Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another user who has an iPhone moisture sensor trip on its own

From the link:

What this means for us iPhone users is:

1. Even though one of the greatest functions of the phone is that it’s an MP3 player, don’t dare wear your iPhone at the gym because you might sweat on it! Just imagine that? You are working out, the phone is safely tucked into your pocket or arm strap, but you don’t notice that little drip of sweat traveling down the earphone cord and into the slot. Warranty void!

2. Waiting on an important call but need to shower? Don’t dare leave your iPhone on the counter and get the bathroom too steamy. Condensation might form on the phone and bingo, moisture sensor activated. Warranty void!

3. Don’t get caught in the rain (or even a drizzle) with your phone in your pocket unless you are sure it’s in a waterproof bag. Because you cannot keep track of where every raindrop goes. One might make it’s way into your pocket and turn that indicator red. Warranty void!

4. This one is a true story. I was telling my boss about my dilemma and he said “Yep. I know all about the moisture sensor. My daughter is on her 2nd iPhone. The first one she dropped in the toilet so of course there was no argument for warranty there. But, she bought a new one, and her dog licked it. Now the warranty is void.” LOL!!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Does your iPhone have a warranty? Don't think different. Think again.

The following is my nightmare of an experience with the new iPhone 3G S. Please help me get coverage on this by linking it in your Facebook/Twitter feeds and by telling all of your friends about it. Please feel free to submit it to blogs or the media. If you know someone considering purchasing the iPhone 3G S, please send them a link here. Thank you kindly and I hope this issue is resolved soon. Please don't turn this into a flame/slander war against or for Apple or Research in Motion products. If you have your own experience to share, please email me at and I will post it to this blog.

I've always been a fan of Apple's products. I've owned an Apple IIe, Macintosh Plus, Macintosh Classic, Macintosh LC, Performa with G3 upgrade, PowerBook 12", 15" MacBook Pro, iPod 4G 20GB, iPod Touch 32GB, and now the iPhone 3G S 32GB. As a developer, I've always enjoyed the developer experience on Apple products.

I pre-ordered my iPhone 3G S and received it on launch day. I also bought a foofpod case from (mine is the Nishikigoi style one). The iPhone 3G S has been in that case all of its life, except when I browse the internet or make a phone call or charge my phone. The dock connector has always faced the inside of the foofpod case; this is significant, and I'll tell you why soon.

I've always treated the phone well. I drink tea in mornings and afternoon at work. My iPhone sits at one end of the table, and my tea sits on the other end. The phone cost me $300 and a 2 year contract with AT&T. Water damage is the last thing I want to happen to my phone.

During the past weekend, I flew from San Francisco International Airport to Chicago O'Hare Airport. During my stay in Chicago, I turned my phone off. When I turned my phone back on, I was met with a wonderful screen telling me that I must use iTunes to restore my phone. iTunes did not recognize my phone, so I had to place the phone in Recovery Mode. iTunes recognized my phone only to spit back an error message during restore (error 23, unknown error). Online users reported that this issue is caused by the wireless baseband chip failing--typically for no reason at all or during heavy use. Annoyed, I made a reservation at the Valley Fair Apple Store on Tuesday (8/25). I spent my entire weekend without any cell phone, which caused a significant inconvenience.

On Tuesday (8/25), I went to the Apple Store. The Genius bar drone peered into the dock connector and headphone jack with his flashlight. Everything seemed fine. He then attempted to do the same steps I did to restore the phone. No success.

"Oh, man, we are low on replacement phones," he told me with a worried look on his face. "I hope they can still replace my phone today", I remember myself thinking.

He disconnected my phone, and did something to it. And then turned it back on. He then used his flashlight to peer into the headphone connector and the dock connector. His face became very serious.

"Has your phone ever been in the WET?", he asked me in a very serious tone.

"What?" I had no idea what he was trying to say. The WET? Is this a codename for something?

"Has your phone ever come into contact with the WET?", he asked again giving me his best "I know you know what you did" look.

"Has my phone ever been exposed to liquid you mean? No, never. Impossible." I finally understood what he was trying to say.

"Well, your phone has two WET sensors. The one near the dock connector has tripped." he said. He showed me the one near the dock connector. It is indeed pink indicating that it has come into contact with moisture.

I said, "That's impossible. My phone has never been near any liquid."

He went on, "Well, because the wet sensor is red, I can't replace your phone for free, and it will cost $199."

I was pretty angry by then, but I contained myself out of politeness. "My phone has never been near any liquid. I drink tea at work, but I keep it far away from my phone. I paid a lot of money for it, so I take the best care for it."

He was not fazed. His tone changed to an accusatory one, "Well, if the wet sensor has tripped, you must have dunked it in water or used it in the rain or something."

"That's not possible", I told him. The dock connector has always been in the very deepest part of the case.

"Well, if you let a friend borrow it, maybe they dunked it in water. That happens a lot. I don't know." Are you kidding me? The fact that I never let a friend borrow it aside, who does that to their friends?

"Could sweat trigger it? What about humid weather?" I asked. Chicago was humid, but my iPhone was dry. Also, I haven't seen any rain in California during the entire short time that I owned the phone.

"Sweat wouldn't trigger the sensor, unless you were soaked in sweat." he explained to me. That's good to know. It would be stupid if Apple made a phone that cannot cope with one of the most common human secretions. He ignored my question on humidity.

"Is there anything else I can do? I just bought the phone last month," I asked in one last hope that he was just joking.

"Look, man, I really feel for you," he said, but he looked like he was triumphant for outing a liar, "but there is nothing I can do for you. You can come in and pay the $199 any time. It doesn't have to be today."

That's it. New phone. Dies on its own. Warranty goes out the door for something I didn't do and something that hasn't happened to the phone.

I could just pay Apple the $199 and get it over with, but it's along the same lines as them punishing me for something I didn't do. Beyond that, this nightmare of owning my first iPhone is a sour one. Do I really want another iPhone from a company that mistrusts their consumers so much? Do I really want to pay for an extension to this dreadfulness?

Honestly, I want one of two things: One, Apple to replace my phone immediately, no questions asked, and apologize to me for the most horrible experience I've had owning any phone (and I've owned a HTC TyTN just to give you a ruler measure). Two, Apple to refund my iPhone, my iPhone developer account, and pay my Early Termination Fee. The experience is soured, and I don't want to touch anything Apple anymore. Now, even when I use my Macbook Pro, I get this sick feeling in the back of my throat. And I was willing to overlook all the times I had to send my Macbook Pro in for repair for things that had failed (hard drive failure, motherboard GPU failure, Superdrive failure).

I could only think that the Genius drone had purposely done something to cause the sensor to trip during the time he was messing with my phone, and his open worry that the store did not have enough replacement phones is motive enough. Could he have enough time to wet his finger and jam it into the dock connector port while I wasn't paying attention? Or am I just being paranoid?

Even if his motives weren't evil, a quick Google search reveals that these type of sensors can change just from being in a humid environment ( Yes, that's right. People who live in London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Honolulu, and other naturally humid places, your phone may void its own warranty just by sitting there. Apple is essentially selling you a warranty-less phone.

Apple is losing a developer, and they probably don't care. I wish I never invested the time and money into becoming an Apple developer. The easy to use SDKs and developer software carries no weight against the fact that Apple distrusts every single one of their iPhone customers. It's sad that Apple, famed for their customer satisfaction, is becoming ever less respectful of their customers. They can really learn something from Microsoft. Microsoft went from the whole Windows Genuine Advantage debacle to not requiring a product key to be entered during Windows installation (yes, I know that Mac OS users already enjoy this).

Two of my friends were considering iPhones. I told them of my experiences, and I hope that the $199 that Apple is charging me will have caused Apple to lose more than $1000 of profit. But even more so, I hope that my friends never have to go through this same experience.

What's next? I don't know, but I'm not going to pay the $199 without Apple earning it. I'm hoping someone with a lot more money than I have can expose the warranty fraud that is a "moisture sensor" with real scientific evidence. I hope that same person can start a class action against companies who use these means to quickly squelch warranties. I also hope that my story is covered by as many media outlets, blogs, Facebook updates, and Twitter tweets as possible.

What can you do to help? Boycott all products that use moisture sensors and all companies whom so openly distrust their consumers. I know my next music player will be the one with "HD" in its name, my phone one with an OS created by a search giant or a large company in Redmond, and my next laptop one that only runs Windows 7 or Linux. However, I ask that you just don't buy a product with a so-called "moisture sensor". Also, tell all your friends and family. We're regressing from a "customer is always right" world to a "customer is only after our profits" world, and this may very well spit in the face of progress.