iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus Earpiece Glitch After Screen Repair - Solved!

Earpiece Not Working After Screen Replacement On iPhone 7/8 Plus Plagues Many

8 Plus Earpiece Glitch.jpg

If you’ve cracked your iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus and had the LCD assembly replaced, there’s a fairly good chance you’ve run into this annoying glitch due to a design flaw in these two iPhone models.

After removing the flex assembly from the original broken screen and transferring it over to the new LCD assembly, many repair techs have reported stories of the earpiece speaker failing to work. I have run into this myself on at least 1/4th of all the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus repairs that I have done.

Apparently, the flex cable is super sensitive and cannot be bent in the slightest manner without causing the earpiece to stop working. But some say that it occurs when you don’t replace the small black piece of insulating tape that sits behind the proximity sensor. Others claim that it’s due to the earpiece itself. But I have found that these two theories aren’t exactly right.

When you pluck out the flex assembly to move it to the new frame, you have to be super careful not to damage the cable. But even when exercising extreme caution and applying low heat to soften the adhesive, you can still end up with a dead earpiece once you are done.

The flex assembly has the earpiece conductor leads, and also contains the noise canceling microphone, proximity sensor, and the front facing camera. But what is odd is that only the earpiece assembly seems to sustain damage when it is moved.

Whatever the case, this boils down to a design flaw. After dealing with this common issue ever since the release of the iPhone 7 Plus, I have not been able to nail down a definitive answer on what is causing the problem. But I have figured out a fail-proof workaround.

When you have a 7 Plus or 8 Plus screen repaired, it is best to get a high quality replacement LCD assembly that comes with a new proximity sensor flex cable pre-installed. These cost a little bit more than the plain replacement screens, but having the new earpiece speaker and flex assembly installed from the manufacturer completely eliminates the chances of running into this issue.

It’s best to let the manufacturer test the screen and proximity flex assembly to insure all of the components are working, rather than taking the chance on moving that super-fragile cable and ending in complete frustration when your customer can’t use their phone without their ear buds. There is nothing worse.

I’m going to keep looking into this issue, and hope to pinpoint the actual reason this problem occurs. Until I figure this out, my recommendation on iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus screen replacements is to go with the pre-installed flex assembly & new earpiece. It’s definitely worth the peace of mind!

If you’ve got some advice or an opinion of why this glitch is happening, I’d be super grateful if you’d share it in the comments section. As always, thanks for checking out the story, and for supporting the blog!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru



Smartphone Water Damage! What to Do When Your Phone Takes a Dive

THE GADGET GURU'S ADVICE FOR DEALING WITH WATER DAMAGED SMARTPHONES

Water Damage.jpg

Summer time is that fun time of year that we get the most occurrences of water damaged phones. It’s hot outside and people are often swimming, boating, playing in the fire hydrants and sprinklers to escape the heat.

Since we are so attached to our beloved smartphones and can't be without them for even a few minutes, we sometimes lose all sense of mind and go head first into the cooling water, forgetting that our phones are tucked away in a pocket or in the clutch of our hands.

Swimming holes can spell disaster for technology. But as summer comes to a close, there are still plenty of other ways that smartphones can meet their demise in a watery grave. One of the most common is actually the toilet bowl. As a matter of fact, I just got a toilet-damaged phone in the shop last week.

Whatever the case, it’s critical to know what to do when your smartphone takes a dive in the swimming pool, the beach, or a hopefully-fresh toilet. 9 times out of 10, just from lack of being taught, people do the wrong things and end up roasting their phone when it could have been saved.

That being said, here’s what you need to know if you EVER have the misfortune of taking your smartphone for a refreshing swim!

1) Do NOT check to see if your phone still works by activating the screen. If you do, you might short out the backlight or fry the logic board. After a phone gets wet, the last thing you want to do is put a surge of electricity through it. If the screen is asleep and you press your home button or power button waking it up, just to check to see if it still works, you could cause the battery to dump ALL of its remaining electricity into the phone.

2) If the phone was already off, do NOT try to reboot it. It might turn back on, but that could be the last time it DOES turn back on after you short out the logic board.

3) Do not set it out in the sunlight to dry. The sun will bake the LCD assembly and ruin it.

4) If you happened to have put your phone in a bowl of rice for a few hours, or even days, don’t test it and turn it on until you take it to a repair shop. No matter how long you leave it in rice, it’s not going to suck up all of the moisture trapped inside of the phone.

Those are the don’ts. Read those 4 points again to make sure it soaks in (no pun intended.) Now let’s move on to what you should do after your phone has gone skinny dipping!

Once you retrieve the phone from the water, dry it off as quickly as possible and wrap it in a towel or absorbent cloth. And again, DO NOT TURN IT ON. Remember, if you turn the phone on, all of the electricity left in the battery might discharge all at once and burn up your phone. It will sound like French fries dropping down in hot grease. You might even smell smoke. This isn’t the barbecue you want at your family outing. Leave the barbecuing to the grill.

Next, get your phone inside if you can and put it in a bag of rice. Believe it or not, I’ve heard reports of people putting their phones in COOKED RICE. Yes, that has actually happened. Please don’t put your phone in cooked rice, and don’t pour gravy over it. And don't butter the rice. Dry, UNCOOKED rice is what you want. The rice will absorb some of the moisture, drawing it away from the inside of the phone and get the drying process started at least. A Ziploc bag is best.

Once you get the phone in the rice, contact me (or your local smartphone repair shop) ASAP. An extra word of advice, don’t try to dry out your phone with a hair dryer or heat gun. You could end up doing more damage to the phone. Just get it in the hands of an expert who knows what they’re doing, someone who knows the proper amount of heat that can safely be applied.

When I get a phone that is water damaged, the first thing I do is open up the phone to check for water. If there is water, I blot out as much as possible, and then I dry the logic board and components with a professional heat gun. I know the limits of heat a phone can receive before it can be damaged.

Next I remove the battery, and check the connectors for moisture. I can usually tell if a battery has been ruined just by sight. Once I determine the condition of the battery, I check for the most minimal clues that the logic board still works. Then I let the phone continue to dry overnight.

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Sometimes the LCD assembly will be fried, which means it needs to be replaced. The backlight of the LCD assembly can get zapped and black out the screen. You can tell if the phone’s logic board is still okay by the LED charging light. The battery is then checked with an amp/voltage meter to see if it is still functional.

If the phone does not boot, my last choice is to disassemble it completely to give the logic board a solvent bath which forces out any remaining water. At that point I can try again to see if it will boot up. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. But it is the last option for recovery.

It’s hard to say what percentage of phones can survive water damage. I’ve had a phone dropped in salt water that was entirely rusted on the insides that I was able to recover, and I have had phones that showed very little traces of water that ended up not surviving. It’s very unpredictable.

But the best method of dealing with water damage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Now let’s move on to my best advice to keep yourself out of harm’s way when it comes to your precious smartphone.

Things to do to prevent water damage:

  • Leave your phone inside before you go out to the swimming pool or the creek. Keeping your phone as far away as possible is best. Remember that water splashing out of the pool onto your phone can cause just as much damage as a phone that has been fully submerged. It doesn't take much!

  • Give your smartphone a break and be one with nature. Enjoy the outdoors undisturbed and uninterrupted from the distractions of your phone, and it will be safely waiting for you when you return.

  • Use a LifeProof case if you can’t be away from your phone while swimming. Even though they aren’t very good at preventing breakage from dropping, it will give you a better chance of survival in water if it is accidentally submerged. But remember, no case can provide 100% protection against water damage even if they are made for that purpose.

  • Last but not least, if you don’t have insurance on your phone, get supplemental insurance coverage NOW. You don’t have an option of owning a smartphone in 2017 without insurance, because these new devices are just too expensive and they are very intricate and susceptible to damage.

  • Double last but not least, backup your phone to the cloud RIGHT NOW. You don’t know how sad it makes me to tell a person who hasn’t ever backed up their phone that their precious pictures and videos are lost forever. Back up your phone on a regular basis. Better yet, set your phone to do automatic backups.

I hope you never have to deal with with a smartphone water disaster. But if you do, please remember my tips, and share with everyone you know. You might save a friend from suffering significant smartphone misery!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

 

2016 Smartphone Consumer Warning! Read BEFORE You Buy Your Next Phone

MY URGENT ADVICE FOR SMARTPHONE BUYERS IN 2016

If you want the best advice on smartphones, talk to someone who fixes them. And this gadget-fixer has some pretty urgent advice for you today.

In all of my seven years of repairing smartphones and other devices, I can’t think of a time where I had a bigger warning than I do now, and that is…

Do NOT buy a new smartphone without full insurance coverage.

Up until recently, I had been a strong advocate against purchasing extended warranties for electronics. That has changed. Back in the days of old, the outright cost of a smartphone was around $250 to $400. Insurance plans weren’t really necessary, because most of the phones were fairly durable. Plus the cost of replacement was about as much as the insurance.

Fast-forward to today...

In 2016, we have smartphones that are more powerful than consumer-grade laptops, and they are three times as expensive. Brand new smartphones from the major manufacturers today cost anywhere from $650 to $1000, and they are as fragile as they’ve ever been. So when you stuff that new iPhone 7 in your back pocket, it's like jamming an $850 laptop in your jeans.

Another problem, people often don’t realize what the true cost of these devices are. That's because the retail price is subsidized by the five major cellular service carriers. Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular build in the cost of the smartphone you are getting for “free” by making you commit to using their service for a period of 24 months.

Assuming you fully realize the expense of your new smartphone, let's think about this scenario...

If you walk out the door of your smartphone retailer without insurance and you fall on your face, breaking your phone on the hard, cold concrete, you’d better be ready to be phone-less for a couple of years. Or you'll come to grips with the fact that you’re going to have to shell out several hundred dollars to have it fixed.

Believe me, it happens all the time. And let me tell you a little bit more about the repair side.

When a new smartphone is released to the market, the replacement for a cracked LCD screen assembly is extremely high. And it takes several months for the price to drop. Replacement screens can start out in the $250 to $350 range, and then you can add anywhere from $60 to $100 labor for installing it to your phone.

The Gorilla Glass screen technology is getting better all the time, and the 5th generation being used on most smartphones today is quite durable. But they are still breakable. No phone is indestructible, no matter what the commercials say. And there are dozens of ways you can damage a phone, not just from dropping them.

Now let's talk about brands and models, and what I've noticed...

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone is the most fragile, and currently the most expensive to repair of all models other than the iPhone 7 (At the time of this blog post, the suppliers have not listed the availability of iPhone 7 replacement screens). All of the curved-edge phones are fragile, and the replacement screens are equally expensive, including the Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus phones. If you buy any of these and break it, and have no insurance, you're gonna be heart-broken.

Next on the most-expensive-to-repair list would be the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Active, and iPhone 6S Plus smartphones. All of these devices have replacement LCD screens that are in the $150 range, then you can add labor.

The iPhone 6S currently has a replacement screen cost of around $100, plus labor. Older iPhones are much less expensive to repair, and some of the Samsungs still have replacement screens that are expensive and hanging on to higher prices.

The LG smartphones are repairable, and the screen replacement prices are between $50 and $100. But they often malfunction after replacing the screens. The HTC, Motorola, Huawei, Blackberry, Nokia, and other smartphones are not worth even attempting a repair. This is due to the way they are constructed, which can make it next-to-impossible for them to be taken apart and re-assembled.

Some brands are not worth the cost of a paperweight if they are broken, like the ZTE smartphone, and the non-contract entry level Samsung bare-bones smartphone. They are either impossible to fix, or cost more to fix than what they were purchased for in the first place.

My repeated advice to you? Do NOT buy a new smartphone and walk out the door without full insurance coverage. Furthermore, you should also be purchasing a tempered glass screen protector plus a full 3-piece case like an Otterbox (or better yet, a Gadget Gurus “Guardian Gear” case) for maximum protection.

If you are getting a new smartphone and you can’t afford to buy it straight out at the full retail price, but you’re getting it on installments over a 2-year period, you better be buying insurance. And when you do, be clear on what your deductible will be, and make sure you can afford it. Expect to shell out $200 for a claim.

If you can’t afford a $200 deductible or the cost of full replacement, I advise against buying the latest-greatest iPhone or Samsung smartphone. Get something you can afford, something that won’t break the bank after you break the screen. Most people don’t need more than a $99 basic smartphone that you can throw in the trash and replace if you break it.

It breaks my heart when people come to me with a broken smartphone that is only a month old, and I have to break the news to them that it will cost hundreds of dollars to fix. When you can’t afford the repair, it means continuing monthly payments with an unusable phone. The only alternative is buying an older phone to use with your service contract.\

Take heed, and spread the word. Save yourself or someone you know from serious heartache. Or a flat wallet.

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Guru, King of Smartphones

A Warning to Naked iPhone 6 Plus Owners

WHAT ALL IPHONE 6 PLUS OWNERS URGENTLY NEED TO KNOW

So you bought that amazing Apple iPhone 6 Plus, and you just love the beauty of the form factor, and how gorgeous it looks without a case? Good luck. Enjoy your happiness while it lasts. Because when you break that lovely new Apple device, you're gonna be depressed.

Since its release, I have had to experience the extreme displeasure of telling people who bring broken iPhone 6 Plus smartphones to my shop exactly how much financial damage they are in for. I sincerely hate to them coming, and I don't enjoy being the bearer of horrible news.

Right now, breaking your iPhone 6 will set you back about $100 for a new LCD/digitizer assembly, and $60 labor for the installation (if you come to my shop, Gadget Gurus). But if you own the Godzilla-sized iPhone 6 Plus and jack up your screen, you are going to have to dig really deep in your pocket to come up with $350 for the LCD/digitizer assembly, plus the $60 labor.

People taking a chance on using their iPhone 6 Plus in the nude are playing financial Russian roulette. My advice to anyone who owns one of these devices is to leave it in the box until you have a shock-proof case (like an Otterbox or equal) and a tempered glass hard screen protector ready to install on it.

What most people don't understand is that they are packing a powerful $1,000 laptop computer in their pocket with no keyboard and a super expensive touch screen. If you purchased a laptop for that price, you certainly wouldn't be carrying it around using it while walking, running, or sitting on the toilet (yes, I said that).

But in this day and age of rapid technological change, people have been slowly boiled like the frog in the pot. They aware the change that has taken place. These super expensive new smartphones are very small and sleek, but they have evolved so quickly, people don't realize today how intricate and expensive they are.

If you're gonna drop the bucks (or the long-term contract) for that fancy decipherin' machine, get it double-protected. Put the shock-proof 2-piece case on it, and get the tempered glass protection. It's worth every penny.

That doesn't mean you'll be 100% safe from every drop. I have people bringing me shattered iPhones in Otterboxes quite often. If you drop it just right, you can still jack up the screen or LCD. But you WILL at least increase your chances of saving your phone after a drop if you have it double-protected.

You do have one other option if you break your iPhone 6 Plus. You can send it in to Apple, or take it to an Apple store IF you have one in your city, and they will replace the LCD/digitizer for $129. That's an incredible deal, but there's no guarantee that you'll get it, or how long they will offer that price.

I believe Apple is subsidizing the true cost of the LCD replacement, at least until the wholesale prices come down on the after-market parts. If they didn't do this, there would be a lot of disgruntled iPhone 6 Plus owners out there. Apple corporation doesn't like letting things like this get out of control, so this is probably a preemptive move.

In due time, the price for the after-market LCD/digitizer assemblies will come down. But for now, don't take any chances on using your iPhone 6 Plus in the nude!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

 

Microsoft & Nokia Reach Market Dominance In 2015... Or Not

BOLD PREDICTIONS FIZZLE AS 2015 COMES TO FRUITION

A few years ago, I was on the bandwagon of belief when all of the tech pundits made bold predictions that Nokia & Microsoft would reach total market dominance over Android & Apple by the year 2015. What happened?

We all bought the story because of the reasoning, that Nokia once dominated the world of feature phones, and that Microsoft dominated the world of operating systems. Windows Mobile plus Nokia hardware was supposed to equal unparalleled success in the smartphone market.

But what happened?

All of the cards foretold of fortunes to be made by these two tech juggernauts, and the planets were supposedly lined up to create the stage for the impending takeover of the smartphone world. But now that we have reached 2015, where is Microsoft and Nokia in the grand scheme of things?

Apple continues to dominate with the new iPhone 6 and 6+, with the new iOS 8 platform. And Samsung continues to squash the Android market with its flagship Galaxy products, powered by Android KitKat. But our "match made in heaven" comprised of Microsoft and Nokia seems to be lagging far behind, as they always have.

I thought Microsoft and Nokia had a great start with the Lumia 920 smartphone, and all of the later versions of their device. The operating system was supposed to be super easy to use, and a much better match for those of us using Windows based PCs. I thought I would be a prime target for converting to Windows on my smartphone, since I use a PC and a laptop every day.

But it never happened. I've tested and tried the Nokia devices using the Windows Phone platform. While I did find it easy to use, I worried about not having the ability to find all of my most favorite apps under their system. When I switched from Apple to Android in 2012, I was able to download about 80% of my most used apps on the Android platform.

I'm hard-pressed to believe that Windows will capture the attention of developers around the world and motivate them to bring all of my favorite apps to the Windows Phone market. It hasn't happened yet, and I don't have much confidence believing it will in the near future.

While the Windows-based Nokia devices are super slick and durable, I have found them to be a total pain-in-the-derrier when it comes to servicing and repairing the hardware. As the owner of a smartphone repair shop, I have learned to send Nokia smartphone owners to my competitors down the street. Cracked screen? Busted LCD panel? Take it somewhere else, because it's not worth the headache.

That might be part of the reason why Nokia failed to dominate the market as predicted. It might just be that Microsoft and Nokia never became "cool". Whether their devices and operating system functionality is great, or a pile of crap, nothing matters until their products become a "thing".

The smartphone market is like the fashion industry. Until Microsoft and Nokia become "cool" in the minds of consumers, they will never hit critical mass and dominate the market. I would love to see a competitor break into the Apple/Android monopoly, but I don't believe we will witness such an even for a few years if anything.

In the meantime, It's Samsung & Android for me on the smartphone front, Apple's iPad for my tablet, and my Windows-based custom PC for my desktop.

What do you think the reasons are behind the failure of Microsoft and Nokia to fulfill the predictions of the past? I'd sure like to hear your opinion!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - This Will Shut You Up

HIDEOUSLY OBVIOUS REASONS I CHOOSE THE GALAXY NOTE 4 OVER IPHONE 6 PLUS

iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are out on the streets. The talking Apple heads claim that the iPhone 6 Plus is the hands-down winner over the new edition of the Note series.

Even tech blog sites are giving the checkered flag to Apple over Samsung in this race to have the most phabou phablet. It doesn't stack up per the tech specs, but Apple clearly has the most votes of confidence.

Everyone has an opinion about device brands and it is mostly due to preference. But I'm having a hard time trying to follow the "logic" of the loyal Fruit Cult following. I don't think they care what the specs are at all, it's just a foregone conclusion that the Apple device will magically be "better" by default.

In fact, I'd like to know exactly what kind of hallucinogenic drugs these people are doing to think the specs give Apple the win, because it would seemingly take some pretty strong stuff to overlook this helpful little handful of hardware facts...

  • The CPU - the Note 4 uses an Octa core processor while the iPhone 6 Plus sports dual core
  • 1.9GHz cpu processing speed on the Note 4 compared to 1.4GHz on the iPhone 6 Plus
  • Screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 on the Note 4 versus 1920 x 1080 on the 6 Plus
  • Super sharp screen on the Note 4 packs 515 pixels/sq.in but iPhone 6 Plus is only 400pix/sq.in.
  • 16Mp camera on the Note 4 as opposed to 8Mp on the 6 Plus
  • Front-facing camera on the Note 4 has twice the resolution than it's Fruity Phablet counterpart
  • Real multitasking on the Galaxy Note 4, nothing of the sort on the iPhone 6 Plus
  • A whopping 3 gigabytes of RAM packed into the Note 4 while the 6 Plus gets a paltry 1Gb
  • 3,220 mAh of battery power on the Galaxy Note 4 edging out the 2,915 mAh on the 6 Plus
  • Killer download speed of 42.2Mbps on the Galaxy Note 4 while iPhone 6 Plus drags along at 7.2Mbps
  • The super solid build of the metal-band-clad Note 4 as opposed to the lighter, cheaper, more slippery feel of the iPhone 6 Plus

My conclusion? The amount of hallucinogenic drugs or head-meds needed to "make" the iPhone 6 Plus a better device choice than that of a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 would therefore be significant. But right when you think logic and hardware specs rules the day, I will say this...

I like the look and feel of the iPhone 6 Plus better than the Galaxy Note 4, and would have chosen it over the Android product if Apple included a pen digitizer on their device. Plus the lacking hardware specs don't appear to give it any less of a speedy user experience.

So there you have it.  Shocked that Mr. Android Boy would say such things? Well you shouldn't be. The point is, none of the specs listed for or against a device amount to a hill of beans. It's all about user preference and the user experience.

For me, the lack of a pen digitizer on Apple mobile devices is a deal-breaker. The Galaxy Note 4 is close enough as a great device that I will stick with it just to have my digitizer pen. I can live with the design changes that I don't like as much, as long as I have the digitizer.

Ironically, the one thing Apple Fruit Cult members boasted about most was that their devices were solid and heavy, while Samsung's devices felt cheap, light and "plasticky" (which I prefer). The chickens have come home to roost.

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Guru

Apple-Samsung Smartphone Slugfest Phablet Style

SAMSUNG GETS SNIPPY WITH NOTE 4 VIDEO DISS

Okay people I'm back. I've been out-of-pocket lately, on blogging vacation. But with the recent developments on the tech forefront, I think this is a good time to chime back in.

Transient

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch has passed, and phones will start shipping within the next few weeks to anxious customers. While the iPhone 6 Plus breaks "new ground", Samsung has taken the opportunity to make a snarky video about Apple's sudden change in design.

It is truly ironic to see what has transpired, truthfully. Looking back over the last handful of years, we have seen Apple make multiple accusations against Samsung for stealing their designs. At that same time, the Apple execs swore that a smartphone bigger than 3.5" was entirely stupid, and it was something you would never ever see their beloved company produce.

Fast forward to the highly anticipated iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with their massive 4.7" and 5.5" diagonal displays, and it makes me sit rubbing my head wondering what just happened. Apparently, I'm not the only one who wonders what happened in Cuppertino. Maybe they all inhaled, or drank their own Kool-Aid.

How in the world could the same company who accused Samsung of blatant copyright infringement turn an about-face and produce a phone which is in the form of the Galaxy Note without a stylus? Especially after swearing off phablets and larger-screened smartphones?

Samsung released a very sarcastic video that sums it all up. But what I am left wondering is whether or not Samsung will quickly blow the whistle and sue the pants off of their hypocritical chief competitor much in the same way that was done to them.

Only time will tell.

As far as I'm concerned, I'll stick with my Apple iPad Retina Mini for all my iOS needs, but I'll take a pass on the iPhone 6 Plus and stick with the Galaxy Note line and move from the 3 to the 4 when it is released.

I'll let the hypocrites OOPS I mean Apple Enthusiasts have their feeding frenzy with the stylus-less iPhone 6 Plus that they swore off before Apple lost its mind and followed the leader on phablet phorm phactors.

Carlton Flowers
THE GADGET GURU

Apple Gets Samsunged By Timex - Introducing Ironman One!

TIMEX SHOCKS ALL, INTRODUCES INDEPENDENT SMARTWATCH

Sorry Apple, but Timex just beat you to the punch. While we've all been patiently waiting for the Apple Geniuses to release a smart watch that will one-up Samsung, Timex kicks the door in and beats them all. I for one never saw this coming.

The Timex Ironman One will be the first smartwatch that will work independently of a smartphone. Why it took this long for someone to come up with a stand-alone smartwatch that isn't just a bluetooth extension of a smartphone is beyond me. But it is really refreshing to see the age old watchmaker make mince meat of the big players.

The Ironman One GPS smartwatch will run on the AT&T network, independent of a smartphone. Finally, someone has gotten this right. And I think it will take quite a bit to catch up to Timex now that they have entered the market for smartwatches.

Looking at the Ironman One's features, this is a serious device. Here's what the company reports that it will feature:

  • Stand-alone wireless connectivity without a phone
  • Email-based messaging capabilities
  • Tracking capabilities that communicate the user’s location to friends and family anytime, anywhere
  • Custom-built “Find Me Mode” safety solution, which allows users to send an alert with
  • exact location in case of an emergency
  • Ability to track speed, distance and pace in real-time and instantaneously share
  • performance metrics through your favorite social media and online fitness platforms
  • Water resistance up to 50 meters, an essential feature for water exposure, training in the rain or swimming
  • Built-in MP3 component with 4 GB of memory to play music via a Bluetooth headset
  • Always-on, sunlight-readable, high-resolution touch display

This is the real deal, folks. If I'm going to drop the bucks on a smartwatch or a GPS unit for running, this is exactly what I would be looking for. I see no reason to have to drag around my smartphone while running when there is a device like this out on the market.

I'm not sure of pricing yet, but I would assume it would be in the range of some of the current Garmin GPS watches that are on the market now. But one thing is for sure, Timex has the reputation and experience to make this work, and to put the marketing behind it with the help of AT&T.

Samsung has enjoyed all of the spotlight while Apple farts around (as they usually do) waiting to enter this market. But both Samsung and Apple will hurt if this takes off. I'll be looking for an opportunity to test this device in the future and give a full report!

Until then, Apple has my sympathy.

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

My Top 5 Reasons I Won't Get A New iPhone

TOP 5 - WHY I WON'T BE BUYING A NEW IPHONE ANYTIME SOON

Here's the first of a series of "Top 5" lists! Today's top 5? Why you won't see me in line anytime soon buying an iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, 6, M, Mega, Mini, or anything else they come out with. Here we go!

1) It's Too Small - my eyes are too old. I can't read text on the screen. That just sucks. Make it bigger Apple, and maybe I'll think about it. Sadly, even the rumored iPhone 6 is said to only have a 4.7" diagonal display. That's so 2010.

2) No Text Reflow - Apple joins the idiots at Samsung on this one. Panning side-to-side to read sentences after zooming in on text is just plain stupid. Unless I fall and hit my head, and become stupid, I'm not signing up for this kind of reading abuse.

3) They Break - All you people who think iPhones are like "jeweler's quality", you can keep them. Drop it from 2' and it's toast. I feel sorry for all the people with a brand new iPhone 5S that they dropped the first month and destroyed the phone. I'd rather buy a rubber ball to bounce on the concrete versus a $750 glass and metal computer.

4) They Malfunction - iPhones do stupid things for no reason. I'm sitting here right now with a friend's iPhone 5S that vibrates, and makes annoying sounds. But the screen won't come on. Not even with a hard reset. It's a known issue. But like always, Apple won't admit this for at least 12 more months and after 1,507,327 more complaints.

5) Apple Thinks We Are Stupid - I don't want my smartphone force-fed into my mouth on a baby spoon like Gerber products. I want to be treated like I am halfway intelligent by my smartphone manufacturer. The arrogance at Apple is and has always been something that I completely don't care for.

That said, I must go to work. I'm reading some tech blog posts on my brand-new Apple iPad Mini with Retina display. And before you call me an anti-Apple troll, I never said I didn't like the iPad!

Carlton Flowers
Top 5 Techno Babbler

 

iPhone 4 Sound Issue - Ringtones Works, Text Tone Doesn't Work

RINGTONES WORK, TEXT TONES DON'T WORK ON IPHONE 4 - HERE'S WHY

You own an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and your ringtones function properly, but your text tones are silent. Plus you notice that your volume buttons don't work, and the sound icon that pops up does not show the volume level changing when depressing the buttons.

You might also notice that videos and music have no sound, along with the text tones. A hard reset does nothing, neither does a full reset. The only way you have sound, otherwise, is by using your headphones. It's a maddening experience.

I discovered this problem when refurbishing broken iPhone 4 devices, on both Verizon and AT&T models. I took to the forums, and found numerous posts about the problem, and solutions that don't work. But then I discovered the source of the problem.

The reason the iPhone 4 devices malfunction in this way is due to a dirty dock connector. Several users reported that if you carefully clean the dock connector with a needle and pick out all of the dirt and lint, you can renew the sound. Apparently some of the leads on the dock connector will prevent the sound from functioning properly when gummed up.

But this doesn't always work. Others reported that cleaning the dock connector with a flat sharp device and a cleaning cloth dampened with alcohol will yield better results. I tried this, and it worked... for ten minutes. I repeated this three times, and it only ended up functioning properly for minutes each time. The last time that I cleaned the leads on the connector, I wasn't able to get the sound working right again.

The only true solution to solving this problem is to replace the dock connector entirely. It is said that this is an "easy fix" that can be done in 15 minutes, but that is the farthest thing from the truth if you are not an experienced iPhone repair technician. I woulnd't recommend that anyone disassemble an iPhone unless they had prior experience.

What really caught my eye was how Apple handled this situation when it first started to pop up. As usual, it is met with denial, or trivialized by the company. But when pressed, Apple would end up completely replacing the devices rather than to acknowledge the fact that it is a common issue.

I've noticed that this is the normal way Apple handles common issues, which was the case with iPhone 4 power buttons sticking and failing to work. When a friend first brought an iPhone 4 to me with this issue, we were able to press Apple to replace the device even though it was out of warranty. I had this happen in 3 more instances.

If you have an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and you're experiencing this sound dropping issue, your first course of action should be to ask to have the device replaced if you purchased it within the last 2 years.I must add that I have read several instances of this issue occuring with the iPhone 5 also.

My advice to you: the only solution that will not leave you pulling your hair out or throwing your phone across the room is to have the dock connector replaced.

I hope this post aleviates the frustration to anyone that has come across this issue, and best of luck having your dock connector replaced.

Carlton Flowers
iPhone Whistle Blower

 

Samsung Galaxy Text Reflow Fail - Will They Ever Get This Right?

TEXT REFLOW STILL A "NO-SHOW" ON GALAXY ANDROID DEVICES

If you found this page using a search engine, you share my frustration. It's about the lack of text reflow on Samsung's Galaxy smartphone devices running Anroid. I haven't ranted about this in a while, so it's high time I shoot the flame thrower at Samsung over this issue.

For those of you who have not been enlightened, "text reflow" is the ability for a mobile browser to reformat the text dynamically to fit the screen when you zoom in on an article of any type. The Galaxy series has never had this ability.

For people like me who consume tons of article content on their smartphone, this is both maddening and frustrating beyond imagination. I still cannot understand why such a useful function can't be incorporated into the best line of smartphones on the planet.

And before any Apple lovers sneer and gloat about an Android fan criticizing Samsung, your crappy devices don't do this either. This is something only HTC and a few other smartphone manufacturers have the common horse sense to value and include in their mobile browsers.

I have forty-something eyes that are plagued with horrible astigmatism and near-sightedness. Reading tiny text on a smartphone really sucks. It makes people like me feel as if companies like Samsung (and definitely Apple) just don't care to take the simple steps to encode this feature into browser codes.

Apparently, not enough people are complaining about this, because Samsung has no plans to incorporate this any time soon. I've waited for years to no avail. If I could take a big stick and whack some of the software development engineers upside the head at Samsung headquarters, I would do it if it meant they would address this and get it right.

HTC on the other hand apparently "gets it", and has included text reflow in all of their browser builds. There are some older devices made by other manufacturers who also had this feature, but it disappeared over time.

I first discovered text reflow when I owned an iPhone 4, and a friend of mine was showing off his flashy big screen Droid Razr Max device. He showed me an article on the BGR website, and while zooming in on the text, it cascaded automatically, increasing in font size, wrapping the sentences vertically so no side-to-side panning was necessary. I was instantly jealous.

Sure, some of the smarty pants geniuses out there claim that Samsung devices do have what they call 'text resizing", but it is hardly text reflow. You basically zoom in on tiny text, but then you have to double-tap the display to make the text fit the screen. But when you do this, it shrinks the font size down considerably, and limits you to a very small amount of resizing.

I want the font size to be as big as possible, and I want to scroll in one direction (vertically) to rapidly read articles. I can tear through text at around 800 to 1,000 words per minute with full comprehension using a device that properly reflows the text.

Another lame work-around that you can use on a Samsung smartphone is setting the text size in the settings window. You can make the text bigger, but you are still limited to the "double-tap-and-reshrink" action. Additionally, it screws up all the text on the screen, giving you major problems with overlapping text blocks. I call that 100% useless.

What people like me want is dynamic text reflow. That means watching the text reformat right in front of our eyeballs while zooming in, ending up with a super large font and sentences that don't fly off the right edge of the display.

The only half-@%$ option we now have is to use a third-party browser like Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. Chrome will not dynamically reflow the text, but it will allow you to increase the font size a lot more than the standard Android browser. Opera will reflow text, but it's not dynamic.

We hit another problem head-on when opting for the third-party browsers... none of the fancy gimmicks and functions that are built into the standard browser will work. I've grown to love the tilt-to-scroll, hands-free scrolling gestures, and other functions of the standard browser. But none of those work when using a third-party browser on a Samsung device.

While this isn't a deal breaker for me, it still makes me mad enough to grind my teeth when I see friends with an HTC One enjoying dynamic text reflow. If you haven't seen this, grab a friend that owns an HTC device and give it a try. You'll instantly see what I mean when you zoom in on text.

Samsung has done so many things right, and I absolutely love their devices. I'll probably stick with this brand for the forseeable future, because there are just so many great things I like about them that you just don't get with other brands.

But at the same time, I sure would be happy if Samsung would listen to customers and tell their developers to pull their heads out of their rear ends and get this encoded into the next software update. But I won't hold my breath.

If you share my frustration, post a comment in the Disqus comments section and tell me what you think!

Carlton Flowers
Arch Text Reflow Advocate Supreme

 

iPad Air Drops November 1st From AT&T

IPAD AIR - THINNER, LIGHTER, FASTER

I've had several people ask me about the new iPad Air coming out Friday, November 1st via AT&T. Let's take a look at some of the details on this slick new tablet hot off the Apple press!

As the name denotes, iPad air is going to be thinner and lighter, and of course the fastest processing power to date. It weighs in at a super light 1 pound. That's 20% lighter than its predecessor, the iPad 4th generation tablet.

Plus it is 28% thinner. How this thing could get any more slim is beyond me, but the Apple devs have apparently been hard at work using miniaturizing ray guns to thin this device out more than all of the previous models.

It has an even narrower bezel than iPad 4th generation, which basically means that the iPad Air stretches the viewable display farther to the edges of the device. It gives a more futuristic experience than ever.

Its packing a brilliantly sharp 9.7" Retina display, which means you'll get some seriously sharp text for ease of reading. This means you'll hardly notice the difference between reading on this display from reading in a print magazine.

Apps will run super fast with the improved A7 cpu chip which is a 64-bit processor. That's kind of like upgrading a 4-lane highway to 8 lanes, which means it can move more data to push your favorite apps even faster. That will seriously decrease load times and graphics processing.

Your wireless capability will be faster for both WiFi and 4G LTE operation. With more an more LTE coverage around the nation, the iPad Air with a data plan will be a blast and give you blazing speeds on the go. Couple that with all the new iOS7 features, and you're in for a great tablet experience.

AT&T will be offering a variety of data plans for the iPad Air, including device data sharing. If you already have a wireless account, you can start off with a $10 addition to power your wireless browsing.

You also have the new pay-per-use plans that start at 250mb for one day for five bucks, and you can take that all the way to a one-time 30 day deal for $50 that gives you 5Gb of data. You can get the skinny on all the available plans at www.att.com/ipad.

For those of you who like to stay on the cutting edge, I think you'd be happy to jump on one of these. I'm going to have to go check this out myself and get a quick test drive. Up until now, I haven't been a big fan of tablets because they are too heavy in my hands. But this one might hit the mark.

Stay with me and I'll be back with a video as soon as I catch one of these puppies out in the wild!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Monster

 

 

 

Apple iPhone 5C Fruit Fest - Hot Or Not?

AUDIO POST - THOUGHTS ON FRUITY IPHONE 5C

Check it out folks, I'm still jabbering on about the iPhone 5C and all of its colorful greatness. There are a few more points that I cover in this short audio post that I threw together from my smartphone today, and some of the same points I made in yesterday's audio post.

Come join me as I continue on with my discussion about the iPhone 5C, and hear my thoughts on what I would pick as a second smartphone device! Click the image below to launch your device's audio player, and hit me up in the comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Audio Podcastasaurus

CLICK IT!

 

 

CZ Audio Podcast Is Back! Is iPhone 5C Influencing Samsung?

THE AUDIO PODCAST RETURNS! LATEST TALK ON IPHONE RELEASE & MORE

I have finally gotten around to getting back to my audio podcasting. I'd like to know from you, my great CZ Blog gang, whether or not you would like to see more audio podcasts like this posted to the site to fill up all the dead space between my fantastic blog posts.

I tend to write in streaks, and then disappear into the land of being "too busy". But as much of a talker that I am, it's very easy for me to post audio content to the site as opposed to writing the super fabulous techno nerd content that you've enjoyed for so long.

Post your thoughts in the comments section on what you think of more frequent audio podcasts. You can even suggest topics for discussion, ask questions, or even request a song selection for me to sing. I'll leave that up to you.

But in today's podcast, we'll talk about the release of the new iPhone 5S and 5C, and what surprising twist has popped up in terms of sales for Apple. Also, has the iPhone 5C influenced Samsung in some special way? Find out how in the podcast!

Looking forward to hearing back from you, and here's your audio podcast. Just click the podcast image or the link below and it will open up your mobile device media player:

 

Click Here To Listen Now!

Carlton Flowers
Techie Podcast Yapper 

 

Why Samsung Laid An Egg With Galaxy S4 Stock Android Browser

LEAVING OUT THE OBVIOUS - NO TEXT REFLOW ON STOCK GS4 BROWSER

They went for broke on the Galaxy S4 with every useless "feature" you could imagine, but Samsung dropped a big fat egg when they left out the most usable feature that should have been included in the stock Android browser - Text Reflow.

You can wave your hands to scroll, wave side-to-side to page through windows, and even tilt the phone to scroll up and down pages. It makes the browser very convenient, and I love having the ability to use the gesture-based constrols. The engineers at Samsung must have stayed up extra late with a big pot of coffee to make all of this happen.

But what makes me want to grind the teeth out of my head is the fact that the stock Android browser does not come with text reflow. I can download a 3rd-party browser like Opera, or Maxthon, or even Chrome, all of which have text reflow. But when you are using a 3rd party browser, none of the advanced gestures work. They only work on the stock browser.

My question is this... how could Samsung spend so much time coming up with such great browser add ons, but leave out something as simple and functional as text reflow? Why would they ignore this, while HTC has it built in with the stock browser on their flagship product, the HTC One?

I don't have a clue. Doesn't make sense.

This brings my frustration back to the forefront in the same way that it did back in my Apple days. I had an iPhone 3GS and was very jealous of the Android devices on the market that had dynamic text reflow. I had high hopes that Apple would bring text reflow to the iPhone 4, and I was sorely disappointed when they passed up on the opportunity and chose to remain with their heads up their rear ends on the issue.

Samsung has surpassed the stupidity of Apple on snubbing text reflow by releasing the most advanced mobile browser on the market that has everything thrown in it but the kitchen sink... and text reflow. They have officially laid an ostrich egg on this. I hate to say that I am disappointed, but I am.

I love my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, and I would not think of trading it for anything. There is a zero percent chance of me going back to iOS, and I'm not really that excited about HTC products. So there's not chance that this issue is a deal breaker for me.

But I sure would appreciate it if Samsung developers took a short coffee break from creating all these useless magical features just long enough to add one simple feature that could make all the difference in the world for people who use their smartphones for heavy reading.

Rant over.

Carlton Flowers
Text Reflow Posterboy

Which Is Easier? Android Or iOS?

ANDROID VS APPLE - SIMILAR DIFFERENCES?

Okay folks, the topic of today's SoundCloud podcast is the following question: "Which is easier to use? Android or iOS?"

This question has come up from time to time, and the answer used to be a resounding iOS. But that's not necessarily true anymore.

"Tune in" to the podcast and hear my reasons why this discussion is a moot topic. You might be surprised to hear what I have to say about this.

I'm an Android fan who has 2 Apple iOS devices on the side. What do you carry in your pocket? Which operating system appeals to you, and why?

Sound off in the comments section and let the world know!

Carlton Flowers
Geek Podcaster Supreme

 

 

The "Heavy" Question On Quality - Samsung, HTC, iPhone

REAL TALK ON QUALITY - IS HEAVY BETTER?

There's no super technological insight on this post. This is just a rant based on a question that I'd like to put out there to the smartphone world. Why does "heavy" mean better quality?

Day after day, I read reviews on Samsung smartphone products from all the gadget pundits. 9.9 times out of 10, writers claim that Samsung devices feel "cheap", because they don't have the heavy build of HTC, Apple, and other brand products.

This does not make sense to me. But time after time, the "experts" claim that heavy is better, and a bulky solid build means "quality". While the tech world pushes to make devices thinner and lighter, the complaints seem to go on and on despite the obvious advantage.

Have you ever dropped an iPhone or an HTC smartphone? Unless you like spending your hard earned money on expensive fragile smartphones, I can't for the life of me figure out why so many people complain that lighter weight devices feel "cheap".

The Samsung Galaxy S IV is about to be released this month. For the third time (since the release of the Galaxy S II), the complaints about the apparent cheap build are rolling in strong. They say that the Galaxy smartphones are too plastic-like. Forget the fact that they are made out of durable polycarbonate material. They are just cheap... or so they say.

I drop my phone on a regular basis. It happens daily. I owned an Apple iPhone 3GS, and an iPhone 4. Both were dropped from a height of 2 feet or less, and both were destroyed in one drop. But I have drop-kicked my Galaxy S II trying to catch it with my foot, and I have yet to break it.

To me, a lighter weight smartphone with a stronger material is common sense design. The heavier the phone, the harder the impact it brings when it says "hello" to the concrete. That is why I have had so much better luck with my Galaxy S II.

But just as with comparisons to Apple products, writers claim that the HTC devices have more of a solid "quality feel" too. I don't get it. While the HTC devices can handle impact a little better than iPhones, they still can't survive a drop like a Samsung smartphone.

I don't know how you iPhone and HTC owners feel about this, but I don't want a smartphone that feels like a pack of lead sinkers in my pocket. I don't want to know it's there when it is snugly packed away in my front pocket. But the madness continues with writers claiming that "heavy" equals quality.

When I tested the Samsung Galaxy S III from AT&T, I thought the look and feel was fantastic. Never once did I feel that the S III was "cheap" because of the material used. And the Galaxy S IV will follow with an equally light design, but thinner.

I love the gigantic 5" screen size on the new Galaxy S IV. Bigger is better in my book. And I think it awesome that the S IV will be thinner, built with polycarbonate material, and maintaining it's feather-light weight while increasing the size.

So many people were expecting Samsung to "improve" the quality of the build by creating a heavy, more dense device with a new material. I imagine they wanted to see a composite build similar to the HTC One X or the Nokia Lumia 920. Both of those handsets, in my opinion, are just too heavy.

I'll be the first writer to say that I am happy that Samsung has decided to continue manufacturing lighter, thinner smartphones with the new form factor of the Galaxy S IV. I can't wait to get my hands on my own Galaxy S IV the minute my upgrade is available in May.

Maybe the rest of the mindless writers can go shopping for Galaxy S IV cases made from a lead alloy so they can get that "quality feeling" that they are looking for. Meanwhile, I'll take it like it is. And I will not be putting a case around my S IV... because it doesn't need one.

Carlton Flowers
Common Sense Gadget Commentator

 

 

Samsung Galaxy 4S Information - Hot Off The Press!

THE SAMSUNG GALAXY 4S AND WHY THERE IS NEWS

You either reached this site because you are an avid, rabid Carlton Zone Blog fan, or you were searching for the Samsung Galaxy 4S in vein. But lucky for you, this site is the only "legitimate" search result for the 300,000 people looking for this non-existent phone each and every month.

It's halfway comical, and also half marketing success story on behalf of Apple. While you searchers were really wanting to find more information on the up-and-coming Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, you mindlessly used Apple's crusty old nomenclature for their boring 5th generation device.

When I see "4S" coupled with "Samsung Galaxy", it makes me cringe. Why? Because it dredges up the frustrating, painful memories that I have stuck in my mind from the days of owning an iPhone 4.

Fortunately for me, I was liberated on October 24th, 2012 when I purchased my Samsung Galaxy S2, which I now own and love.

But back to the topic at hand... hats off to Apple for brainwashing at least 300,000 people per month and causing them to mindlessly search for the vaporware device listed in the title. My bet is that the searchers are current cult members who are trying to escape the stronghold Apple has on their minds.

Fear not, brainwashed Apple refugees, for you have not actually found this site in vein. You have reached the promised land of Android, and I will lead you to the light. Crank back a few stories and start to read what I have provided about the rumors surrounding your smartphone savior, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Carlton Flowers
Smartphone Prophet

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3 Stupid-Simple Things Keeping Me From The iPhone

THE 3 SLAP-YOUR-HEAD SIMPLE THINGS APPLE REFUSES TO GIVE ME

It has been a year and a quarter since I defected from the Walled Garden of Apple. I traded in my iPhone 4 to get a Samsung Galaxy S2, which I'm still using.

I've got a backup iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 4th Gen for WiFi use, but Android is my main operating environment experience.

If I counted everything, there would be quite a laundry list of things that Apple seems to refuse to give me to make me happy (it's all about me).

But looking back, I would have stayed if I could just get three stupid-simple things. I'll share them with you now.

Thing 1 - A Back Button

When running an app that doesn't have an on-screen back button, the only thing you can do to go back a step is to hit the home button and re-enter the app. To me, that is a huge waste of time, even though it only takes a moment. But how simple is the solution?

I love my back button on my Android device, and now I can't live without it. I constantly use the back button to backtrack though my screen taps, especially on Facebook. No on-screen back button on the app? No problem. I have my Android soft button always there waiting for me to give the command to "back that thang up".

Thing 2 - Text Reflow

This is the most maddening of all things that Apple had deprived me of. It's quite possibly one of my most favorite features of Android devies. But for whatever reason, Apple prefers to remain hard-headed about this, turning a deaf ear to the many inquiries about adding this capability to the Safari browser.

When I'm using Opera on my Android device, I can zoon in on text to make it bigger. My browser will re-flow the text, wrapping it downward so all I have to do is scroll down to read. With my old trusty iPhone, I get to pan sideways to read sentences that fly off the right side when you zoom in. I'd rather bang my head up against a brick wall than pan side to side trying to read an article on a smartphone.

Thing 3 - Keyboard Choices

Even though I absolutely love the perfect layout of the iPhone's keyboard, I want variety. Apple has no plans to provide that, when it comes to text input. Don't hold your breath waiting for cool things like Swype for an iPhone. Because it ain't gonna happen.

When I'm on my Android device, I switch from my iPhone Clone keyboard to Swype, then Swiftkey, and more. Once I burn out on a particular keyboard and layout, I  can move to a completely different keyboard that allows me to keep my mind fresh.

I have found my time period to get sick of a particular keyboard is about a week. After that, I have to move to a different style of keyboard to freshen my mind and cut down on typos. It's completely a mental thing, but I seriously enjoy the choices for text entry on Android devices.

So there you have it. Sure, there are 10 or 15 more things I could drone on about. But these three stupid simple things would have been enough for me to tolerate the balance of other things I would have had to give up hope on.

How do you feel about your iDevice? Have you ever thought about these issues? Are you secretly desiring these things, hoping that Apple will some day bend? Or does it not cause you to lose a single minute of sleep? Toss your opinion into the hat in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Spurned/Burned Apple Fanboy

 

First iPhone 5 Found In The Wilderness

IPHONE 5 SURPRISINGLY SIMILAR, SLIGHTLY SLIMMER

Here it is, folks! The first iPhone 5 that I have spotted in the wild! This one belongs to one of my cohorts, fellow blogger Tim Largent.

When I first saw it, I didn't know I was looking at an iPhone 5. He had it sitting on his desk, downloading his apps from iCloud. When I saw his iPhone 4 sitting on the other side of his desk, I was confused, thinking the iPhone 4 was an iPod or something.

I asked him what the heck he was doing, and he told me he was loading his new phone. That's when it dawned on me (I'm not that bright) that the device I was looking at was in fact his iPhone 5.

Picking it up, it was noticeably thin. He had it in a cheaper rubber case, but even with the case on the device, you could tell that it had a couple of millimeters shaved off. Otherwise, it looked exactly like the iPhone 4, only stretched out a bit.

If someone had plopped that phone in front of me on a table and asked me to identify it, I would have guessed it was an iPhone 4. But after you pick it up and try to access the top left corner of the screen, and can't reach it with your thumb, you reaize it has increased in height.

The new data connector is quite a bit of a switch, about 1/4th the size of the older standard connector. But it's not the magnetic type that you see on the Macbook Air. This has a few iPhone fans a little disappointed, but the new connector is an improvement at least.

The display looks about the same, but with the added pixel height. The new aspect ratio of 16:9 is set up for optimal movie viewing. It looks like the standard iPhone display with an extra row of icons added. That might help for jamming more favorites onto the home screen.

So the bottom line is, for me, that the iPhone 5 is shockingly similar to the iPhone 4/4S form factor. It is a great-looking phone with the newly designed thinness and slightly taller display, but it's more of the same. Apple did not take chances on shaking up the entire design.

The iPhone 5 is not something that would draw me back from Android devices, but I do see this out-selling all previous iPhone models. I think Apple is smartly sticking to what they know works best, and we may not see a radical shift in design for quite some time.

Do you have an iPhone 5, or are you considering getting an upgrade? If so, what carrier is your choice host? Let me know in the comments section below!

Carlton Flowers
iPhone Watcher