Irwin Electronics Weekly Digest
by David Irwin on January 03
Sure, it seems most computer tech’s are happy to service Apple products, Phones, Tablets, etc.. I really can’t speak toward Android much. I use the iPhone myself, and have pretty much since Apple introduced it. Apple was first to market with the Smartphone, and I never found a reason to switch. I’ve played with Android a little, but somehow to me it’s just not as user friendly. Yes, I am an IT guy with nearly 40 years of experience. I know Windows inside and out, backwards and forwards. When it comes to phones and tablets, I know very little!
I do know that Apple has made it very easy to replace broken screens on their newest models. You have two small screws and 3 tiny plugs. The screen and digitizer are sold as one assembly. Sure, I could make a killing replacing broken screens… at the expense of the customer. I refuse to do that. You see, my cost for the part alone is nearly what they charge at the Genius Bar for parts and labor. I would be more expensive, and not provide the Apple Warranty! All these independent IT guys/gals that say they will replace your broken screens are either overcharging you, or using inferior/substandard aftermarket parts, or both and voiding your Apple Warranty! We are a Christian business. We cannot do that. If you have an Apple product with a broken screen, take it to the nearest Genius Bar in your local mall. They can replace it while you wait. They have the parts in stock, they offer a fair price, and will not void your warranty.
What I do know about Android screens is the glass and digitizer are sold separately and are glued together. There are a couple methods the separate the glass from the digitizer. One is heat, the other is chemical. The chemical method is best, but it’s not cheap. Heat simply involves using a heat gun to soften the glue so the pieces of broken glass can be removed. Apply too much heat, or stay a little too long in one spot, and it’s bye bye digitizer. Plus you have the mess of pieces of broken glass to deal with. What if one little tiny piece of glass doesn’t release? It must, or the new glass will not adhere properly to the digitizer. I’m guessing many of these independent shops simply quote you for the glass and then charge you for both if they break it. Again, that’s not something we could do. It would be better to quote you the cost of both and replace them together. However the price would be so much higher than most others are quoting you’d think we’re crazy! When it comes to phone glass, buyer beware. Your best bet is to buy an Otterbox or Lifeproof case before you break the glass. I know, they’re not slim and stylish. Phones are considered as much a fashion accessory today as a utility. Your next best option is to purchase the warranty, and pay the $50 to replace the device if it breaks. For me, I’ll keep my phone in the Otterbox, and never touch it!
Shameless plug for Otterbox: I was jogging with my daughters one day and my phone was not securely clipped into the holster. It popped out just as my foot was on the way up, and landed perfectly for a drop kick. I watched my phone fly through the air, land on the asphalt, flip and skid to a stop. As I caught up to it, I simply picked it up and securely clicked it back into the holster. I have nothing to worry about. Check out the videos on youtube. Guys drop phones from roofs onto concrete below, and they’re fine! I have never broken a screen. Lucky? Perhaps, but I have literally thrown my phone, and it always comes through unscathed. If you want to trust your phone without a case, or use a fancy little silicone skin, you’re just asking for trouble. Why don’t we sell cases? We don’t make money on parts. We have to mark them up as is just to cover our costs. We mark them up only to that point to not overcharge the customer. Your best bet is go to Amazon and order it yourself.
That covers phones, but what about Apple computers? Windows computer manufacturers trust independent shops to repair their devices as long as they’re CompTIA A+ certified. I have that certification. Apple products can only be repaired by Apple personnel. From a hardware standpoint, I would void the warranty. I guess that’s not a problem if there is no warranty. I have had mixed success with OSx issues. The problems I find are either extremely simple, and not worth charging more than $20, or they’re related to people’s Apple accounts. I have tried to help people reset their passwords, but Apple provides this for free! Apple makes a quality product that should last practically forever. They’re operating system is based on Unix. It’s solid, stable, and secure. Sure, we could say we fixed the problem and charge you accordingly. But it goes against everything we stand for. We want to help our customers SAVE money.
That’s not to say all our services are cheap. Windows virus removal can get a little pricey. But we put a lot of work into it to do it right. Yes, we provide some tools for the customer to do it themselves, but that’s not always an option. Some infections take many hours to remediate, and remediation is only half the battle. Once the virus is COMPLETELY removed, the damage to Windows must be repaired. This is not a do it yourself task. Windows Virus Removal often requires a professional with the tools, knowledge, and experience to do the job right. You could easily put your computer back to factory defaults, but what about your data and software? Do you have recent backups of everything? Do you have the disks or installers for every program installed? Not many people can say yes to that. I’m not even sure I could. Yes, I have my data. Installers for every program? I highly doubt that. Yes, I do have bare metal backups. Are they up to date? No!
If Apple computers are so great, why don’t you use them? For one, They’re quite expensive! Most of the computers I use are junk PCs customers gave to me for recycling. They’re quite a few years old, and have had various hardware and software issues. Rather than spend the money to keep old equipment going, many customers would rather invest in new equipment. Sometimes that makes the most sense. For me, the labor is free. I can replace the hard drive with a small, inexpensive, solid state drive for about $30. Once I install Linux, which is free, I have a system that compares nicely with Apple for next to nothing. Memory is also a very inexpensive upgrade. Before I take any PC to the recycling plant, I remove any hardware I may be able to use in the future. I have a box of old RAM for older hardware. It costs nothing for me to upgrade. So why would I buy an expensive PC? At Irwin Electronics, we make old computers run like new. Yes, those old computers just might run circles around anything you can buy new. Why turn them into scrap metal if they have many years of serviceable life left in them? At Irwin Electronics, we do practice what we preach. Why not resell them? Sometimes we do! We have also donated computers. If they’re worth repairing, we will repair them. If the labor is too much for resale, we donate them. What we take for recycling is truly worth only the value of the metal.