Apple Setup Challenge

Chris Wilson, over at iPadguild.com originally posted about The Best Apple Setups for $500, $1000, $2500 and $5000. I came across Matt Birchler, Habib Cham, and Andy’s pages and they had some great posts on this topic as well. I am a little late to the party but I figured I would jump in and give it a go!

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

The point of this challenge is to put together your own list of Apple gear, using Apple.com prices, for the specific budgets of $500, $1,000, $2,500, and $5000.

The rules are simple:

  • You cannot use any other items, if you have a Mac Pro lying around your home, I don’t care. 
  • The prices are based off Apple’s website.

Lets have some fun.

$500

Total – $494

This is my go-to setup when getting new iPhones. If they offered the Saddle Brown leather case, I would opt for that one instead. Choosing the iPhone is the one item I need and it gets you into the ecosystem and lays the foundation for what will follow. If you want to read more about my thoughts on the iPhone SE, check out my review.

$1,000

Total – $977

I really wanted to throw AirPods in at this point but regular EarPods can solve the problem of needing to listen to something. There really isn’t anything that can replace the Apple Watch for how I use it. Here you are getting the latest iPhone and Apple Watch, which both, spec wise, are about six months old. I know the SE battery will not be able to get me through most days, and I will sacrifice wireless charging and get the Apple Smart Battery Case that was originally designed for the iPhone 7. It still fits and functions on the SE but cannot use wireless charging.

$2,500

  • iPhone 11 128GB in Red – $749
  • Series 5 Apple Watch 44mm with Black Sport Band – $429
  • AirPods Pro – $249
  • MacBook Air – $999

Total – $2,426

At this point, I am very satisfied with my set-up. I really debated on throwing in the iPad at this point but I truly need a MacBook for my school work right now. Come September, I will be done my Masters program and the MacBook will probably collect dust again. Also, this expanded budget allowed me to upgrade my phone to the iPhone 11. I basically did this for the ultra-wide camera addition. Additionally, I threw in the AirPods Pro. Now, I have everything that I really could want and need.

$5,000

  • iPhone 11 Pro 256GB in Midnight Green – $1,149
  • Series 5 Apple Watch White Ceramic 44mm – $1349
  • AirPods Pro – $249
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch – $1,299
  • iPad Pro 11-inch – $899

Total – $4945

For $5,000 I went all out. I upgraded my phone to the 11 Pro and also went crazy with the Apple Watch. I love the white ceramic Apple Watch but could never justify spending $1350 on something that does the same thing as the aluminum model. Its just pretty. I also upgraded the MacBook to the MacBook Pro 13-inch. It took $5,000 but I got the iPad in there. The iPad is the device I really don’t need but I enjoy having. With the extra cash I was able to go straight to the iPad Pro.

It is always fun spending someone else’s money or fake money, in this case. How would you spend your bones at the Apple Store? Let me know on Instagram or twitter!

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Apple’s Newest iPhone – iPhone SE (2020)

After nearly two and a half years since the launch of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, we now have what some have been calling the iPhone 9. This is the new iPhone SE.

If you have been paying attention to the rumors, this will come to you as no surprise. Think of the iPhone SE as a beefed-up, yet less-costly, iPhone 8.

This phone has the same 4.7-inch LCD screen that the iPhone 8 has. It has wireless charging. It has a home button with Touch ID.

Source: Apple

What is different than the iPhone 8? Well, it now has the same processor as the super-fast, iPhone 11 model phones. Not only does that mean this thing is fast, but it also means that it will be probably be supported two years longer than the iPhone 8 will be. The camera received a nice upgrade over the iPhone 8 that now includes portrait mode for people. The battery should be significantly better since this model ditched the 3D Touch haptic module. Best of all, it is $50 cheaper than the iPhone 8 at only $400.

Who is this for? This is for those who want the smallest iPhone available. Though it doesn’t have the latest and greatest, top-of-the-line features like Face ID, dual or triple cameras, or the intuitive home button-less interface, it is still an iPhone. This is also for those who want the least expensive iPhone out there. Maybe you love the home button and Touch ID, maybe you just want best iPhone for the least amount of money. This is it.

I’m excited for this. I use an iPhone 8 as a company device and there are a lot of times that I enjoy it over my iPhone 11 Pro. I love the size. Sometimes Touch ID is just so fast that it outshines Face ID. This phone is going to be very popular because not only is it lower in price, but it is also familiar to those who have never upgraded to an iPhone since the iPhone X redesigned the interface.

The iPhone SE launches April 24th for $399 for 64GB of storage. It is also available in 128GB for $450 and 256GB for $550. It is available in Black, Red and White.

Are you picking up an iPhone SE? Let me know on Instagram or twitter so I can hear what you have to say about it!

What if Apple Cancels the iPhone 12?

For years I have had an internal battle with which iPhone to buy. Should I get the 6 or the larger 6 Plus. Should I get the 7 or dual-camera 7 Plus. Should I get the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro-with three cameras instead of two. And so on and so on. We are spoiled and most times we don’t even know it.

If you are reading this, more than likely you like getting the new gadgets every year. I do too. Since I was little, I always enjoyed technology. But have we gone too far with getting the new iPhone every year?

What if, due to the global pandemic, Apple scrapped its plans for its iPhone 12 this year? What then? Miraculously, our iPhone 11’s would survive another year. Of course, after all of the podcasts and news articles are released about how Apple is doomed, we would move on with our lives. Eventually, the rumor mill would ramp up again and we would start to hear what the next iPhone is going to be like. Then, before you know it, it will be September 2021 and we will be waiting for the newest iPhone.

Would I be bummed? I don’t think I would. It would allow the entire tech community to take a breath and take a step back. Trust me, I don’t wish for this. I am ready for the world to get back to normal just as much as the next guy. I absolutely love what Apple has done over the years. It is the one thing in life that I like to splurge on.

But, just thinking out loud, maybe this is the year Apple could give us permission to skip an upgrade. I honestly think it would build that anticipation for a new iPhone more than ever before.

Saying all of that, I do believe there will be an iPhone 12 this year. How when, and where Apple announces it is a different story. My optimistic side hopes and prays for an end to all of this craziness very soon.

Bottom line, we will be just fine.

You Don’t Always Need the Best – iPad

My sweet wife told me to pick out an iPad for my Christmas gift this past year. She knew I had my eyes on the 11-inch iPad Pro since its launch in 2018. Best Buy had an amazing deal, so I bought it.

Almost 3-months later, here I am, typing this on a $250 7th-generation iPad while the iPad Pro is back at Best Buy. Here is why.

I really love the look of the iPad Pro. The flat edges wrapped the entire way around the device takes me back to the iPhone 4 and 5 days, which in my opinion, were the best looking iPhones.

But it was just that, the look. It is still an iPad. My battery on my iPad Air 2 was quickly diminishing and definitely wanted an upgrade. As I was using the Pro, I couldn’t help but notice that it felt like, and performed like-for my workload- my current 5-year-old Air 2.

If I was editing video or my podcasts on the iPad, yes I know the Pro would show significant speed advantages. But I don’t.

A lot of the time I use my iPad for consumption. Scrolling twitter, catching up on some of my favorite blogs, YouTube, and general web browsing. I just couldn’t justify the price difference between the Pro and regular iPad for how I use the iPad

Like I said, I was able to pick up the iPad Pro for a really great deal, at $650. At the same time, Best Buy dropped the price of the 7th generation iPad down to $250. For how I use an iPad, It would have been silly to have kept the Pro for a $400 price difference.

A few months in, I am loving the 7th generation iPad. I picked up Apple’s Smart Keyboard and have started writing on my iPad, which is something I wanted to do for quite some time. The upgrade in screen from the Air 2’s 9.7-inch screen to the new iPad’s 10.2-inch screen is very noticeable and welcoming. The battery isn’t the greatest which is kind of surprising to me. I remember when my Air 2 was new, it seemed like you couldn’t kill the battery. For some reason, and maybe it is because I am using the iPad more than ever, the battery isn’t as impressive. I did pick up the Apple Pencil but have not found a good use for it yet. I do plan on editing me and my wife’s podcast on the iPad once we start recording again.

All in all, for $250, this iPad is amazing if you want an iPad for your day-to-day use. Even at the regular $330 price, I would purchase this one again.

You can pick up the iPad Pro and iPad 7th generation on Amazon at some of the lowest prices.

What iPad are you currently using? Do you plan on upgrading soon? Let me know on Instagram or twitter!

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Review: Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro

Do you really want to read about another battery case? If so, go check out my review of the Smart Battery Case for the iPhone XS. It all essentially pertains to this case as well. For everything new, please read on!

The one difference with this case is the camera button on the side of the case. Yes, a button. This is a nice addition to the Smart Battery Case. If you hold in on that button it will immediately open the camera. Not once did I accidentally trigger this feature. Which is surprising. Apple knew what they were doing when designing this case. This will remind you of your old point and shoot camera that you used to carry around with you before smart phone cameras were so good.

There are very few people who actually need this case. As someone who buys multiple battery cases, and has relied on them over the years, the iPhone 11 Pro doesn’t need one. If you are constantly traveling, or away from power outlets all day, ok, you may need this case. For $130, and the amount of times that I needed it, the value just wasn’t there. For how much I would use a battery case, I would be better off buying the mophie Juice Pack Access. If you hold onto your phone for multiple years, this will be a great acccessory in a year or two when your iPhone 11 Pro battery is degrading. Plus, you will be able to find it significantly cheaper.

The iPhone 11 Pro Smart Battery Case can be bought here if you are still interested.

Let me know on twitter or Instagram if you are picking up the Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 11 Pro.

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Review: mophie Juice Pack Access for the iPhone 11 Pro

Another phone, another battery case. I wont spend too much time on this one because at this point, there isn’t much that has changed over the years.

The mophie Juice Pack Access is mophie’s latest battery case for the newest iPhones. They made them for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

The cool thing about the Juice Pack Access is that the bottom of the case is open to allow you to use the Lightning cable that came with your iPhone.

To charge the case up, you can plug in the the included USB-C cable or sit it on your wireless charger. Either way, when you charge the case, it will also charge up your phone.

To use the battery portion of the case, which is the entire point of it, there is a button on the lower-back of the case. Pressing and holding the button will turn on the case and in turn, start charging up your phone.

In my tests, I got about 36% extra charge using the mophie Juice Pack Access. This isn’t very impressive but if you know the iPhone 11 series batteries, you really don’t need too much extra.

The cases come in black, blush pink, and red.

The case is normally $80. Is $80 worth an extra 36% battery? That is up to you. But if you act quickly, you can actually get this battery case for around $48 through mophie.com. They are running their post-Black Friday deal and for $48, I say go buy this case.

What do you think about the mophie Juice Pack Access? Will you be picking one up? Let me know on twitter or Instagram!

This post is not affiliated with mophie or Zagg.

The Mealy Apple Turns Three

It is hard to believe the blog is three years old this month. A lot has happened over the last three years. Not only in my personal life, but also in the tech world.

We had the original AirPods release, the iPhone 8 and of course the iPhone X. Another year went by and we got the iPhone XS and then the iPhone 11, this year.

The iPad has gotten some great improvements with the iPad Pro and has really hit the sweet spot in price with the 7th generation iPad.

Over the three years, I have learned a lot. I have gotten my first paid gig. I received my first products to review from very gracious companies. And, I have also made a few bucks from affiliate programs.

I have felt pretty nostalgic lately—about a lot of things. From video games, to TV shows, to older technology that has come and gone. But more recently, I have been thinking a lot about Tech TV. Remember Tech TV? It was a network that had a slew of tech programs. One of the lead hosts at Tech TV, Leo Laporte, started his own podcasting network over at TWiT.TV and that has been as close as anyone has gotten to the old Tech TV days.

I miss the shows like Call for Help, The Screen Savers, and the video game review show, X-Play. Now, I’m not going to start my own tv network. But I have been thinking more about legacy. I am not doing the blog for money, though I’m not turning it away either. This is my outlet to talk about the things that I love. 10 years from now, I want my audience to have grown and look at me as someone they can trust with my opinion and thoughts on tech. This is a marathon and I am enjoying the ride.

There have been so many times over the last two years that I have wanted to give this up because I am not putting out as much content as I would like. But I would rather put out quality content over quantity and trying to keep up with news outlets. Because that is impossible. Then, each September, I have folks send me a message asking which iPhone they should get and what the best value is. I love that. That keeps me going.

So, where does The Mealy Apple go from here? I am going to keep up what I have been doing with reviews and the random thoughts on news. Could there be a podcast in the future? It is possible. With all of the tech podcasts currently out there, I would want to try something different that would set me apart. So until then, I will keep thinking on that part. I thought about putting out an audio version of each blog post that I put out. I know YouTube is a happening place, but I have never thought seriously about video. Writing is where I wanted to start and that is where I plan on keeping my focus over the years to come.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by the blog over the last three years. You are all awesome.

Come give me a follow on twitter and Instagram so that we can connect and you can let me know what you like or don’t like!

Turning Off Live Photos

A Live Photo on your iPhone is a photo that records 1.5 seconds before and after you press the shutter button. This allows you to capture a little bit more than just the single photo you are used to.

Recently, Apple has started allowing us to edit Live Photos so that you can select a part of the photo that you actually want. This is cool.

But I could do without the feature. It bugs me. Every time I turn it off, it comes back on. This has been driving my wife and I nuts since we got our new phones.

I forgot about one little feature.

To turn off Live Photos and keep it that way, first go to your camera and tap the target-looking logo in the top status bar.

Then, go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings > Toggle on Live Photo.

This will keep it turned off. I know this is a simple tip but can be frustrating when it keeps coming back on after you have turned it off.

Apple’s New iPod touch

It took me a little bit to wrap my mind around this one because I wasn’t satisfied with the news. Last week, Apple announced a new iPod touch. The iPod hasn’t been updated since 2015…and it shows.

Courtesy of Apple.com

The biggest updates are a new processor (the same A10 chip from the iPhone 7), new colors and updated storage options. Not very exciting.

I was so bullish on it at first because it is not for me.

But, this is the cheapest option to get someone into the Apple and iOS ecosystem. At $199, this allows kids, Android users, developers and those who are curious, join in the Apple fun. Also, as a designated music player, it isnt a bad idea to have something this small. With a 4-inch screen and super slim body, I can see the benefit of going out for a run with something like this.

Obviously previous generations of the iPod touch were selling enough for Apple to put out a new one. Just because I dont have a use for it, doesn’t mean that it is a lame product. So, there is a use for the new iPod touch.

Do you have any intentions on buying the new iPod touch? Let me know on twitter and Instagram!

Check out the iPod touch here !

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

7 Ways to Deal with Burnout, Stress, and Imposter Syndrome

This is a real good article that touches on a couple of different issues including burnout.

Jeff Perry at RocketPanda.net:


I have seen people I follow and consider my peers gain success in their own ways and I can’t help be get a little jealous and envious of them for growing while I am not growing fast enough to my liking. This kind of thinking is how you get discouraged and throw in the towel. It isn’t healthy to always be looking how well others are doing and comparing yourself to them. If anything it will drive you insane.

Like Jeff, it is hard not to keep checking your growth on different platforms and comparing yourself to others. I think you have to ask yourself why you are doing something. What is your goal? When I had more time and just started the blog, I would reach out to individuals on twitter who had questions about products that I wrote about. I got a lot of clicks that way, made some more money and provided tons of value to people looking for answers. But that was also a lot of work. With work, comes results.

Go give Jeff’s article a read.