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SOFTFlex Touch for iPad Review

Soft Touch Flex

A few days ago I received a package in the mail from Soft Touch Manufacturing. This is a little company that you might not heard of. However they had a product that they wanted reviewed. I had a few ideas about the product before it was shipped to me, however this is a new accessory and very few people have had the opportunity to mess around with it. Because of this, even with my amazing research talents, I had no real idea what I was getting my hands on. I present to you the Soft Touch Flex!

 

 

I was mildly interested to give this product a trial run. I opened up the box with a little interest, and found that this system was everything that I was promised.

The holder (as it is described by the manufacturer) was incredibly easy to put together. It was as simple as connecting and tightening the bolt. My iPad 3rd Gen fit easily into the spring powered grips and it was able to hold the weight of my iPad in every position that I had attempted to use it! This made it rather easy to find the best spot on my desk for the mount. There were a few basic limitations that were caused more by the basic nature of the iPad than anything else. One such limitation was the iPad touchscreen. This requires you to mount it within arms reach. The flexible design of the holder made up for this by allowing you to have a bit more freedom in where you mounted your iPad. It works like you would expect. Just slide the iPad into the loving embrace, and let the Flex hold on to it for you.

There were a few details that troubled me. First, though the construction feels sturdy enough, it is still plastic. The arms themselves feel like they could be the weakest link, and should anything fail, it would be that.

Even though I have only used the Flex for a few days it has already found a permanent place on my desk. I would highly recommend picking one up if you, like me, enjoy using your iPad as a part of your every day computer work.

My Apple Approved Rating: 5/10 (Nice product does what it’s supposed to… if I had plenty of spare cash I would buy one)

 
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iTunes $50 gift card at Walmart for only $40!

$50 iTunes card for only $40If you are still trying to find a great gift for that Apple fan or want to get a discount on iTunes for yourself, Walmart is offering the $50 iTunes gift card for only $40.  That’s 20% off, its rare you get discounts off of iTunes.  Walmart is only having a “Sale” on the $50 cards, all the other amounts are at full retail price.

Get your now before they take the offer away.  There was no expiration date on the website, so that means they can pull the deal anytime.   I think last month Best Buy had a deal on the $100 iTunes gift cards, they were selling for $85.  That $85 Best Buy deal lasted only a day though and it was only 15% off.  For those of you who plan on purchasing it… once you do the purchase  Walmart will send you an initial confirmation e-mail and then a second e-mail with access to a PIN. Once you get this PIN, you can then give the card as a gift to that Apple Fan.

Click here to see the deal – Get Deal

 

 

 

 
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Apple iTV television possibly being tested by Foxconn

Apple iTVThere are rumors in the industry that Foxconn, one of Apple’s main manufacturers, is doing some beta testing on 46”- 55” Apple iTV’s. For those tech lovers and Apple fans who want to be the first to get one, you will all have to wait till probably the end of 2013 maybe even beginning of 2014.

Of course there are rumors all over the web about this, but if Apple does come out with a TV, most likely it will be called an iTV.   If the iTV is real, I would love to see an iPhone / iPad app to use as a controller and or making the iTV a touch screen.  I can see an app for the iTV but the chances of a touch screen is probably slim, however one can wish for it.

As far as cost is concerned, there are no real answers at this point.  However, one would think that they will want to stay competitive and not over price these things.  My guess would be that it would go from $1799.99 to $2999.99, of course this is just a guess based on cost of current nicer LED based TV’s.

Of course, there has been no official release of any information about the iTV, so everything you hear or read today are all rumors.  What does everyone else think about the Apple iTV, is it real? What do you think the specs will be like or what would you like to see come with a television set from Apple.

 
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iPhone carriers compared – how to get the best bang for your buck

Which Carrier to choose...T-Mobile’s iPhone announcement means that consumers now have a dizzying array of options for getting their Apple mobile device fix in the new year.  Choices mean competition as well as a certain amount of confusion.  So what’s a fangirl to do if she wants to have her Kool-Aid and drink it too?  Well, I’ve done the research so you don’t have to. So go ahead and add that iPhone to your Christmas list, and then hand this article to whoever you think’s going to actually drop the cash for the goods; they’ll thank you soon enough!

All phone prices refer to the 16GB iPhone 4S, since that seems to be the device most likely to be offered as a holiday special.  I also used “unlimited” as a baseline for service, since that seems to be the direction the wireless world is heading, and it offers the best basis for mostly equal comparison amongst the various carriers.  Also note that all plan prices refer to a single line of service; family/share plans are a whole ‘nother kettle of fish entirely. Finally, note that I used 2GB as a baseline for data where it was an option, as that seems to be where the majority of carriers either limit or slow a single line’s access on a monthly basis.

We’ll start with the Big 4, then look at the the no-contract carriers.  Note that I listed them all in alphabetical order, in the interests of fairness and ease of locating the particular corporate behemoth you’d like to sell your soul to.

Major Carriers

Carrier iPhone 4S Price Unlimited*/Month Hotspot Service Data Cap
AT&T $99 w/2-yr contract $140/mo ($50 for data, $20 for msgs) included in data price 5GB full speed
Sprint $99 w/2-yr contract $110/mo $20/mo  —
T-Mobile Price TBD $90/mo $15/mo 2GB full speed
Verizon $99 w/2-yr contract $100/mo ($40 smartphone access fee, $60 for data included in data price 2GB full speed (other data plans available)

Minor Carriers

Carrier iPhone 4S Price Unlimited/Month Hotspot Service Data Cap
Consumer Cellular n/a (bring your own device; no charge for SIM card no unlimited plans; $30/mo for 750 mins  — 1GB (hard limit)
Cricket Wireless $500/no contract $55/mo for unlim talk, text & web  — 2.5GB full speed
Straight Talk n/a (bring your own device; $15 for SIM/microSIM) $45/mo for unlim talk, text & web  — no limit listed, but likely 2GB
Virgin Mobile $450/no contract $55/mo for unlim talk, text & web $15/mo 2.5GB full speed w/o hotspot; 3.5GB with hotspot
Each of the carriers listed above has its own risks and benefits; for instance, none of the minor carriers require contracts and a couple allow customers to bring their own phones to the party.  That said, you’ll pay a pretty penny for a brand new iPhone and the privilege of not being locked into a 2-year agreement.  Also note that if you want to support American jobs, Consumer Cellular is the way to go, since all of its customer care and shipping is located right here in the good ol’ US of A.
I’m not gonna lie, my loyalty lies with T-Mobile.  I’ve been a satisfied Magenta customer since 2006, they’ve been very good to me, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do to shake up the industry.  However, if I didn’t have a contract and was in the market for service, I would choose Sprint for contract service due to its unlimited data or Virgin for no-contract service because of the simplicity and value of its unlimited offer.
 
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Understanding the iPhone

 

Understanding the iPhoneThere are a lot of things about the iPhone that the majority of iPhone users do not know. For example, what is backed up in iTunes. This I think is partially due to the way new users are presented the iPhone for the first time. When you open the box for the first time there is very little in the way of instructions. A simple pamphlet telling you what the buttons do. After that you are left on your own. If you are an avid techie like myself, you will have very little trouble diving right in and getting everything set up. The iPhone is designed in a way that allows for almost anyone to use it with only the bare minimum knowledge of the product. It is not always that simple. Not everyone knows what most people, that consider themselves proficient iOS users, consider the basics.

Step 1: This is not a computer

iPhone is not a PC

Step 2: Protecting yourself from life

The iPhone is incredibly sturdy. It can survive massive drops, and has for me on many occasions. However we cannot rely entirely on luck. The best way to protect your investment is a insurance plan. Most major carriers have one, and Apple has AppleCare+. This last one is what I have on my devices. AppleCare+ gives you two years of hardware warranty, phone support from AppleCare, and two accidental damage deductibles (for 49$ each). One key note here is that while AppleCare+ covers all kinds of damage it does not cover lost or stolen devices. If that is your concern you might want to look at other third party insurances.

Second, find a good case + screen protector combo. This is an important point for most iPhone owners. A good case can be a fashion statement, or a tank. The choice, ultimately, is up to you. In the end I prefer to not trust my iPhone to the elements without some kind of protection. For me, I end up with a mid-range candy shell case with razed edges and a smudge resistant screen protector.

With your iPhone protected, you will end up with a much longer living device. Now all you have to do is keep your iPhone away from 1 year olds who like to use it as a chew toy.

Step 3: What happens if it breaks?

No one likes having a broken phone, however this stuff happens. What happens when it breaks? Like I said before your best option was to purchase AppleCare+ when you bought your iPhone. However not everyone got this. Fortunately there is another option. Apple will replace any model iPhone for a fairly cheap price (in relation to the overall cost of the phone). Check out HERE for more information from apple.com.

iPhone model Out-of-Warranty Service
iPhone 5 $229
iPhone 4S $199
iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS,
iPhone 3G, Original iPhone
$149

Should you go this route there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Firstly, your phone will not be repaired. It will be replaced, and it will be replaced with a “refurbished” device. Check out THIS for more details about their refurbished devices. There are a few more lesser known details about this service however. All refurbished devices have an entirely new outer shell, and can have mostly new internals. Things like the battery are always new!

Apple has a few methods for repair. Most of them can be very quick and painless.

First up, mail in repairs. Lets say you live in the middle of no-where and you don’t even have a post office for 50 miles around. The option for you is called Customer Arranged Shipping. Here is how it works. Apple will provide the shipping label (and in some cases the box too!) and you will package up your device and arrange with FedEx for it to be sent in. This option normally takes and estimated 7-10 business days. One additional detail about this, all payment is arranged over the phone with AppleCare. Alternative you have the Customer Drop Off option. For this you are given a work order number for a The UPS Store. The work order can be given over the phone, or emailed to you for you to print out. This one doesn’t take near as long as the first, clocking in at 5-7 business days. There is one final mail in option. This is the most expensive option, and the quickest. It is called Express Replacement. This option has a base 29$ processing fee (this is waved if you have AppleCare on your device), and a hold must be placed on a credit card for the full retail value of the device. Express Replacement will overnight you a replacement device, and all you need do is take out the replacement device, get your data from the old device to the new one, and follow the in-box instructions to return the broken one. Once the broken device is received back the hold will be released. The final option is rather simple. All you need is an Genius Bar appointment with your local Apple Store. Most Apple Stores are really busy so keep that in mind should you chose this option! You can find your local Apple Store HERE.

That’s all for this week! See you next time!

 
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