Sell Your Mac Experience

The other day I wrote that I was selling my old iMac and that I was selling it to Sell Your Mac.

At first, I was a bit apprehensive to sell it to someone other than Gazelle but since they are no longer buying Macs I had no choice.

Selling my iMac to Sell Your Mac was simple and payment was fast. I got a quote, shipped my iMac to them, and had a check for the amount quoted within a few days.

If you’re looking to sell Apple hardware be sure to get a quote from Sell Your Mac. And, don’t let the name fool you. They buy all of Apples hardware Mac, iPhone, iPad and more.

Rain Design mStand for my MacBook Pro

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I recently sold my old iMac to Sell Your Mac and am now using my 2015 MacBook Pro (MBP) as my primary computer.

To make my MBP more like a desktop computer, while working at my desk, I purchased the Rain Design mStand. It raises the screen height to eye level and the tilt design brings the screen closer and improves airflow around my MBP. The cable organizer behind routes my wires neatly. It’s sand-blasted and silver anodized finish matches my MBP perfectly.

I also kept my Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad 2.

mstand_specs1The mStand is compatible with Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook and other laptops with depths less than 10.4 inches. And as a side note, Wirecutter rated the mStand the best budget laptop stand of 2019.

Selling my iMac

I’m selling my late 2013 21.5” non-retina iMac. It’s getting old and tired, lots of beach balls these days. I’m also having some issues with Bluetooth. At times the keyboard and mouse get all wonky since upgrading too Mojave.

My early 2015 13” MacBook Pro is in great shape and way faster than the old iMac. The only thing I think I’ll miss is the extra screen space of the iMac. But, I figure I can use my iPad as a second screen in the event I need more screen space.

I usually sell my stuff to Gazelle but as of the first of July, they are no longer buying Macs. That was actually quite a surprise since I had just gotten a quote for my iMac from them in June. So instead, I’m selling it to Sell Your Mac. They are actually paying a little more than what Gazelle offered me back in June.

I’m looking forward to not having to keep 2 Macs up to date and in sync any longer.

2018 and newer MacBook Pro and MacBook Air now included in Apple’s Keyboard Service Program

I meant to write about the changes to Apple’s Keyboard Service Program a few weeks ago but I never got around to it. So, here it is now.

These changes were particularly good news for me because I bought my wife a 2018 MacBook Air for Christmas and I have been hearing rumbles that some folks are having problems with the keyboard.

Here’s the good news. As of May 21, 2019, Apple extended the Keyboard Service Program for MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro to include the 2018 MacBook Air and the 2018 and 2019 MacBook Pro. I have also heard that in order to speed up the repair process the repairs are now being made in Apple Stores with next day turnaround.

This is Apple’s statement about the keyboards:

Apple has determined that a small percentage of the keyboards in certain MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly
Letters or characters do not appear
Key(s) feel “sticky” or do not respond in a consistent manner

Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will service eligible MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge. The type of service will be determined after the keyboard is examined and may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard.

Why I now have an Apple Watch Series 4

I’ve been wearing a sports activity watch for several years. My main use case is to track my runs and to make sure that I meet my personal goal of 10,000 steps per day. I’ve been doing this with a Garmin Forerunner 35 and the Garmin Connect iOS app.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were in our local Apple Store to have the contents on her old MacBook Pro migrated to her new MacBook Air. While we were there I spent a few minutes checking out the new Series 4 Apple Watch.

I was interested in the Apple Watch because I had just read Joe Cieplinski article about the Apple Watch detecting an irregular heartbeat. If I’m not mistaken he discovered that he had A-Fib using the ECG feature. Then within a few days, Stephen Hackett on Connected Episode 238 talked about a fall he had taken on his bike and how the Apple Watch Fall Detection worked. Now, these are both areas that are of interest to me. I have a history of heart problems and as I’ve gotten older I find that I’m more prone to losing my balance and possibly taking a tumble.

The heart features of the Apple Watch and Fall Detection are why I now own one. Because the Apple Watch also has wonderful activity tracking I now use it to also track my runs and step count. So, what did I do with my Forerunner 35? I gave it to my wife since her Fitbit was about to die.

Apple Now Providing Free Data Migration for Mac

Apple is now offering data migration services for free when you purchase a new Mac or need to have a Mac replaced or repaired. Until now data migration was $99.

Tidbits heard about the policy change from a reader and confirmed the change with an Apple Store Operations Specialist.

Beginning April 2, there will be no cost for Data Migrations with the purchase of a new Mac or Data Transfers with a repair.

Apple products are getting more expensive

I’ve been thinking about Apple’s pricing a lot lately. It’s reached a point where I’m not going to be able to afford to update my Apple hardware as often as I would like.

My Apple devices are getting dated but for now, I won’t be upgrading to any new devices. I’m going to have to use my existing hardware until it becomes unusable. Instead of having an iMac, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone as I do now I’ll be more selective in the future. For example, my iMac is a late 2013 non-retina. It’s getting dated. It’s stuck on Sierra. I love it but when it fails I won’t be replacing it. Instead, I’ll use my 2015 MacBook for all my computing needs. I just can’t justify the cost of owning two macs anymore.

I’ll also be sticking with my iPhone 7 Plus for now. It works great and does everything that I need for it to do. At a $1,000 plus a new iPhone Xs model isn’t in my budget.

I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only one feeling this way. Here’s a Washington Post article that does a nice job of laying Apple’s price hikes and what you should do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard for you to swallow.

Geoffrey A. Fowler and Andrew Van Dam, writing for the Washington Post

Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt as though the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel.

What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation — faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders.

What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech. Most Americans who want a smartphone, tablet or laptop already have one and aren’t interested in changing to a new system. Without big subsidies from phone carriers and as product innovation slows, we also don’t mind holding on to these products for three or more years. Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how it gets money from us. So we need to change how we think about its value.

But the specs hardly matter. As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud — a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to all those Apple Stores and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy.

The paradox is that many Apple customers think they must have the latest, trained by Apple marketing to future-proof ourselves. So this year, instead of buying a year-old iPhone 8 at a discount or an iPhone XR (a much less expensive compromise to the top iPhone XS), many customers are skipping out on an upgrade altogether.

The question is: How far can Apple’s latest and greatest prices stretch? “Apple is becoming aggressive, perhaps overly so, in pricing the top- of-the-line models of its products,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategy consultant. And that is “putting its loyal relationship with its core customers at risk.”

In 2014, Americans waited about 24 months to upgrade their phones at national carriers, according to BayStreet. Now we’re waiting almost 36 months. People will ride their iPhone 6S until its wheels come off.

“I could see it going to four years” for phones, says industry analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies.

So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow?

Instead, you might ask: How many Apple products do you really need?

Beyond that, it’s about recalibrating our upgrade urge. Apple devices really do last a long time, all the more so with the inexpensive battery replacements Apple is offering through the end of the year. If your iPhone breaks, used ones available on eBay can still work great for far less money.

Or: Before buying the new thing following one of Apple’s launch events, wait a month until the buzz settles. If the product doesn’t still seem very revolutionary, it’s a safe bet to save your money by holding on for another year. Or four.

Magic Mouse randomly losing connection

I have been having issues with my Magic Mouse losing its connection. It was happening so often that it was driving me crazy. I had to do something about it.

I started by doing a google search for “Magic Mouse keeps losses connection”. I found a forum where other folks were having the same problem. This suggestion by sbeddoesdesign in an Apple Discussion Forum solved my problem:

I had this problem too, turns out a slight design flaw with the mouse is that smaller batteries come loose and power is lost, so the bluetooth dies. You’ll probably find that it loses connection when you’re moving it around quite a lot, in particular, when you lift it up off of the desk and put it back down again. See, different brands of battery tend to be ever so slightly varied in size, and smaller ones tend to be more ‘loose’ in the mouse and an be shaken loose when moving the mouse around.

The best solution (the one which worked for me) is to grab a set of Apple’s own rechargeable batteries from their store as they are just the right size to fit in the mouse without ever being shaken loose.

If you can’t do this, some people find that wedging a bunch of paper between the two batteries and between the batteries and the mouse door can help keep them in place.

Wedging a bunch of paper between the two batteries and between the batteries and the mouse door worked for me. If you’re experiencing the same problem with your Magic Mouse I hope this solves the problem for you as it did me.

iOS 12 keyboard trackpad on iPhone or iPad

Having a trackpad on my iPhone and iPad comes in really handy for moving the cursor around in a document versus trying to tap the cursor where I want it.

If you’re not using the trackpad feature you should give it a try. Here’s how:

If your device has 3D Touch – which includes most iPhones since 2015’s iPhone 6s – you can hard press the keyboard whenever it’s present onscreen, turning it into a makeshift trackpad. If you have an iPhone SE or iPhone XR with iOS 12 -both of which lack 3D Touch -you can now long-press the spacebar to invoke the same trackpad.

Via appleinsider

You may want to try iOS 12 on your current iPhone before buying one of the new ones

Every year at this time I toss and turn over whether I should get a new iPhone. My current iPhone is a 7 Plus that I purchased under Apple’s Upgrade Program. Last year I passed on upgrading to the iPhone X. I just didn’t see a compelling reason to do so other than to have the newest iPhone. I find myself in the same position this year. My 7 Plus does everything I want from a phone.

So here’s what I plan to do. I’m going to take this recommendation Don’t buy any of the new iPhones announced this week until you’ve downloaded iOS 12 to your current iPhone from Business Insider.

If you’re considering buying any of the fancy new iPhones that Apple announced on Wednesday and are already an iPhone user, wait until iOS 12 is released before deciding.

Apple will release iOS 12 on Monday.

iOS 12 brings a ton of changes to the iPhone, including faster performance on older devices. After you’ve tried it, you may not feel like upgrading.

Web Finds for September 13, 2018

Web Finds are from my web surfing travels. You’ll find some unique and informative news, apps and websites that you may have never known existed. Enjoy!

Credit Freezes Will Soon Be Free
With the one-year anniversary of the Equifax breach just behind us, here’s a reminder that you will be able to freeze your credit reports and sign up for year-long fraud alerts for free starting Sept. 21 thanks to a federal law passed earlier this year.
Via Lifehacker

IPHONE XS AND XS MAX: HANDS-ON WITH APPLE’S GIANT NEW PHONE
Apple just announced the iPhone XS and XS Max. They’re iterations on last year’s iPhone X, but the XS Max at least stands out in one very notable way: it’s so much larger. The Max has a 6.5-inch screen, making it a bigger phone than even the latest model in Samsung’s famously large Galaxy Note line.
Via The Verge

Apple iPhone XR hands-on: the new default iPhone
The new iPhone XR, which feels like it will be the default iPhone for many people this season. Not only does it have a very similar design to the more expensive iPhone XS model, it has many of the same features for a considerably lower price.
Via The Verge

Hello eSIM: Apple moves the iPhone away from physical SIMs
On Wednesday, Apple announced that its new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will use an eSIM—a purely electronic SIM that allows users to maintain a secondary phone line in a single device. That line could be a secondary domestic line (say you’re a journalist and don’t want to have separate personal and work iPhones), or the phone could have an American and Canadian number (if you travel across the border frequently).
Via Ars Technica

Previous Web Finds are here.

Retiring some tech

I’m experimenting with retiring some of the tech that I’m using.

Our New Jersey house is smaller than the house we were living in in California. With the smaller space, I’ve come to the realization that I no longer need two Macs. All I need is my MacBook Pro and iPad. My iMac is 5 years old. It is stuck on Sierra so when Mojave releases it will be two OS’s behind. I wrote about the problems I had attempting to upgrade it to High Sierra here.

I also have a very old and ugly giant laser printer that I removed from my desk yesterday. The only reason I was keeping it on my desk was for scanning. I don’t do that much scanning anymore and I can use Scanner Pro on my iPhone or iPad in its place. If I need to print something, which I don’t do that often since going paperless, I can print to our wifi printer.

For now, my iMac is still on my desk. When I’ve determined that I no longer need it it will join my old printer in the closet. I’d sell it but it’s not worth much.

David Sparks announces the MacSparky – iPhone Field Guide

David Sparks also, known as MacSparky, has released the iPhone Field Guide.

I’m a big fan of MacSparky. I’ve gotten a lot of useful tips and learned many tricks reading his blog and listening to the Mac Power Users podcast that he hosts with Katie Floyd. I’ve also watched a number of screencasts that he has done for apps that I use. They are wonderful. A screencast series that comes to mind is the one he did for the iOS app Drafts.

Here are David’s own words:

With the iPhone Field Guide, you’ll learn to get the most from your iPhone with this media-rich book that is sometimes user guide, sometimes opinionated app recommendations, and sometimes iPhone sensei. This book was built entirely in iBooks Author and includes all of the multimedia goodness including screenshots, photo galleries, and video screencasts all engineered to make you an iPhone power user. There are over 50 screencasts adding up to over two hours of video instruction, 450 pages, 44 chapters, and over 65,000 words to help you learn how to squeeze every bit of awesomeness from your iPhone.

The material is accessible to beginners and power users alike with a thoughtful, fun, and systematic approach to iPhone mastery. Moreover, this book is beautifully designed and a joy to read. This is the seventh book in the MacSparky Field Guide series.

iPad – Can it replace my Mac update

I switched to Apple products about 4 years ago. My first device was an iPhone 6 that replaced an LG Android phone. Shortly thereafter I replaced my ailing Windows PC with a late 2013 21” iMac. Next came my early 2015 13” Retina MacBook Pro. And I recently upgraded my iPhone to a 7 Plus. With this setup, I never felt the need for an iPad. In fact, I recently wrote an article Can iPad replace my laptop.

So here’s how I’ve ended up with an iPad. Several months ago a friend gave me a B&H gift card that I had actually forgotten about. After rummaging through some stuff the other day I ran across it and realized it was going to expire on October 30 which was only a few days away. Not knowing what to get I decided on an iPad. So I placed an order for a 2017 iPad 9.7” with Retina display and 128 GB storage.

I’ve been using it now for a few of days. The setup was pretty straightforward. I installed all the apps that I want on it and purchased a Speck Slim Balance Folio case for it.

Now how does this iPad fit in with my iPhone and Macs? My computing needs are pretty simple. I write, read, browse the web and manage my finances. Knowing what I do, I am sure I wouldn’t want to completely switch to an iPad. So far I like the reading and web browsing experience on the iPad is. It’s lightweight making it easier to handle than my MacBook and easier to read on than my iPhone.

Writing is not so great. My writing workflows include apps like Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, PopClip, and Marked 2 that improve my productivity. There are no apps like this for iPad. I have to jump through too many hoops to do the same things (if at all) I can do on my Mac.

Here’s the bottom line. I like having an iPad but I certainly don’t need one.

Apple reportedly looking to price its next iPhone at $999

Price scoop, for the soon to he announced new iPhone, from Brian Chen of the New York times. Mixed in the middle of his article “Dear iPhone: Here’s Why We’re Still Together After 10 Years” is the starting price for the new iPhone.

​Brian X. Chen, writing for the New York Times

Chief among the changes for the new iPhones: refreshed versions, including a premium model priced at around $999, according to people briefed on the product, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Apple made room for a bigger screen on that model by reducing the size of the bezel — or the forehead and the chin — on the face of the device. Other new features include facial recognition for unlocking the device, along with the ability to charge it with magnetic induction, the people said.

If this is true, the new iPhone carries a hefty price tag. This could be a breaking point for some folks. I think I’ll probably be sticking with my iPhone 7 Plus.

Can iPad replace my laptop?

Brett Terpstra recommended this article in Web Excursions for July 14, 2017.

An in-depth look at the current state of the question “Can iPad really replace my laptop?”

This is an excellent article that will help you decide whether an iPad or MacBook is better for you.

Can iPad replace my laptop? by Joshua Carpentier

In this post, we’ll have a look at the biggest changes to iPad with iOS 11, when an iPad is most suitable as a laptop replacement, and when a laptop is still the best choice. We’ll even look at a THIRD OPTION you’re probably not aware of that gives you the best of both worlds. But let’s start with taking a look at what you should think about (but aren’t) before making any purchase.

What to consider before buying a new computer

When looking for a new computer, many (I’d even argue, most) people claim they “need a laptop”—usually because that’s what they’ve always had. And so they naturally think that’s what they still need because they haven’t done these two things:

  1. Assess what they actually do on a computer
  1. Learn about the changes in technology since they last made a laptop purchase

I’ve always felt that an iPad couldn’t replace my laptop. I’m even more convinced after reading this article.

Productivity tools like Alfred and Keyboard Maestro are a major part of my daily workflow. These tools have no iOS counterpart. I use both many many times everyday and I’m not willing to work without them.

I prefer to do most of my writing on my iMac instead of 13″ MacBook Pro Retina because of the extra screen space. I’ll often have Ulysses, Marked, nvALT, DEVONthink, and Safari open at the same time. Safari may have up to 10 or 15 tabs open as well. I can’t imagine doing this on iPad.

After reading the article you’ll have a better idea on whether an iPad can replace your laptop.

Good news for the future of Mac Pro and iMac

Apple has given us some insight into the future of the Mac Pro and iMac. In a recent meeting Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and John Ternus (vice president, hardware engineering — in charge of Mac hardware) held a 90 minute meeting with five writers who were invited for what was billed as “a small roundtable discussion about the Mac”: Matthew Panzarino, Lance Ulanoff, Ina Fried, John Paczkowski, and John Gruber.

Personally, I’m excited to hear that the future of the Mac Pro and iMac is solid. I love my iMac! John Gruber wrote an excellent review of what took place at the meeting and you can read his article here.

Here are some of the highlights:

Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.

I also have not-so-great news:

These next-gen Mac Pros and pro displays “will not ship this year”. (I hope that means “next year”, but all Apple said was “not this year”.) In the meantime, Apple is today releasing meager speed-bump updates to the existing Mac Pros. The $2999 model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs. The $3999 model goes from 6 CPU cores to 8, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D800 GPUs. Nothing else is changing, including the ports. No USB-C, no Thunderbolt 3 (and so no support for the LG UltraFine 5K display).

But more good news, too:

Apple has “great” new iMacs in the pipeline, slated for release “this year”, including configurations specifically targeted at large segments of the pro market.

We’re inside a nondescript single-story office building on Apple’s extended old campus, across De Anza Boulevard from One Infinite Loop. This is Apple’s Product Realization Lab for Mac hardware, better known, internally, as “the machine lab”. This is where they make and refine prototypes for new Mac hardware. We don’t get to see anything cool. There is no moment where they lift a black cloth and show us prototypes of future hardware. The setting feels chosen simply to set the tone that innovative Mac hardware design — across the entire Mac lineup — is not a thing of the past.

There are only nine people at the table. Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and John Ternus (vice president, hardware engineering — in charge of Mac hardware) are there to speak for Apple. Bill Evans from Apple PR is there to set the ground rules and run the clock. (We had 90 minutes.) The other five are writers who were invited for what was billed as “a small roundtable discussion about the Mac”: Matthew Panzarino, Lance Ulanoff, Ina Fried, John Paczkowski, and yours truly.

Regarding iMacs, Schiller also said that new iMacs are in the works, slated for release some time this year (no specifics other than “this year”), including “configurations of iMac specifically with the pro customer in mind and acknowledging that our most popular desktop with pros is an iMac.”

My takeaway is that the Mac’s future is bright. Mac sales were up in 2016, once again outpacing the PC industry as a whole, and the new MacBook Pros are a hit, with sales up “about 20 percent” year over year. The Mac is a $25 billion business for Apple annually, and according to the company there are 100 million people in the active Mac user base worldwide.