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iPhone 6S International Versions for USA

by Mat on 11 September, 2015 No comments

UPDATE (14 Sep): has been updated. Everything below was confirmed, except that T-Mo switched over.


Now that the iPhone 6S has been announced, it has been interesting to see that the new models are still split in two, but are darn near identical. This is great news for those that travel abroad, and want to use other sim cards as they travel. Here’s how the new split breaks down:

The AT&T and T-Mobile models:
Model A1633*
Model A1634*

LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)
 TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41)
 TD-SCDMA 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
 UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
 GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

The Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile models:
Model A1688*
Model A1687*

LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29)
 TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41)
 TD-SCDMA 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
 CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
 UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
 GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

The differences here are much smaller than before. With the iPhone 6, there were differences in the TD-LTE radios, but not anymore. This means that you can get LTE effectively worldwide on either model. Here are the differences I know, and hopefully they can help you decide what to get.

Sprint, as far as I know, still carrier locks within the US. Even if you buy an unsubsidized phone from them, you can only use the device on Sprint/Ting in the US. You can unlock internationally, but it’s still unnecessary. Avoid the headache.

T-Mobile and AT&T offer “LTE Band 30” in their phones. In short, this is an additional LTE band that offers excellent speeds in dense, urban areas. This is already being rolled out, and will help AT&T customers in areas that were notoriously slow due to overuse in a small geography.

AT&T has had a reputation for carrier-locking in the past, and generally, you must be “in good standing” to unlock. In other words, you have to beg, and then they’ll let you off… assuming you paid all your bills, you good little sheep. The NSA thanks you.

T-Mobile doesn’t appear to have plans to use that LTE band, so while they’ll be offering better deals without contracts, you’re also going to deal with what has historically been a lesser network. Some of the new bands added to these models will help, provided your area gets upgraded. They do offer the most flex and the best international plans, while generally being least expensive. UPDATE: T-Mobile has the CDMA version; same as Verizon below.

Verizon offers the best blend, it seems. You get a phone with CDMA included. This will give you coverage with speed in almost every place on earth. You only miss out on LTE 30, and it’s irrelevant if your network is decent. Having used Verizon for several years, their network is their strength. Unless you plan on being an AT&T customer in the next 2-3 years, it would be hard to recommend anything other than a Verizon phone. Why?

If you like Verizon or T-Mobile, you’re set. If you like Sprint, you’re able to get on their network, including prepay with Ting. You can use T-Mobile’s plans with a T-Mo sim, and get some of their international data options, or their prepay as well. If you’re going with AT&T while in the US, and you plan on being in major metropolitan areas, AT&T might be worthwhile. However if you are an AT&T customer, it might be best to buy the T-Mobile version so you have no carrier locking issues.

While the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus don’t have the “Apple Sim”, this setup has been a big step forward in offering a “World Phone” right out of the gate. All 4 carriers seem to be offering unsubsidized and non-carrier-locked handsets on Day 1, but I will stick to my recommendations until I hear that AT&T and Sprint have actually changed behavior.

Please be aware – this is as accurate as I can see from the specs posted on 10 September 2015. I cannot guarantee accuracy, other than to say that “you see what I see”.

Good luck, and enjoy those phones on Launch Day!

MatiPhone 6S International Versions for USA

My One Handbrake Tip

by Mat on 15 August, 2015 No comments

First of all, Handbrake is unreal in that it is free. What an amazing piece of software. There are a lot of guides, but a very practical tip sheet can be found at

For me, I have one tip to add. Often, I want to encode something, and I don’t want it to use my entire CPU. It heats the computer up tremendously (though it’s ok to do that), and turns the fans on all the way. Instead, I rather my MBP work with half on, and half resources for other things. Usually, that means I’m still not waiting on anything. But they never tell you how to not just go 100% on Handbrake.

Here’s how:

In “Additional Options”, add the following:


If you do this, it will only take up half, and leave your computer more usable. If you’re running overnight, and you want it to get done, don’t add this. Try it, and you’ll see that in certain instances, this is helpful. Enjoy.

MatMy One Handbrake Tip

Kicking Flash for good

by Mat on 29 June, 2015 No comments

Adobe Flash is outdated technology.

There, I said it. It’s hard to believe, but here we are today without any real need for plug-ins. It’s the web that many had hoped for; standards and simplicity on all devices. There’s still a long ways to go, but I’ve finally made the switch. You’re probably wondering how to do it, and I’m here to help.

First, I’m going to assume you’re on a Mac and generally use Safari. That said, if you’re on Windows, the same concepts apply.

Now, how am I achieving this wonderful situation of not needing Flash, yet still having it? Three steps.

#1 – Uninstall Flash on the computer
#2 – Make your Mac’s version of Safari identify itself as an iPad
#3 – Use Chrome when necessary

Before I get into how, I should explain the benefits. Sites that rely on Flash to deliver content are also well aware that many of their users look at sites with their tablets. iPads and iPhones don’t have Flash, so they work on a more standards-based approach. It’s often light-weight, faster to load, and has a cleaner, and more responsive layout. The best part is this is great for viewing on your computer, too!

The drawback is simple – some sites really do need Flash. For example, and have their tests, and they are programmed in Flash. Sometimes videos are Flash-only. It still happens now and again, so we have Chrome on standby. Google Chrome has Flash, but it’s an internal version. This means that when Chrome closes, so does Flash. If you install it as a Safari system plug-in, it isn’t self-contained. Lots of less optimal things.

If you like using Google Chrome, that’s great. Save the trouble; just uninstall Flash and stick to Chrome. Just be aware of how closely Chrome can track you. Search for something on your phone on Google Maps, and get ads on your browser related to that stuff. You’ve been warned.

So, here we go.

First, uninstall Flash. Get the uninstaller.

Run this, and it will eliminate the plug-in on your machine. Performance improved. Flash content unavailable.

Second, run this in your terminal: defaults write CustomUserAgent "\"Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B334b Safari/531.21.10\""

This now makes Safari tell a website “I’m an iPad, so don’t send me Flash content.”

If you ever want to undo this for any reason, put this in your terminal: defaults delete CustomUserAgent

Now, go to Safari’s preferences menu, go to Advanced, and turn on “Develop Menu”. You’ll notice a simple “Develop” choice. From that new menu, you can select Open Page With > Chrome and you can send the current address over to see it with Flash enabled. You can also select User Agent > Safari to reload the page with the server expecting the “full” desktop browser.

That’s it. You’ll notice Facebook videos load faster, webpages giving you fewer banner ads, and generally your browser will load pages in a snappy, crisp way. The internet wasn’t designed for old plug-ins, so the more we all move away from them, the better the web will get!


PS – just as a reference, this is not a new concept.

MatKicking Flash for good

AT&T / Fox FCC Follow-up

by Mat on 22 June, 2015 No comments

Well, the complaint I made to the FCC is now closed, and little happened. AT&T was notified by the FCC that I complained, and they “addressed” the issue through a phone call where they offered a lowered price. Of course, this would require an additional 12-month contract, etc. etc.

A complete waste of effort, and we have ended our use of AT&T. Unfortunately, it means that TimeWarner is the best option. So far, at least, the internet service is vastly better. The TV is marginally not as good, but the boxes are reasonable. Too many pixelation in my opinion.

Good bye, probably forever, AT&T.

MatAT&T / Fox FCC Follow-up

FCC Complaint: AT&T and FoxSports

by Mat on 10 June, 2015 No comments

Today, I filed a complaint with the US FCC about Uverse and Fox. It comes down to #darts really… you expect one thing, but there’s a squabble over broadcast rights. Instead of soccer, you get #darts. It’s crap, but it also sets a very dangerous precedent for cable carriers and channels. You can’t let them modify content, and still pay full fare. It’s not fair to consumers.

Complaint, as filed, below.

Hello FCC,
I’m writing today to ask for you to investigate AT&T Uverse and FoxSports for unfair trade practices. For months, Fox and AT&T have not been able to come to terms on their content deal, and this is an unfortunate reality in television services lately. However, instead of not including the channel, Uverse has chosen to substitute content for which it can’t agree to terms with Fox.
In short, the “channel” appears to work, but the customer receives alternate programming. This is unacceptable, as the customer is still paying full-fare for the channel. There is no strong incentive for either side to come to terms, and the customer is left to get only a fabricated version of the product.
I would ask that the FCC mandate that it is an illegal trade practice to provide alternate content as a means of dispute resolution. If a provider and a carrier cannot come to terms, then a channel should be blacked out at all times. Allowing providers and carriers to alter a product produces a slippery-slope to which only the customer loses.
I believe that Fox Sports should be required to provide the proper content, and that AT&T should have to refund all of its consumers for the fraction of its charged price for content which it did not provide. The remedy to consumers should be monetary, as no other process will restore the timely content to which they have paid.
While it is annoying to no end when channels and providers fight, I understand that it is a business. So be it; let channels come and go in a competitive market. But please, FCC, do not allow “lite” versions to substitute as the real content, and continue to charge customers. This is exactly why regulation should exist.
-Mat Chavez
MatFCC Complaint: AT&T and FoxSports

iPhone 6 International Versions in the USA

by Mat on 1 December, 2014 No comments

UPDATE – 10 Jan 2015

Good news on this front. Everything you read below is accurate, but here’s what changed with Apple this week in the US:

First, they are selling the “more worldwide” version “SIM-free” at their stores. This means you won’t have to go overseas to purchase this version! Fantastic!

Thus, you’ll be choosing between two versions, even though they won’t say it. If you want the A1522 version that works well in the Caribbean and other places, great! Get the T-Mobile version. If you want the one that works well in Europe and Asia, buy the “SIM-Free” option, A1524.

MatiPhone 6 International Versions in the USA