4 03, 2019

iPhone Authorized Repairs vs UnAuthorized Repairs

2019-03-04T12:33:51+03:00Mar 4, 2019|14 Comments

Back in October I picked up an iPhone XS from Digits. My previous iPhone X had failed due to water damage and so wasn’t covered under warranty even though the iPhone X is meant to be water resistant. Anyway, last month I noticed the volume on my iPhone XS wasn’t that loud. Turned out the bottom speaker had stopped working. Since it was covered under warranty, I decided to take it back to Digits to get repaired. But Digits wanted to keep the phone for a few days and since I didn’t feel like wiping everything off my phone and handing it over to them, I decided I’d just live with the speaker issue or maybe take it to an unauthorized Apple repair shop and have them fix it for me while I wait. It would void the warranty, but it would also be a lot more convinient.

I called up my favorite iPhone repair shop to see if they stocked the iPhone XS lower speaker but they didn’t, which ended up turning out to be a good thing! Around a week after passing by Digits, my iPhone XS modem started to fail and I was getting a weird cellular update message. My phone stop connecting to my cellphone network and removing or reinserting my sim card wouldn’t make a difference. The modem would just stop working, I’d get an onscreen update error, then my cell coverage bars turn into a warning triangle. All I could do was wait for it to start working again.

So I backed up everything on my phone, wiped it clean and dropped it off at Digits for them to repair. Around 10 days later, I get a phone call from Digits telling me that they’ve replaced my phone with a brand new one under warranty, and to come by and pick it up.

If I had gone to my usual unauthorized repair shop to fix the speaker, my warranty would have been voided and my phone would not have been replaced for free when the modem failed. This whole experience has changed my view on iPhone repairs. I usually replace my cracked screens at unauthorized repair shops because they’re a lot cheaper and a lot quicker, but after this incident, I don’t think I’m going to do that anymore. Something to keep in mind next time you crack your phones screen.

28 01, 2019

Kuwait Maps App

2019-01-28T13:43:47+03:00Jan 28, 2019|22 Comments

The Kuwait Maps app is a new mapping app that is integrated to Google Maps but has one big advantage over it, the app allows you to search for an address in the format we’re used to here in Kuwait:

Area, Block Number, Street Number/Name, House Number.

The way the app works is very simple and fast. When you first run it you choose which area you’re in, then what block number you’re looking for followed by what street and finally what house number. The app will then find the location for you and allow you to navigate to it using Google Maps.

Right now the app is only available for iOS but will be available for Android phones in the future. The app is free and if you want to try it out you can find the app download link on their website [Here]

19 12, 2018

Review: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018)

2018-12-20T17:05:45+03:00Dec 19, 2018|10 Comments

A month ago I posted my first impression of the new iPad Pro. I got the iPad from Xcite and since then I’ve also gotten the Apple Pencil as well as purchased the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio for it, and an iPad sleeve from WaterField. My setup is basically complete and now that I’ve been using the 12.9″ iPad Pro for over a month I managed to answer the ever so important question, can this iPad replace a laptop? Yes, or in my case at least it has replaced one, and I’ll explain how.

Full disclosure, I have a long-standing relationship with Xcite who provided me with this iPad Pro. They’ve been very active with me and the blog over the years and they’ve lent or given me a number of items over the years to review, as well as hooking me up with discounts. I’m a huge Xcite fan.

As I mentioned in my first impression post, my current Mac setup at home is composed of a 27-inch iMac which I use mostly for my design work, a 13-inch MacBook Pro which I use as my day-to-day computer, and a 9.7-inch iPad Pro I use for random things like watching YouTube videos in bed or when I want to chill and browse the web at a coffee shop. What I didn’t mention in that post was that I also had a small 12″ MacBook which belonged to the company I work for. I hadn’t used a 12-inch Macbook before joining this company and I really fell in love with it. It’s extremely compact, its lightweight and battery life was incredible. Instead of lugging my 13-inch MacBook Pro around to coffee shops or when traveling, I’d always prefer to take the 12-inch MacBook. But now that I was leaving the company I decided I wanted to get my very own MacBook, and that was around the same time the new 12.9-inch iPad was launched.

I’ll be honest, I was barely using the iPad Pro before getting the Apple Pencil or keyboard for it. I used the iPad Pro to edit photos in Lightroom but that was about it. I found the iPad Pro too large to use while sitting on my couch and I hate typing on the screen. In bed, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was also too huge to be practical, so I continued to use my smaller 9.7-inch iPad before going to sleep. But, once I got the Apple Pencil and keyboard, things changed drastically. The keyboard for me turned the iPad Pro into a proper laptop, it really made a dramatic difference and I suddenly found myself using the iPad Pro whenever I had the chance. Even at home, I found myself reaching out for the iPad Pro more than my MacBook Pro when wanting to browse the web while watching TV.

Apple Pencil
I’m not an illustrator, in fact, I can barely draw stick figures, but you don’t need to be an illustrator to make use of the Apple Pencil. I found the Apple Pencil really useful in the photo editor Lightroom, and when using the Photoshop-like-app Affinity Photo. In Lightroom the Pencil gave me more precise control when adjusting the settings sliders while also allowing me to draw my image masks more accurately. In Affinity Photo, the Apple Pencil allowed me to draw my object selections better as well as made erasing backdrops so much more easier. If you can illustrate, then you could take the iPad Pro to a completely different level. I know a bunch of very talented illustrators who dropped their Wacom tablets and shifted to using the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil as their primary illustration tool.

Apple Smart Keyboard Folio
As I mentioned earlier, I hate typing on the iPad screen and I never got the hang of it which is why I also had a keyboard for my smaller iPad. The keyboard on the new iPads though is a much better design. If you have the old keyboards then you know they’re not great to use on your laps because of the way they fold. The new keyboards don’t have that fold at the bottom, it’s one solid piece so it’s a lot more stable on your laps. Typing on this keyboard is great, I haven’t experienced any issues or even a drop in my typing speed either. The only thing I miss is the backlit keys, but that would probably add more weight to the keyboard and I wouldn’t want that since it’s already pretty hefty.

12-inch MacBook vs 12.9-inch iPad Pro
One thing I wanted to know was if the iPad Pro would be a better option for me over the small 12-inch MacBook. The biggest test would be if I could use the iPad to blog from. It sounds like a fairly simple thing especially since you could technically blog from any browser on any device, but that’s not what I mean. I’ve been blogging now for over 15 years and I’m used to blogging in a certain way. For one thing, I like my space, I can’t post from a small screen since it feels claustrophobic. I also need Photoshop because that’s what I use to resize photos so they fit on the blog as well as allowing me to control the compression strength of the jpg.

The most difficult blogging day for me is usually Thursdays because that’s when I post my “movies now playing list” as well as my events list. I say difficult because it involves a lot of jumping around on different pages, lots of researching, downloading of images, a lot of copying and pasting of information and lots of linking. If I could get my Thursday posts done on my iPad Pro, then it would pass the test. Spoiler: It passed.

Last Thursday I did all my posting on my iPad Pro and I was even able to complete my posts at a much faster pace than usual because of the way I can split the screen up and did two things at the same time side by side. My setup during my movies post, for example, had my blog open on the left side of the screen while the cinemas and IMDB websites were open on the right. I could then copy paste the info from the right screen to my left and basically work on my post without having to keep swapping tabs. Simply put, the iPad actually made my job a bit easier. Because the screen is also slightly larger than the 12-inch MacBook, I could also see and fit more information on the screen at once and it just felt a lot less cramped.


Dash Sleeve for the iPad Pro from WaterField

Conclusion
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the keyboard is now what I will take with me when I travel and it’s what I will be using to blog from when I’m posting from outside my house. I’m actually using the iPad right now for this post because I’m at a coffee shop and it just makes more sense to post from an iPad when I’m advocating how great it is to post from it.

Both the 12-inch MacBook and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are similarly priced once you add the keyboard and pencil to the iPad. And really, if I had gotten the MacBook instead I wouldn’t complain since I love it so much. But what the iPad Pro is offering is something a bit more. Because it’s a tablet and a fairly fast one, I found I prefered editing my photos in Lightroom a lot more enjoyable than on my MacBook’s. This iPad Pro is actually faster than the MacBook and my MacBook Pro. The Apple Pencil also an extra dimension which the MacBook’s, in general, can’t compete with.

So can the iPad Pro replace your computer? It really depends on your requirements but the simple answer would be yes it can. Right now the only thing I’d really like on the iPad is a full version of Adobe Photoshop but that’s supposedly coming out next year. Until then I’m using Affinity Photo which pretty much has 80% of the things I need from Photoshop. As long as you’re prepared to change your habits a bit, I don’t think moving to an iPad as your primary computer would be that difficult.

The new iPad Pro is now available in most places around Kuwait but I got mine from Xcite and you can find them on their online store [Here]

21 11, 2018

First Impression: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018)

2018-11-22T23:00:39+03:00Nov 21, 2018|16 Comments

Earlier this week Xcite hooked me up with the brand new iPad Pro 12.9-inch that was recently released by Apple. I hadn’t really considered getting the 12.9-inch iPad Pro until I realized it would be a great way to edit my photos using Adobe Lightroom. I’ve had the iPad now for less than a week and still need to pick up the Apple pencil and keyboard, but I wanted to post my initial impression first until I get the rest of the stuff.

My current Mac setup at home is composed of a 27-inch iMac which I use mostly for my design work, a 13-inch MacBook Pro which I use as my daily computer, and a 9.7-inch iPad Pro I use for random things like watching YouTube videos in bed or when I want to chill and browse the web at a coffee shop. Most of the reviews online have been discussing if the new iPad Pro’s can replace your computer, I wasn’t looking to do that instead, I wanted it as a supplementary device to my current setup. My first impression so far? I’m loving it.

The thing that surprised me the most is the thickness and size of the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It’s thinner than my iPhone XS and even though I had read that in the reviews, I didn’t believe it until I put the iPad next to my phone. I compared the size of the iPad to various mac devices and you can see some of those comparisons below with more on my instagram acccount @mark248am. It’s clearly a much more manageable size compared to the older larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

So far I’ve mostly been using the iPad to edit the photos I took of the Ferrari Portofino I test drove a few days ago. I’ve been using Adobe Lightroom and the process has been super smooth. Because the new iPad Pro uses USB-C, I was able to connect my Sony A7 III camera to the iPad and copy all the photos easily and I’m loving the experience so far.

Really my only gripe with the new iPad so far is that it’s a fingerprint magnet (more than usual). Both my older 9.7-inch iPad Pro and my iPhone don’t capture as many fingerprints and it really shows on the screen both when turned on and off. I guess things will improve once I get the Apple Pencil but still, this is pretty annoying.

Once I get the pencil and keyboard I’ll post a more thorough review but for now, if you’re interested in picking up a new iPad Pro I think Xcite still have a few left [Link]

1 10, 2018

The Apple iPhone XS

2018-10-02T11:45:31+03:00Oct 1, 2018|37 Comments

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.

8 08, 2018

PantryBee: We have a PantryBee app! Why?

2018-08-08T12:10:22+03:00Aug 8, 2018|11 Comments

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.

11 07, 2018

Water Damaged iPhone X Repair Costs in Kuwait

2018-07-11T12:34:09+03:00Jul 11, 2018|23 Comments

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.

8 07, 2018

iPhone X is NOT Water Resistant!

2018-07-08T10:49:18+03:00Jul 8, 2018|23 Comments

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.