The Apple iPhone XS

Post by Mark

Thursday night I passed by Digits in Marina Mall and picked up the new iPhone XS a few hours before the official launch. Digits always hook me up with a phone ahead of launch and even discount the phones for me because they know they’re going to get publicity from me. I like this arrangement because it means I don’t need to wait in line or worry about the phone getting sold out. This year I actually had another company approach me with a better deal on the new iPhone, but my history with Digits goes way way back.

I’m a very nostalgic person and I’ve got a lot of nostalgia with Digits. I’ve been a customer of theirs since before they were called Digits, since before they were called Mac&More, since way before the iPhone or iPod ever existed, back when their store was simply called Apple Computer. Back then they were located across from Salhia and had beautiful beige Power Macs on display which I sadly never got to own. But, since the very beginning, they’ve been hooking me up with stuff like when I got my Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh from them or when they let me take their Think Different banners after their Salhia store closed down. And then I got my 15 seconds of worldwide fame because of them when my pictures of their abandoned store made their way around the web. So yeah, I’m a big fan of Digits and very loyal. I think their service center is great and I just love dealing with them which is why I’m always promoting them.

This year I had two options of phones to choose from, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. I was pretty tempted to get the Max but I already thought the regular XS was too big and so I knew I’d struggle with the Max. Since I sold my water damaged iPhone X around 3 months back I’ve been using an iPhone 8. I loved how small it felt and how I could easily reach all four corners of the screen with my thumb, but I did miss the full screen and I majorly missed the ability to switch between apps by just swiping left or right at the bottom of the screen. Although I was tempted to get the Max because it was a new phone and would give me more to write about on the blog, I knew the regular XS was the one I really should get. Judging by the poll I held on my instagram story though, it looks like the majority of you would prefer the Max.

The XS and X are virtually the same phone. Even though Apple could spend an hour talking about the differences, in reality, there isn’t that much of a difference. The only thing you might notice being different is the camera, the new camera is an improvement over the previous one but unless you’re taking two photos with the two different phones in the same spot and then compare them side by side… you won’t really notice a difference. Battery life still isn’t that great, when I went from the X to the 8 I was kinda surprised at how much better the battery life on the 8 was, I could spend all day on the phone and the battery wouldn’t drop down past 50%. With the X and now the XS, I could be down to 50% by lunchtime.

But truthfully, I’d rather be on the X or XS over the 8 any day. The iPhone 8 and any non-fullscreen iPhone really do feel and look outdated compared to the new iPhones with the fullscreen. Although I loved the battery life on the 8, I don’t mind the sacrifice for a larger and better screen. So moving from an iPhone 8 (or 7, 6, 5 etc..) to an XS is a no-brainer, the question really is if you have an iPhone X now, is it worth moving to an XS? The answer is no, not at all.


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PantryBee: We have a PantryBee app! Why?

Post by Hind

We launched our PantryBee iOS app yesterday and Mark asked me to write about why we made that decision for our business. As a small business with limited cash reserves, it’s always hard to make the decision to invest in a new platform, and it was a year of back and forth before we decided to finally go ahead.

Why did we do it? Well, it’s obvious to everyone that mobile usage is super high in Kuwait, and that a lot of purchases are done through mobile. We knew that, but we also wanted to verify against our own traffic. So after a year of data collection, we did find that most of our users were indeed purchasing PantryBee meal kits from their phone and that the majority of those were iPhone users. Armed with that info we decided to go for it. The biggest hurdle, of course, was cost. We didn’t have thousands of KD to throw on something that might not be useful, so we went about it as economically as we could with the goal of making our customers experience better.

The first step to creating an app is setting up an account with the Apple Developer Program. This honestly wasn’t that difficult of a process, there’s just a bit of waiting time in order to be verified as a legitimate business. The second step for us was finding an appropriate third party to assist with the App creation process. Seeing as we already had an existing e-commerce backend (Shopify), we searched for companies that had an app that would integrate with the Shopify platform. The whole process from A-Z took about 3 months to get to the current app we have out right now.

Though our site is already mobile friendly, our new app allows a more seamless navigation of our offerings, including app-specific promos, notifications and more. It has all the info and products available on our site, just better suited to a mobile experience. So head to the app store and tell us what you think! You can download our app from this [Link]

If you have any specific comments or want to know more about the process for your own business, feel free to email us at info@pantrybee.com and we’ll try and help as much as we can.

Post by Hind
CoFounder of PantryBee where home cooking is made easy.


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Water Damaged iPhone X Repair Costs in Kuwait

Post by Mark

In case you’re curious about the cost of repairing a water damaged iPhone X at an authorized dealer, here is what I found out when I took mine to Digits.

– They opened my phone to find the interior still wet even though I had my phone in a bowl of rice for three days. They dried out the interior and put the phone back together, the cost of that was KD10.

– My rear cameras were still fogged up. Because the camera assembly is enclosed they can’t open it up themselves to dry it out. The solution they offered me was to replace the whole camera assembly which costs KD55. I decided not to do that.

– My front facing camera was working perfectly now (not foggy anymore) but Face ID was still disabled in the settings with no way to turn it back on. According to support if the problem didn’t resolve itself, then the only way to fix it would be to replace the internal phone board. That isn’t something Apple does instead what they do is allow you to swap your damaged phone for a brand new one. The cost of that? 230KD. For a phone that’s badly damaged, I can see that being worthwhile but not in my situation.

Anyway I took the phone home and dumped it into telephone rice again. By evening time the rear cameras were no longer fogged up but Face ID still didn’t work. I’m just gonna keep it in rice for a few more days and if Face ID still doesn’t work I’ll just use the phone without it.


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iPhone X is NOT Water Resistant!

Post by Mark

Over the weekend while chilling poolside in Dubai I had my iPhone X on the side of the pool with me because I was expecting a work-related email. I didn’t think it would be an issue since I knew the iPhone X was water resistant up to 1m deep for 30 minutes and other than a few splashes every now and then, my iPhone wouldn’t be anywhere that deep. I even watched a video on YouTube of a guy submerging the phone in 20ft of water, then throwing it in the washing machine before freezing it in a block of ice in the freezer so I didn’t think a few splashes of water would be an issue at all. Turns out I was wrong because somehow my iPhone X now has water inside it.

The amusing part is that last week my mum messaged me while on vacation asking me if she should get one of those waterproof bags to use with her phone for taking underwater photos. I told her she didn’t need to since her iPhone 7 was waterproof. She was like are you sure??? And I was like yeah of course and then sent her screenshots of articles talking about how the iPhone 7 is waterproof. A couple of days later I get the message below from my sister. Clearly I got hit back with karma.

So now I’m back to using my old iPhone 8 and the smaller screen makes it feel so dated compared to the X. Not only that but I deliberately don’t have any social media apps on this phone so I feel so disconnected from people. I’ve got bowling tonight with friends and I’m having trouble organizing things without WhatsApp and I have another friend who is having her baby any day now, and she could have had it already and I wouldn’t know.

But I kinda like the phone like this since it partially feels like I’m detoxing, but also partially feels like I’m being punished for being so stupid to get my phone wet. So learn from my stupid mistake and don’t get your iPhone wet unless it’s by accident.


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MOI App Updated

Post by Mark

The Ministry of Interior app wasn’t working for me for the longest time but they’ve finally gone and updated it and it now works with the latest version of iOS as well as making the app take advantage of iPhone X’s extra tall screen.

The app allows you to check a bunch of things including your traffic violations, driving license status, car registration status, travel bans etc.. as well as allowing you to pay any fines. If you don’t have the app you can download it from the Apple Store by clicking [Here]


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Apple Pay Works in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Looks like Apple Pay is now starting to work in some places in Kuwait. Some of the new Knet machines that support wireless Knet payment now also work with Apple Pay. I haven’t been able to try this myself, but a friend of mine was able to paying using Apple Pay at Solo Pizza. You need to have a credit card already added to your phone from a country that has Apple Pay like the US for example.

There is no real advantage to using Apple Pay in Kuwait, if anything its actually more expensive when you factor in the cost to transfer money from Kuwait bank account to your US one. But for now, I guess there is a bit of a cool factor to using Apple Pay.

Update: Just tried my Apple Pay at Liquid and it worked!


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ReQueue – A Waiting List App

Post by Mark

ReQueue is a local app that allows you to add yourself to a restaurants waiting list. I found out about it a couple of days ago so I haven’t been able to try it out yet, but going through the list of restaurants in the app, I don’t think you need to wait for most of them. The only reason I got the app is because Table Otto is on it, and they do get crazy busy on Saturday for brunches.

The app seems fairly simple to use and even lets you know if a place has a waiting list or if you can just walk in and get a table. It’s available for both [iOS] and [Android] devices.

If you’ve used ReQueue before, let me know how it worked out for you.


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A Weekend with the iPhone X

Post by Mark

Thursday night I picked up my iPhone X from Digits in Marina Mall. They’d given me early access to buy one so that I could review it on the blog, but they made me promise that I wouldn’t turn it on until Friday morning 8AM. Apple is pretty strict with these things so I understood their concern. I know someone who had gotten an iPhone X a few days earlier, and when they turned it on, Apple sent the authorized reseller he had gotten the phone from a warning that they had 2 hours to shut it down or else. I wasn’t in a rush, I didn’t mind waiting till the next morning to play with the iPhone X, I was just glad I had my hands on one and didn’t have to wait in any line to get it.

I’m not the kind of person that upgrades phones every year, I was actually using an iPhone 6S until last week and was perfectly fine with it until my company handed me an iPhone 8. The iPhone X is the first iPhone in years that I’ve really wanted, and after using it over the weekend, here are my first impressions:

No Home Button
The iPhone X no longer has a home button and I was worried it would take time to get used to the new swipe up to go home gesture. But, I got used to it within the first few minutes of using the phone. To me it feels natural and so much slicker and faster than clicking down on the home button. So goodbye home button, you won’t be missed.

Face ID
This is probably my favorite feature in the iPhone X. It just works. The best way to describe it is that it’s as if your phone doesn’t have a passcode. To unlock your phone, you pick it up and then you swipe up to go home. Super simple, super fast. If for some reason your phone doesn’t wake up when you pick it up, you just tap the screen to wake it up and then swipe up. Again super fast. But Face ID has other advantages than just using it to log into your phone. When I get to a website that asks me to log in with my username and password, the phone checks my face and when it recognizes me automatically fills in my username and password. Another cool feature of Face ID is with notifications. When you get say a whatsapp message on your phone, you won’t see a preview. Pick up the phone and Face ID will recognize you and then show you a preview of the whatsapp messages [Example]. That’s a really smart feature because it means you can leave your phone out in the open and not worry about anyone reading your notification previews, but it also means you yourself can still read those previews. If you’re also wondering, Face ID works under different lighting so if you’re in complete darkness or out under bright sunlight, Face ID will still be able to read your face. Face ID was still able to read my face even though I had sun glasses on and even when my face was half stuffed deeply into my pillow.

The Screen
It’s huge and I’m loving it so far mostly because the blacks are so black. One of the biggest advantages of OLED screens (which is what the iPhone X uses) is the blacks are pure black. That’s because unlike LCD’s, to get the color black on an OLED screen it shuts off the pixels that are supposed to be black. So black is parts of the screen not lit up. Am I making sense? Imagine a room with no windows and one light bulb, to turn the room black you just turn off the bulb. No light = complete darkness = black. The “notch” on top of the screen isn’t annoying at all by the way, in fact I barely notice it. I mean its there, but it doesn’t hinder the experience of using the phone in any way. For those of you who are also concerned that not all apps are yet adapted to take full advantage of the iPhone X, from all the apps I use I think only 2 or 3 still display a black border on top and the bottom of the screen. The rest of my apps all display full screen and so it’s not really a big issue, and whatever apps don’t display in full screen I’m expecting them to by their next update.

Wireless Charging
I picked up a Belkin Qi charger from Xcite for around KD6 and have it on my bedside table. I noticed compared to the iPhone 8 the iPhone X has a larger wireless charging sweet spot. With the iPhone 8 it wouldn’t always start charging when I placed it on the charger but I haven’t had that issue with the iPhone X. If like me you use a magnetic mount for the phone it can still work with wireless charging. I have the metal plate sandwiched between my silicone cover and the phone, but I moved the plate all the way to the bottom of the phone and turned it sideways. That way the center of the phone is clear and the metal plate won’t interfere with charging.

Size vs iPhone 8
The iPhone 8 and X are virtually the same size. The iPhone X is slightly taller and thicker but too minor to even notice.

The Camera
Finally the camera, probably the most important aspect of the phone for me. I was always jealous of iPhone Plus owners since they had two lenses on their phones, the regular wide one and a more zoomed in one. Other than the added advantage of being able to zoom in closer to a subject (while maintaining the image quality), having two lenses allowed Apple to create the “portrait mode” feature in which it blurs the background making it look like it was shot with a DSLR. The iPhone Plus is too big a phone for me so I never considered getting it, but the iPhone X has the same camera system as the plus, with more features like a brighter aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8) and optical image stabilisation for both lenses not just the wide one. I haven’t really taken that many shots with it, just a few of my brothers cats and some of my friends and so far I really am loving the portrait mode.

So yeah as you can tell, I’m really loving the iPhone X so far. Although it was a big chunk of change to spend on just a phone, I think its worth it. If you’re looking to pick one up, Digits sold out their stock on launch, but are getting another shipment in around a weeks time. They currently have a waiting list so you can go and reserve a phone. The prices of the 64GB version is KD353 and the 256GB version KD405. A friend also just picked up a phone from Zain this morning but I think you have to sign up to a plan or something to get it (i.e. don’t think you can just straight up buy it from them).


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iPhone X out in Kuwait this Friday

Post by Mark

Digits(an Apple Authorized Reseller) will have the the iPhone X available to purchase at all their stores this coming Friday, November 3 at 8AM. They’ll be selling the iPhone X at the following prices:

iPhone X 64GB – 352.9KD
iPhone X 256GB – 404.9KD

The phones will be sold at their following locations:

Marina Mall – Salmiya
The Avenues – Rai
Yaal Mall – Fahaheel

They have a limited number so it’s first come first served.


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The iPhone 8 is Out in Kuwait

Post by Mark

The iPhone 8 just went on sale a few days ago in the States and its already available in Kuwait. Since it hasn’t officially been released in Kuwait yet the prices as expected are pretty ridiculous at the moment. Here are some of the current prices:

Best Electronics
iPhone 8 Plus 256GB: KD400

Blink
iPhone 8 256GB: KD315
iPhone 8 Plus 256GB: KD400

Eureka
iPhone 8 Plus 64GB: KD300

Mobile 2000
iPhone 8 Plus 64GB: KD300

The official Kuwait prices in comparison are as follows:

iPhone 8 64GB: KD245
iPhone 8 256GB: KD297
iPhone 8 Plus 64GB: KD278
iPhone 8 Plus 256GB: KD332

A bunch of places have pre-orders for the official release including Xcite and Jarir. The expected release date is September 30th.

If you’re hoping to get your hands on the iPhone X then you’re going to have to wait a bit longer since the iPhone X is scheduled to be launched in the US on November 3rd.

Thanks Frankom


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