returning to the iOS fold

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returning to the iOS fold

Ron Risley
Hi!

A little over two years ago, I became a beta tester for Google's Project Fi. That necessitated moving to an Android phone. The move wasn't bad, and having Google as a carrier was and remains an awesome experience. It's time for a new phone, though, and I'll definitely be moving back to iOS (but keeping Project Fi as my carrier and buying an unlocked iPhone). I'll explain why I won't go on using Android in a postscript, but what I'm interested in from TidBITs Talkers is advice on the choice of iPhone. A lot has changed since I bought my iPhone 5 five years ago and, while I've generally followed discussions here about developments in iOS, lacking a vested interest led me to fail to retain details.

For budget reasons, I'm pretty much constrained (if I buy from Apple) to either an iPhone SE ($400) or a refurbished iPhone 6s ($450). I don't think the screen size will be a big issue for me, as I've really never wanted anything larger than my old iPhone 4 (still the best industrial design of any phone, ever, IMHO). I'll be downsizing from a Nexus 6 (6" screen); anything will seem small. So...

- Apart from the larger screen, what useful features will I get from the 6s that I won't get with the SE?

- Are there other options (eg. used market) that a person in my position might consider?

- I have a vague memory that new iPhone models are generally announced in September. Should I wait until next month to make a decision? (The Nexus 6 still works perfectly, so I have the luxury of being able to wait, but it increasingly becomes a security risk as it is no longer receiving updates.)

Thanks!

--Ron

-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-

For anybody who might be curious about why I'm not considering another Android phone, here's the scoop:

I generally found Android to be a quite useable platform. It does most everything I need from a phone (and that's really quite a lot), some things better than iOS, some things not quite as well. As far as surface functionality goes, I could get by just fine with either platform. In the final analysis, though, there were four deal breakers.

The first, and most surprising, was the utter lack of a to-do list manager that would sync with my iOS and macOS devices and do the kind of simple list management I need. I was so utterly spoiled by Things (Cultured Code) that I considered to-do list management to be a simple, solved problem. Alas, there is no Things client for Android. To my surprise, I have been unable to come anywhere close to Things functionality with the many Android-compatible to-do managers out there. I'm not talking about exotic features, just basic to-do list functionality. I just hope the new-and-improved Things 3 still works for me as well as the version from two years ago.

The second problem is the Android security model. I need to have information about my patients on my phone, and it needs to be private (I'm a physician in a very political town with some high-profile patients). Android just doesn't offer the device security that iOS has.

Third, and this came as a shock, there appears to be absolutely no way to do a simple backup, wipe, and restore of an unrooted Android device. Since I have to wipe devices for international travel and following penetration testing, I found this an unbelievable gap in functionality. As it takes most of a day for me to manually restore my Nexus 6 after a wipe, this has driven the true cost of Android far higher than even a top-of-the-line iOS device. Until Android implements a working backup solution, I have a hard time thinking of Android devices as anything more than toys. (It's worth noting that most people in the Android community seem convinced that backup solutions exist, but the solutions the believe in (but don't actually use) rely on either root access -- which degrades the already-weak security and disables core useful functionality like Android Pay -- or are front-ends for a Google ADK solution that it clearly marked "beta and unsupported" and which absolutely does not work on my Nexus 6. It will "back up" just fine, but you cannot restore and if you ask Google for help they just point you to the "beta and unsupported" verbiage.)

The real deficiency in the platform, however, is in the lack of OS updates and patches. Many have cited fragmentation as the biggest problem with the Android ecosystem, as carriers and third-party vendors are often slow releasing system updates (if they bother at all). There are billions of unpatched Android devices out there, potentially turning their users into victims or servers of scams and malware. The usual advice is that you need to get a device directly from Google if you want to get timely patches and updates. Well, I bought what was then Google's _flagship_ phone, directly from Google. A little over a year later, it stopped getting software updates. My inquiries to Support were invariably answered with "we do staged roll-outs of updates; just be patient." After about six months of telling me to "just be patient," the message then changed to "sorry, your device is no longer supported." That's right, during the time they were telling me to be patient, Google quietly announced a policy that they would no longer provide updates to devices eighteen months after their _release_ (not sale) date, then they continued to stall me until after that time had elapsed, then told me I was out of luck. I flamed about it on Reddit and a two weeks later (coincidence, I'm sure) Google released one last update to Android 7.0.0 on the Nexus 6. Android 7.0.0 was months out of date when they released it for Nexus 6, and it is now a year old. In short, Google stopped updating their _flagship_ product about a year after they sold it to me. Contrast that to the iPhone 5 that I bought in November 2012 which still gets OS and security updates the very day they are released by Apple.


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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Charles Hawkins
Well, I am not at all an expert on iPhones.  I’ll let others speak to that.  But I just purchased a “refurbished”, unlocked 6s from Amazon.  $470 for a 128GB model.  I am very happy with it to date.

I have to say that I’ve had good experiences overall with refurbed Apple products:  a MacBook Pro 4 years ago (still chugging along), a 27” iMac earlier this year, and now the iPhone 6s.

FWIW.

Chuck

On Aug 19, 2017, at 5:29 PM, Ron Risley <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi!

A little over two years ago, I became a beta tester for Google's Project Fi. That necessitated moving to an Android phone. The move wasn't bad, and having Google as a carrier was and remains an awesome experience. It's time for a new phone, though, and I'll definitely be moving back to iOS (but keeping Project Fi as my carrier and buying an unlocked iPhone). I'll explain why I won't go on using Android in a postscript, but what I'm interested in from TidBITs Talkers is advice on the choice of iPhone. A lot has changed since I bought my iPhone 5 five years ago and, while I've generally followed discussions here about developments in iOS, lacking a vested interest led me to fail to retain details.

For budget reasons, I'm pretty much constrained (if I buy from Apple) to either an iPhone SE ($400) or a refurbished iPhone 6s ($450). I don't think the screen size will be a big issue for me, as I've really never wanted anything larger than my old iPhone 4 (still the best industrial design of any phone, ever, IMHO). I'll be downsizing from a Nexus 6 (6" screen); anything will seem small. So...

- Apart from the larger screen, what useful features will I get from the 6s that I won't get with the SE?

- Are there other options (eg. used market) that a person in my position might consider?

- I have a vague memory that new iPhone models are generally announced in September. Should I wait until next month to make a decision? (The Nexus 6 still works perfectly, so I have the luxury of being able to wait, but it increasingly becomes a security risk as it is no longer receiving updates.)

Thanks!

--Ron

-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-

For anybody who might be curious about why I'm not considering another Android phone, here's the scoop:

I generally found Android to be a quite useable platform. It does most everything I need from a phone (and that's really quite a lot), some things better than iOS, some things not quite as well. As far as surface functionality goes, I could get by just fine with either platform. In the final analysis, though, there were four deal breakers.

The first, and most surprising, was the utter lack of a to-do list manager that would sync with my iOS and macOS devices and do the kind of simple list management I need. I was so utterly spoiled by Things (Cultured Code) that I considered to-do list management to be a simple, solved problem. Alas, there is no Things client for Android. To my surprise, I have been unable to come anywhere close to Things functionality with the many Android-compatible to-do managers out there. I'm not talking about exotic features, just basic to-do list functionality. I just hope the new-and-improved Things 3 still works for me as well as the version from two years ago.

The second problem is the Android security model. I need to have information about my patients on my phone, and it needs to be private (I'm a physician in a very political town with some high-profile patients). Android just doesn't offer the device security that iOS has.

Third, and this came as a shock, there appears to be absolutely no way to do a simple backup, wipe, and restore of an unrooted Android device. Since I have to wipe devices for international travel and following penetration testing, I found this an unbelievable gap in functionality. As it takes most of a day for me to manually restore my Nexus 6 after a wipe, this has driven the true cost of Android far higher than even a top-of-the-line iOS device. Until Android implements a working backup solution, I have a hard time thinking of Android devices as anything more than toys. (It's worth noting that most people in the Android community seem convinced that backup solutions exist, but the solutions the believe in (but don't actually use) rely on either root access -- which degrades the already-weak security and disables core useful functionality like Android Pay -- or are front-ends for a Google ADK solution that it clearly marked "beta and unsupported" and which absolutely does not work on my Nexus 6. It will "back up" just fine, but you cannot restore and if you ask Google for help they just point you to the "beta and unsupported" verbiage.)

The real deficiency in the platform, however, is in the lack of OS updates and patches. Many have cited fragmentation as the biggest problem with the Android ecosystem, as carriers and third-party vendors are often slow releasing system updates (if they bother at all). There are billions of unpatched Android devices out there, potentially turning their users into victims or servers of scams and malware. The usual advice is that you need to get a device directly from Google if you want to get timely patches and updates. Well, I bought what was then Google's _flagship_ phone, directly from Google. A little over a year later, it stopped getting software updates. My inquiries to Support were invariably answered with "we do staged roll-outs of updates; just be patient." After about six months of telling me to "just be patient," the message then changed to "sorry, your device is no longer supported." That's right, during the time they were telling me to be patient, Google quietly announced a policy that they would no longer provide updates to devices eighteen months after their _release_ (not sale) date, then they continued to stall me until after that time had elapsed, then told me I was out of luck. I flamed about it on Reddit and a two weeks later (coincidence, I'm sure) Google released one last update to Android 7.0.0 on the Nexus 6. Android 7.0.0 was months out of date when they released it for Nexus 6, and it is now a year old. In short, Google stopped updating their _flagship_ product about a year after they sold it to me. Contrast that to the iPhone 5 that I bought in November 2012 which still gets OS and security updates the very day they are released by Apple.


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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Ron Risley

> On Aug 19, 2017, at 14:44, Charles Hawkins <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I have to say that I’ve had good experiences overall with refurbed Apple products:  a MacBook Pro 4 years ago (still chugging along), a 27” iMac earlier this year, and now the iPhone 6s.

Thanks, good to know. I, too, have purchased a couple of MacBook Pros and an iMac from the Apple refurbished store, and had excellent experiences. It's good to have a data point on refurbished iPhones as well.

--Ron


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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Marilyn Matty
In reply to this post by Ron Risley


>> On Aug 19, 2017, at 5:29 PM, Ron Risley <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> For budget reasons, I'm pretty much constrained (if I buy from Apple) to either an iPhone SE ($400) or a refurbished iPhone 6s ($450). I don't think the screen size will be a big issue for me, as I've really never wanted anything larger than my old iPhone 4 (still the best industrial design of any phone, ever, IMHO). I'll be downsizing from a Nexus 6 (6" screen); anything will seem small. So...


>
> - Apart from the larger screen, what useful features will I get from the 6s that I won't get with the SE?
>
> - Are there other options (eg. used market) that a person in my position might consider?
>
> - I have a vague memory that new iPhone models are generally announced in September. Should I wait until next month to make a decision? (The Nexus 6 still works perfectly, so I have the luxury of being able to wait, but it increasingly becomes a security risk as it is no longer receiving updates.)

I'll definitely be sending my 4s to the big iPhone graveyard in the sky when the new 7s, 7+ and 8 models are announced in September. They'll be knocking down the prices of the older models, and I'll make a choice between a 7 or 6 whatever when I can compare the differences. If I win a big Lotto jackpot, I'll buy an 8.


Marilyn



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Re: returning to the iOS fold

HOWARD KAUFMAN
One thing that is much improved as of the 6S is the camera.  If that’s at all important to you I think it would be worth considering.

Regards,

Howard


On Aug 19, 2017, at 6:12 PM, Marilyn Matty <[hidden email]> wrote:



On Aug 19, 2017, at 5:29 PM, Ron Risley <[hidden email]> wrote:

For budget reasons, I'm pretty much constrained (if I buy from Apple) to either an iPhone SE ($400) or a refurbished iPhone 6s ($450). I don't think the screen size will be a big issue for me, as I've really never wanted anything larger than my old iPhone 4 (still the best industrial design of any phone, ever, IMHO). I'll be downsizing from a Nexus 6 (6" screen); anything will seem small. So...



- Apart from the larger screen, what useful features will I get from the 6s that I won't get with the SE?

- Are there other options (eg. used market) that a person in my position might consider?

- I have a vague memory that new iPhone models are generally announced in September. Should I wait until next month to make a decision? (The Nexus 6 still works perfectly, so I have the luxury of being able to wait, but it increasingly becomes a security risk as it is no longer receiving updates.)

I'll definitely be sending my 4s to the big iPhone graveyard in the sky when the new 7s, 7+ and 8 models are announced in September. They'll be knocking down the prices of the older models, and I'll make a choice between a 7 or 6 whatever when I can compare the differences. If I win a big Lotto jackpot, I'll buy an 8.


Marilyn



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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Charles Hawkins
In reply to this post by Marilyn Matty
I agree re waiting till the new stuff is out.  In my case, I had to make a move right away, though I wanted to wait.

Chuck

On Aug 19, 2017, at 6:12 PM, Marilyn Matty <[hidden email]> wrote:



On Aug 19, 2017, at 5:29 PM, Ron Risley <[hidden email]> wrote:

For budget reasons, I'm pretty much constrained (if I buy from Apple) to either an iPhone SE ($400) or a refurbished iPhone 6s ($450). I don't think the screen size will be a big issue for me, as I've really never wanted anything larger than my old iPhone 4 (still the best industrial design of any phone, ever, IMHO). I'll be downsizing from a Nexus 6 (6" screen); anything will seem small. So...



- Apart from the larger screen, what useful features will I get from the 6s that I won't get with the SE?

- Are there other options (eg. used market) that a person in my position might consider?

- I have a vague memory that new iPhone models are generally announced in September. Should I wait until next month to make a decision? (The Nexus 6 still works perfectly, so I have the luxury of being able to wait, but it increasingly becomes a security risk as it is no longer receiving updates.)

I'll definitely be sending my 4s to the big iPhone graveyard in the sky when the new 7s, 7+ and 8 models are announced in September. They'll be knocking down the prices of the older models, and I'll make a choice between a 7 or 6 whatever when I can compare the differences. If I win a big Lotto jackpot, I'll buy an 8.


Marilyn



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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Doug Miller
In reply to this post by HOWARD KAUFMAN

On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 7:25 PM HOWARD KAUFMAN <[hidden email]> wrote:
One thing that is much improved as of the 6S is the camera.  If that’s at all important to you I think it would be worth considering.

I am almost 100% sure that the SE, which came out after the 6s, has the same camera sensor as the 6s. It definitely shares the same A9 processor. 

What's different (besides the size) is that there is no 3D Touch in the SE, and the front facing "selfie" camera is not as good. And the Touch ID is faster on the 6s compared with the SE. 
--
-- Doug



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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Betty Fellows
In reply to this post by Ron Risley
Ron,
Apple has its own financing if you want a better phone than the basics. I love being able to pay a little every month and still have the latest iPhone. The new phones should be announced in Sept. if Apple follows their normal practice.

Good luck




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Phone:<a href="tel:650-364-4134" style="color:#545454;text-decoration: none; font-size: 13px;"> 650-364-4134 || Email:[hidden email]

From: Ron Risley <[hidden email]>
To: TidBITS Talk <[hidden email]>
Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 2:30 PM
Subject: returning to the iOS fold

Hi!

A little over two years ago, I became a beta tester for Google's Project Fi. That necessitated moving to an Android phone. The move wasn't bad, and having Google as a carrier was and remains an awesome experience. It's time for a new phone, though, and I'll definitely be moving back to iOS (but keeping Project Fi as my carrier and buying an unlocked iPhone). I'll explain why I won't go on using Android in a postscript, but what I'm interested in from TidBITs Talkers is advice on the choice of iPhone. A lot has changed since I bought my iPhone 5 five years ago and, while I've generally followed discussions here about developments in iOS, lacking a vested interest led me to fail to retain details.

For budget reasons, I'm pretty much constrained (if I buy from Apple) to either an iPhone SE ($400) or a refurbished iPhone 6s ($450). I don't think the screen size will be a big issue for me, as I've really never wanted anything larger than my old iPhone 4 (still the best industrial design of any phone, ever, IMHO). I'll be downsizing from a Nexus 6 (6" screen); anything will seem small. So...

- Apart from the larger screen, what useful features will I get from the 6s that I won't get with the SE?

- Are there other options (eg. used market) that a person in my position might consider?

- I have a vague memory that new iPhone models are generally announced in September. Should I wait until next month to make a decision? (The Nexus 6 still works perfectly, so I have the luxury of being able to wait, but it increasingly becomes a security risk as it is no longer receiving updates.)

Thanks!

--Ron

-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-.,,.-*"*-

For anybody who might be curious about why I'm not considering another Android phone, here's the scoop:

I generally found Android to be a quite useable platform. It does most everything I need from a phone (and that's really quite a lot), some things better than iOS, some things not quite as well. As far as surface functionality goes, I could get by just fine with either platform. In the final analysis, though, there were four deal breakers.

The first, and most surprising, was the utter lack of a to-do list manager that would sync with my iOS and macOS devices and do the kind of simple list management I need. I was so utterly spoiled by Things (Cultured Code) that I considered to-do list management to be a simple, solved problem. Alas, there is no Things client for Android. To my surprise, I have been unable to come anywhere close to Things functionality with the many Android-compatible to-do managers out there. I'm not talking about exotic features, just basic to-do list functionality. I just hope the new-and-improved Things 3 still works for me as well as the version from two years ago.

The second problem is the Android security model. I need to have information about my patients on my phone, and it needs to be private (I'm a physician in a very political town with some high-profile patients). Android just doesn't offer the device security that iOS has.

Third, and this came as a shock, there appears to be absolutely no way to do a simple backup, wipe, and restore of an unrooted Android device. Since I have to wipe devices for international travel and following penetration testing, I found this an unbelievable gap in functionality. As it takes most of a day for me to manually restore my Nexus 6 after a wipe, this has driven the true cost of Android far higher than even a top-of-the-line iOS device. Until Android implements a working backup solution, I have a hard time thinking of Android devices as anything more than toys. (It's worth noting that most people in the Android community seem convinced that backup solutions exist, but the solutions the believe in (but don't actually use) rely on either root access -- which degrades the already-weak security and disables core useful functionality like Android Pay -- or are front-ends for a Google ADK solution that it clearly marked "beta and unsupported" and which absolutely does not work on my Nexus 6. It will "back up" just fine, but you cannot restore and if you ask Google for help they just point you to the "beta and unsupported" verbiage.)

The real deficiency in the platform, however, is in the lack of OS updates and patches. Many have cited fragmentation as the biggest problem with the Android ecosystem, as carriers and third-party vendors are often slow releasing system updates (if they bother at all). There are billions of unpatched Android devices out there, potentially turning their users into victims or servers of scams and malware. The usual advice is that you need to get a device directly from Google if you want to get timely patches and updates. Well, I bought what was then Google's _flagship_ phone, directly from Google. A little over a year later, it stopped getting software updates. My inquiries to Support were invariably answered with "we do staged roll-outs of updates; just be patient." After about six months of telling me to "just be patient," the message then changed to "sorry, your device is no longer supported." That's right, during the time they were telling me to be patient, Google quietly announced a policy that they would no longer provide updates to devices eighteen months after their _release_ (not sale) date, then they continued to stall me until after that time had elapsed, then told me I was out of luck. I flamed about it on Reddit and a two weeks later (coincidence, I'm sure) Google released one last update to Android 7.0.0 on the Nexus 6. Android 7.0.0 was months out of date when they released it for Nexus 6, and it is now a year old. In short, Google stopped updating their _flagship_ product about a year after they sold it to me. Contrast that to the iPhone 5 that I bought in November 2012 which still gets OS and security updates the very day they are released by Apple.


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Re: returning to the iOS fold

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Ron Risley
On 19 Aug 2017, at 15:29, Ron Risley <[hidden email]> wrote:
> For budget reasons, I'm pretty much constrained (if I buy from Apple) to either an iPhone SE ($400) or a refurbished iPhone 6s ($450). I don't think the screen size will be a big issue for me, as I've really never wanted anything larger than my old iPhone 4 (still the best industrial design of any phone, ever, IMHO). I'll be downsizing from a Nexus 6 (6" screen); anything will seem small. So...
>
> - Apart from the larger screen, what useful features will I get from the 6s that I won't get with the SE?

The two main features that the SE lacks are the improved camera and Force Touch (or is it 3D touch?). I find the haptic "push harder" to be very convenient for many things, buttoner people (say, my wife) never use it. The taptic engine feedback though is very nice, and I much prefer it for notifications and such than the old vibration mode.

The front-facing camera, though, that is a noticeable difference.

Then, of course, the 6S is larger and it is amazing how quickly you get used to that. I've had the full clown phone size (the plus) since it came out and while it is ridiculously large, I find using my wife's normal sized phone constraining. I pick up a SE sized phone and it seems like a mini phone to me.

One other, smaller, advantage to the 6S is that you can "zoom" the display so that it behaves like an SE-sized display, only larger. This is very useful if your eyes aren't the best.

I would definitely wait until the new phones come out as you should save some money and the announcement is less than a month away. Two or three weeks, most likely.

I would only recommend the SE to someone who cares about having a small sized phone over everything else (like, say, my niece if she wanted to carry a phone in her pocket which will only barely fit an SE — but she'd rather carry a 5.5" phone in her purse.

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Re: returning to the iOS fold

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Doug Miller
On 19 Aug 2017, at 20:19, Doug Miller <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What's different (besides the size) is that there is no 3D Touch in the SE, and the front facing "selfie" camera is not as good. And the Touch ID is faster on the 6s compared with the SE.

The front facing camera on the 6 series is good enough to take a real photograph, the one on the SE is the old 1.2 megapixel camera and is really not very good at all.

And I totally forgot about the MUCH faster TouchID as it's one of those things you just get used to and forget is a feature.

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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Marty Wilson
In reply to this post by Charles Hawkins
At 9:44 PM +0000 8/19/17, Charles Hawkins wrote:

>Well, I am not at all an expert on iPhones.  I'll let others speak
>to that.  But I just purchased a "refurbished", unlocked 6s from
>Amazon.  $470 for a 128GB model.  I am very happy with it to date.
>
>I have to say that I've had good experiences overall with refurbed
>Apple products:  a MacBook Pro 4 years ago (still chugging along), a
>27" iMac earlier this year, and now the iPhone 6s.

I thought that devices refurbished *by Apple* were only available at
Apple's online store. Is that correct?

Looking at refurbed iPhones on Amazon's site, it appears (from the
fuzzy language) that the refurbishment was not done by Apple.


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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Ron Risley

> On Aug 20, 2017, at 10:02, Trudy B. <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Looking at refurbed iPhones on Amazon's site, it appears (from the fuzzy language) that the refurbishment was not done by Apple.

I think you're correct. From one listing: "This Certified Refurbished product has been tested and certified...by a specialized third-party seller.... The product is backed by a minimum 90-day warranty".

Apple gives a 1-year warranty on refurbished iPhones.

--Ron


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Re: returning to the iOS fold

Hector I Macedo-3
In reply to this post by Marty Wilson
You are correct Trudy, they are a few companies that “refurbish” Apple products, and of course they are not warrantied by Apple but by the seller.

On Aug 20, 2017, at 12:02 PM,8/20/17, Trudy B. <[hidden email]> wrote:



I thought that devices refurbished *by Apple* were only available at Apple's online store. Is that correct?

Looking at refurbed iPhones on Amazon's site, it appears (from the fuzzy language) that the refurbishment was not done by Apple.


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Hector I Macedo

"The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing
while you are still able." 
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