thoughts

Those are all of the game that I have played this year. The list may not be very long but I have played all of these games for more than a cursory amount of time. The one thing that I did not expect was to have two iOS games on my list, since my iOS devices are generally where I play most of my super casual games. Typically PCalc would not be included, but everything that James has done with the app, particularly with iOS 11, warrants its inclusion. It is not likely that I will play most of these games much in 2018, excluding maybe TypeShift and PCalc. I will likely go through Wolfenstein II again once the next one is released. I may dabble in Mario Kart and Super Mario Odyssey again, but once I finish a game I typically do not go back to it.

Depending on what games are released in 2018, as well as reaction to the list, I may do another list next year.

Apple’s Battery Mess

One of the issues with today’s technology is that almost every device relies on a battery. Maybe there will be a giant leap in battery technology that makes them effectively obsolete. Unfortunately, it is not likely a giant leap will be found soon. Hence, we are stuck with modern battery technology. Most batteries in today’s technology is based on lithium-ion technology. One of the issues with this technology is that it may no longer be able to provide all of the necessary power to devices. Up through September of 2016, if an iPhone was not capable of providing the necessary power to the device, it may act in strange ways. The most noticeable of these is that the device might end up shutting down. This is an unacceptable solution.

Starting with iOS 10.2.1, which was released in January of 2017, Apple made some changes in order to minimize the instances of iPhones inexplicably shutting down. The change that they made was to reduce the speed of the iPhones in order to reduce the burden on an iPhone’s battery. By doing this, users will still be able to keep using their iPhones. Along with this, if you went to “Settings” -> “Battery” and iOS detected issue with the battery you would see a notice indicating that you might need to get the battery serviced.

All of this came to light due to a set of benchmarks that were run that showed that the speed of the iPhone was noticeably slower. Once these benchmarks were released, it played directly into the narrative that Apple was deliberately slowing down devices to force users to upgrade. This was not the case.

Even though this is not the case, Apple has acknowledged the issue with their approach. At first they released a support article the discusses Lithium-Ion batteries. While this is informational, it did not directly address the cause. In order to help rectify it, Apple has issued an open letter. In this, Apple indicates that they will be reducing the price for out of warranty battery replacements. Currently, it is $79. Starting in late January, this price will be reduced to $29. This will be valid on iPhone 6 models, and later, from late January 2018 to December of 2018.

This is a good step to help those who have purchased an iPhone 6, or later, to be able to continue to use their devices. As the message about the battery states “Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.” This is absolutely necessary and should have been done before.

With this apology and price reduction, Walt Mossberg, former technology writer, had something to say about it in a series of tweets. Or you can read it in its entirety

It is as follows:

It’s natural that, after Apple’s apology and battery replacement discount, people are calling for the return of user-replaceable batteries in phones and other devices. And it may well happen. But one big reason Steve Jobs wanted to get rid of replaceable batteries was to make room for *larger* batteries, taking advantage of the space gained by eliminating the user-accessible battery compartments and covers and user-safe casings. Thinness was secondary. And industry sales figures showed hardly anyone bought spare batteries or kept them charged, and that device turnover was fast enough that degrading batteries weren’t much of an issue. Also, in the case of phones, their processors and other components for years weren’t potent enough to run truly powerful software or tax the batteries nearly as much as they do today. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 2020 smartphones with much more easily replaceable batteries, especially since Apple is now calling them “consumable” components.

Mossberg makes a good point, particularly the last sentence “especially since Apple is now calling them ‘consumable’ components.” If this is truly the case, then I would expect Apple to begin incorporating user-replaceable batteries. It would be nice to see a return, however I do not know how likely it is. I am sure that Apple will begin looking the feasibility of replaceable batteries. I do not expect it for 2018, but as Mossberg postulates, 2020 is a possibility.

It is not known what Apple will end up doing in the long run, but it would be nice to see a bit more flexibility. However, with the move to subscription phone subsidies, the need for user-replaceable batteries may be moot and not really an issue. Yes, this is absolutely bad for Apple, but Apple cannot control chemistry and the way that chemicals react. Should Apple have warned users, yes. I hope that Apple learns from its mistake and provides more information to the users. This incident may cause some users to switch to Android, but ultimately I do not think it will hurt Apple sales that much, but time will tell on that. Even with this battery issue, having an iPhone feel slower is still not as bad as having them explode, as Samsung experienced with their Galaxy Note 7, even so, this is not good.

iPhone Availability for 12/22/2017

Here is the iPhone Availability for 12/22/2017. This will be the last iPhone availability report for this generation of iPhone, barring any really strange and unforeseen availability issue. Most iPhone models are available from carriers or have a short lead time. If you were looking to get an iPhone in time for the holidays, it may be too late to have it shipped, but you may be able to pick one up from a store.

Changes for Apple

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Sprint – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Sprint – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Sprint – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Sprint – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Verizon – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Verizon – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Verizon – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27
  • Verizon – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Tue Dec 19 to Wed Dec 27

Changes for the Carriers

  • Verizon – 256GB Gold iPhone 8 Plus has changed from 12/22/2017 to Available
  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 20, 2017 to Dec 28, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 20, 2017 to Dec 28, 2017
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 20, 2017 to Dec 28, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 20, 2017 to Dec 28, 2017
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from 12/18/17 to 12/26/17
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from 01/03/18 to 12/26/17
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from 12/18/17 to 12/26/17
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from 12/27/17 to 12/26/17
iPhone 8
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
iPhone 8 Plus
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Gold Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
iPhone X
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27
Space Gray Wed Dec 27 Wed Dec 27

iPhone 8 – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Gold Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Space Gray Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/26/17 12/26/17
Gold 12/26/17 12/26/17
Space Gray 12/26/17 12/26/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/27/2017 Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone 8 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Gold Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Space Gray Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/26/17 01/10/18
Gold 12/26/17 12/26/17
Space Gray 12/26/17 12/26/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Space Gray Dec 28, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/26/17 12/26/17
Space Gray 12/26/17 12/26/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

Movies Anywhere

One of the possible downsides to having so many different purchasing options is that in oder to get the best deals, you have to stop around. One area where people look for deals is with movies. The biggest problem to today’s movie landscape is that there are two main competitors, when it comes to purchasing content; Amazon and iTunes. The most annoying aspect to this is that if you purchase a movie on Amazon you cannot watch it on iTunes, and vice versa. There was one exception to this, Disney Movies.

If there were one company that you would think would want to charge you every time for every movie on every service, it would be Disney. However, this was not the case. Disney actually allowed all of their movies to be purchased once and watched on iTunes or Google Play. This included all Disney movies, Pixar Movies and Marvel movies. This is a great solution for Disney Movies, but what about non-Disney Movies?

Movies Anywhere

Movies Anywhere takes the Disney Movies Anywhere concept and expands it to more than just Disney. Movies Anywhere will allow you to purchase a movie from iTunes or Google Play and play it anywhere. The movie studios that are involved with Movies Anywhere are:

  • Walt Disney Studios
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Universal Pictures
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment

There is one additional advantage to Movies Anywhere, and it is a big one.

Additional Viewing Locations

Being able to watch your movies on iTunes and Google Play is great. However, it would be very helpful, for many, to be able to use their Amazon Fire TV to watch the movies that they have purchased. With Movies Anywhere, this is possible, not because you can download a Vudu app to the Fire TV, but because Amazon is also part of the Movies Anywhere service. This means that you can watch the movies that you have purchased through Amazon.

Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet is a service that wanted to become the one-stop shop for your movies. However, this did not pan out as they might have hoped. Particularly since Apple was not on board. With Movies Anywhere, Ultraviolet is likely to disappear. If you, like me, never redeemed any of the ultraviolet codes that you received with your purchased DVDs and Blu-Rays, you can now do something with them. If the movie studio that produced the movie is supported by the Movies Anywhere service, you can use that code on the service to redeem the movie.

Downsides

The inclusion of all of these means that you now have a selection of even more movies than before. There are still two companies that are not included, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate Films. This means that not everything you purchase will be available through everywhere.

Tip for Purchasing Movies

There are two tips that I have for purchasing movies.

First Tip

What the lack of all movie studios being on the Movies Anywhere service means that some movies are not available. What this means you for is that you should continue to purchase movies, that are not on the service, from whichever service you primarily watch movies. If you watch most of your movies on an Amazon Fire, then continue to buy from Amazon. If you use an Apple TV, then continue to use iTunes to purchase your content. I recommend this because if Paramount and Lionsgate do come to Movies Anywhere, these movies will then be available everywhere. I also recommend this because even if the two studios are not added, you can still watch your movies using the application that you enjoy most.

Second Tip

The second tip I have is to always look for deals. You can purchase movies from Vudu, Google Play, Amazon, or iTunes and the movies will appear on all of the services. Therefore, it is a good idea to see where the movie is the least inexpensive and available on Movies Anywhere. You can see which movies are available on Movies Anywhere by doing a search from the homepage.

Final Thoughts

If you like looking for deals and prefer to be able to search any of the participating web stores, but still want to watch your content wherever you want, then Movies Anywhere is a good service to sign up for. The fact that Amazon, Apple and Google Play all participate means that a vast majority of users will be covered. If someone in 2007 said that you could purchase a movie on one platform and watch it on another, they would think that you were insane. However, in 2017, it is the case, and you can do just that with Movies Anywhere. If you have a Disney Movies Anywhere account, I highly recommend moving your collection over to Movies Anywhere, sooner rather than later.

iPhone X Review: Closing Thoughts

Throughout my iPhone X Review series, many topics have been covered including the screen, wireless charging, the camera and sensors, the processor, Face ID, Animoji, and even some developer concerns. In this final article for my iPhone X review, we will look at my overall thoughts on the iPhone X.

I do not think that I had as much delight in using a product as I have with the iPhone X. The delight that I feel is the same as it was with the original iPhone, and that was a whole new product category at the time. Do not get me wrong, I was excited to get a new phone every year, and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Yet the iPhone X had a different feel to it. Each iPhone brings its own features to the product and the iPhone X is no different in this manner.

There have been four iPhones that I have been extra excited to use. They are, in order of release, the original iPhone, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPhone X. Each of these had their own significance. The original iPhone, because it was the basis for all future iPhones and it was a wholly new product that had not been seen before. The iPhone 4 because it was the first Retina iPhone and seeing just how sharp an iPhone screen could be was a real treat. The iPhone 5s due to ToucH ID, which would become instrumental and a fundamental interaction point with that and future iPhones. The iPhone 6 Plus due to the all new form factor and possibilities with the landscape view. Finally, the iPhone X because of its radical rethinking of an iPhone.

As much as I have enjoyed each iPhone that I have owned, which is all but the 5c and the 8 Plus, the iPhone X is wholly different. The iPhone X is one of the more exciting phones that I have owned. The physical size of the iPhone X allows it to fit more comfortably into a pocket and Face ID is a fundamental change in biometric authentication and works in almost all situations. There have been a few where it has not.

The actual design of the iPhone X is fantastic. After I get an iPhone, I do the initial setup and the immediately put the case, which invariably arrives days before the iPhone, onto the iPhone. I do this not only for protection, but also to keep my phones in really condition. When I take the case off, the actual design of the iPhone X feels great in the hands. The all glass front and back, along with the corners, makes it a nice and smooth band around the edge. It is not only reminiscent of the original iPhone, but also more akin to the iPhone 4 with its glass front and back and the chamfered edges.

Face ID works a lot better, faster, and in many more situations than most might anticipate. The limitation of registering only face for Face ID will be a limiting factor for many individuals, but it is merely a first generation release.

When you use the iPhone X on a day-to-day basis, the notch becomes a non-issue. Sure, you will notice it at first but since your eyes are elsewhere, I know I do not even really notice it, unless I am purposely looking at it. s is because you are generally looking at the screen and with the iPhone X, it is all screen. The OLED screen really does make a difference when you are viewing anything with a black background on it. I did a brief comparison between my old iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone X and when both were at full brightness, and not using night shift mode, I looked at the same picture on both phones. When I did this, you could see the black area to the sides. On the iPhone 7 Plus it appears a blueish gray, whereas on the iPhone X, it is a true black.

If there is an application that has not yet been updated with either a dark mode, or to support the iPhone X, be sure to contact the developer and request that they include a dark mode and update their app to support the iPhone X. Ultimately, it will be a better experience once most applications are updated.

The Future

No one knows 100% sure what the future of the iPhone will hold, nor how long it will be the dominate smartphone on the market. One day the iPhone will be supplanted by another device. Whether it is a smart phone, or another device time will tell.

The iPhone X resets the baseline for all future iPhones. As Apple has stated, the iPhone X is “Tomorrow’s iPhone, today”. It is not easy to put into words, just how going back to an iPhone 7 Plus feels like it is the wrong direction for phones to go. I get that not everyone can afford an iPhone X right now, but Apple’s introduction iPhone X is nearly indicating that this form factor is the way of the future for iPhones. While it will certainly take time for this form factor to trickle down the line, it will eventually be the primary form factor for phones. It will be interesting to see whether Apple releases an even larger version of the iPhone X, with an even larger screen at some point in the future.

Final Thoughts

The iPhone X is Apple’s flagship phone and a luxury to boot. The iPhone X is the direction that Apple is taking its most profitable and most popular product. Even with its $999 price tag, it does pack in a significant amount of technology in a small package. The iPhone X is much closer in size to the iPhone 8 than the iPhone 8 Plus. Hence, if you thought a “Plus” sized phone was just too big, the size of the iPhone X may be a good fit.

The iPhone X has the best set of cameras on any iPhone. The wide-angle lens on the iPhone X is the same as the one on the iPhone 8, but the telephoto lens is just a bit better due to the optical image stabilization on both lenses. This allows better videos and pictures, because the pictures and videos will not shake as much.

The inclusion of safe areas also opens up the opportunity for Apple to create other distinct interface designs in the future without having to worry about developers being able to support these new interface designs. It may not be likely that this will occur, but it is a possibility to be aware of.

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, indicated that the iPhone X was originally slated for release 2018. Yet, releasing the iPhone X in 2017 really does mean that we have tomorrow’s technology in our hands today. The iPhone X seems to take all of the best physical features of the previous iPhones and puts them all into one package and yet it brings its own flair and style to the iPhone Line. To be honest the it really is a delight to use the iPhone X. If you are due for an upgrade, and have the monetary means, it really is worth looking at getting the iPhone X. I do not think that you will be disappointed.

iPhone Availability for 12/16/2017 (Morning)

Here is the iPhone Availability for the morning of December 16th, 2017. All iPhones from Apple are in stock and available by Tuesday, December 19th. Hence, there is still time to get an iPhone before the holidays.

Changes for Apple

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Sprint – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • T-Mobile – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 22 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19
  • Verizon – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Mon Dec 18 to Tue Dec 19

Changes for the Carriers

  • AT&T – 64GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Silver iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017
  • AT&T – 64GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017
  • AT&T – 256GB Space Gray iPhone X has changed from Dec 19, 2017 to Dec 20, 2017

iPhone 8
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
iPhone 8 Plus
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Gold Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
iPhone X
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19
Space Gray Tue Dec 19 Tue Dec 19

iPhone 8 – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Gold Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Space Gray Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 12/18/17
Gold 12/18/17 12/18/17
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/18/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone 8 Plus – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Gold Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Space Gray Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 01/03/18
Gold 12/18/17 12/18/17
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/18/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Gold Available 12/22/2017
Space Gray Available Available

iPhone X – from Carriers
AT&T 64GB 256GB
Silver Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Space Gray Dec 20, 2017 Dec 20, 2017
Sprint 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available
T-Mobile 64GB 256GB
Silver 12/18/17 01/03/18
Space Gray 12/18/17 12/27/17
Verizon 64GB 256GB
Silver Available Available
Space Gray Available Available