Followup on my new iPhone 7 Plus – and a cool photos sync feature I discovered

I just did a test with a friend’s AU SIM card to confirm that my new iPhone 7 Plus is not carrier locked. AU showed up right away and I was able to make a test phone call. (See screenshots)

 

Using a borrowed AU SIM card

Using a borrowed AU SIM card

Using my Softbank SIM card

Using my Softbank SIM card

While I have to admit to not being completely satisfied with the display (it isn’t as bright as Apple advertises), it does occur to me that the way it ended up is advantageous to me in the short and long run. In addition to the extra 9,000 yen refunded to me because of the price difference, the amount I will actually pay for the iPhone with the Softbank carrier discount is just a small fraction of list price  – just about 40,000 yen.

But even better, the phone I now have in hand is completely unrelated to the iPhone received from Softbank. So when a new model comes out, I should be able to sell this one at a good price since it is not carrier locked, and the iPhone itself is not under any contract. Plus it’s under AppleCare until February 2019.

If I sell it at some point, I can upgrade to another straight-from-Apple iPhone at my leisure, for net amounts that are like carrier discounts.

It seems like a reasonable way to go forward: no more phones from the carrier are needed, and I have freedom to move from carrier to carrier more easily.

I did casually look around over this last week at the latest Android models. The Samsung and Sony models are especially nice. But they are also pricey, and not attractive enough to lure me away yet. But the way I’m leaving it, I also leave myself open to being lured.

On the Apple ecosystem plus side, I discovered a new, cool thing about the iPhone today, if you also have a Mac. I went to sync photos from my iPhone to Mac Photos for backup (even though I mostly use Google Photos these days) and found they were already synced! It turns out that even if you don’t have iCloud Photo Library turned on, as long as you have My Photo Stream turned on everything gets put into your Mac Photos library until deleted there, making backups easier. You don’t have to physically connect to your Mac with a lightning cable anymore to do this. It’s all done via iCloud.

The post-final result of my iPhone 7 Plus display problem with Apple

Well, I’m sure the main thing on most of my friends’ minds these days is, “I wonder what Doug decided to do about his iPhone 7 Plus?”

So as not to keep you in suspense, this is what I decided:

Since Apple agreed to buy back my iPhone 7 Plus at the full Softbank contract list price of 129,000 yen I decided to take them up on it.

And I ordered a new iPhone 7 Plus from the Apple site today, to be delivered tomorrow morning. That cost 120,000 yen.*

So, not only am I making 9,000 yen on the deal, I’m getting a new phone and two more years of AppleCare coverage.

Plus since I’m getting it directly from Apple, the new iPhone will be unlocked to start with and I can use it on my scheduled U.S. trip for my mother’s birthday in April.

Will it be “as bright” as the iPhone 6 Plus. Probably not. But at this point this deal seems like a no-brainer to do for now. And who knows, maybe it will be brighter.

Also getting it directly from Apple means there is a 14 day return policy if I change my mind.

And I’m sticking with Apple, which I feel relieved and comfortable about for now.

—–

* I don’t know why the Softbank list price (pre carrier discount for a two year contract) comes to 129,000 yen including tax and AppleCare, instead of the 120,000 yen you would pay when buying direct from Apple. That remains a mystery, but Apple is agreeable with paying the 129,000 list price on my Softbank contract. Probably to shut up a crackpot customer.

More on the iPhone 7 Plus screen dimness issue – disappointed with Apple’s false advertising, but what can I do?

OK, am I just being too obsessed over this or what?

I upgraded from my iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 7 Plus after the election, partly to “cheer me up.” What my friend, Sue, called “retail therapy.”

But the fact the new iPhone is dimmer than my old iPhone 6 Plus really irks me.

I posted side-by-side photos about it in a discussion thread at the Apple support forums (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7744754). You can see the photos there.

Below is an email I just sent to Tim Cook because Apple has not been helpful.

Am I making too big a deal out of this? Should I just “live with it?”

At the moment I’m so upset at Apple I feel like completely getting away from their whole ecosystem and going full Windows and Android. Would that be cutting off my nose to spite my face?

But I feel so sick of Apple at this point. The fact that their new MacBook Pro series is overpriced and gets rid of all the standard ports for all my devices doesn’t help my feelings towards them at this point either.

Getting rid of the iPhone 7 Plus would also be costly because I’d still be responsible for paying it off with my carrier. Though I suppose I could do that and sell it somewhere and take some loss. Would that be stupid though? Should I just live with it for two years and then gradually just move away from Apple rather than doing something rash I might regret?

But the iPhone 7 Plus is not as advertised, and I feel that is wrong.

Should practicality take priority over principle though?

Here’s the email I just sent to Cook:


Dear Mr. Cook,

As a last resort I’m writing to you, but I despair that Apple simply doesn’t care to help in this case.

A week ago Saturday I decided to “upgrade” my iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone 7 Plus.

At https://www.apple.com/iphone-7/ it says, in addition to the new phone being 25% brighter, that, “…what you see will be noticeably more brilliant and vibrant. Because we all deserve a bit more brightness in our day.”

I would like that, but it’s not true.

While the iPhone 7 Plus seems to work well in all other respects, the display is important. I’m not saying the iPhone 7 Plus display is bad, per se. But as soon as I took it out of the box on Saturday it was obvious that it was dimmer than my iPhone 6 Plus, even before comparing it side-by-side.

Apple is advertising the iPhone 7 Plus as 25% brighter, and “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant” – but that is simply not true. And Apple refuses to assist me (you can refer to Case number 100064822147).

Attached are photos I sent in to “Michael” (ac_michael.l@apple.com) who was handling my case, but won’t provide further assistance.

I took the photos with my iPad Air. I took 6 photos from different distances and angles. Brightness settings are the same. In fact all the settings are the same. Both are set at maximum brightness for these photos. No hue tinting or other display changes have been made on either phone.

The phone on the left is my iPhone 6 Plus, which I was using with KDDI AU until Saturday. The phone on the right is my new iPhone 7 plus, which uses the Softbank carrier to which I switched when I upgraded.

Everybody – the sales person, friends, and the technician at the service center I visited the day after purchase (Apple service center inside Bic Camera at Hachioji, Tokyo station) all agree that the iPhone 7 Plus is not not “25% brighter.” It is not “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” it is actually dimmer than the iPhone 6 Plus. And the whites are not as white.

We did try an exchange with a new iPhone 7 Plus at the service center last week, but both the technician and I agreed the exchange unit was even dimmer than the one I brought in. So we did not make the exchange. That made me wonder if this is a general problem with the new iPhone 7 Plus.

Just before, “Michael” called to tell me that’s “just the way they are.” This Michael person is trying to claim that the iPhone 7 Plus might not look brighter but it really is. That makes no sense at all. Your advertising says it is supposed to be “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” If you can’t see it how can be be “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant”? And Michael refuses to help and says there is nobody else at Apple I can talk to about it and it’s not Apple’s responsibility since I bought it from my carrier.

Obviously that is not acceptable. The carrier says it’s Apple’s responsibility. And I agree. You are advertising something that isn’t true.

I think even you will agree that the iPhone 6 Plus on the left is brighter, and the whites more white, than the iPhone 7 Plus on the right, which is clearly dimmer.

I hope you respond, and help, but I am despairing of Apple assisting. If the iPhone 7 Plus is not as advertised – and that seems to be the case – I want Apple’s assistance in reversing everything with the carrier, Softbank. Softbank won’t help; they say there are no returns allowed and that it is an Apple problem.

After all these decades of being a loyal Apple customer I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to be brushed off like this.

I suppose if Apple refuses to help the next stop would be the Japan consumer affairs agency. But I am hoping you intercede first.

Sincerely,

Doug Lerner