Two weeks with the iPhone XS Max: It delivers!

It’s been two weeks since I had the iPhone XS Max delivered and in the midst of all that, I had to serve my annual ICT. It happened right after receiving my new phone. I decided, after much trepidation to just go ahead to make the switch to the new phone and use it during my annual ICT. And guess what: It delivers.

Despite going outfield, being exposed to the elements and all sorts of sweat, grease and everything in between, this phone truly delivered, being able to function well despite the less than optimal conditions. I had a peace of mind knowing that this phone is both dustproof and waterproof, and in the case of rain, of slipping the phone in a puddle of water, or being exposed to dusty environments, this phone will continue to function normally.

I have to mention however, that I did use a UAG case to further protect my phone from accidental falls or slips. I also, for the first time in a long time, added a glass protector screen to prevent any scratches on the screen due to sand and dust as a result from being outside in the middle of the jungle exposed to the elements.

So far, its been working great. The extra screen real estate is a welcoming feature, making watching Netflix and Youtube videos a great joy.

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It’s finally here! The iPhone XS Max!

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DHL delivery arrived at my doorstop sometime around noon today with a wonderful package that I have been waiting for a week since I last placed my order at the Apple Store online.

Now it’s finally here, sitting in front of my desk in all its glory! Removing the shrinkwrap was such an experience, and seamless to, pulling the tab and then letting it fall away. Underneath the box and all the documentation is the phone itself and I must say, this thing is huuuuge! It’s almost the same size as the plus models iPhones and if I am not mistaken, every so slightly heavier than its earlier counterparts. But still, the all screen front on such a size is glorious! You simply can’t peel your eyes away from the beautiful screen that surely from the looks of it, is more vibrant than the iPhone X. I’m not kidding! Logos and from apps as they are loading are more colourful and vibrant and I am pretty sure that the screen is brighter too overall.

I got the Space Grey version, 256GB, and I just can’t peel away from this device. I just want to hold it forever! That being said, I need to retrain my pinkie finger to hold a much heavier phone from now on. I am starting to get a slight sore from my pinkie finger which had to support the entire phone!

Why I’m not getting the Apple Watch series 4

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Ever since it was leaked that a new Apple Watch is in the works, I hadn’t given much attention to it. And now that the specs for the series 4 watches are out, it still doesn’t give me a compelling reason to upgade to the latest series of watches.

It’s been about a year since I gotten the Apple Watch Series 3 and it is still running great. I have been more active than ever before thanks to the fitness and health apps I have installed and used over the past year. Keeping track of my heart rate, number of steps I have taken, calories burned, hours stood, and even my sleep is been a fun experience and informative journey so far. I am very impressed by the sheer amount of health data that my Apple Watch records on a daily basis.

The new watch features a bigger screen, a slightly slimmer profile and more accurate GPS, accelerometer and even an ECG monitor. Those are nice things, but based on my usage, aren’t really must-have features. The battery on my current Apple Watch is still fantastic and looking back, I actually don’t meddle too much on my watch on a daily basis to experience any battery woes. So while it is nice to upgrade to the latest watch, the added features and improvements doesn’t really add value in how I use it and how it would serve me on a day to day basis. For this generation, I will be skipping the Apple Watch Series 4. Maybe something novel and interesting is in the works for series 5. By then, improvements in technology and a greater social acceptance in accepting calls and having a conversation through your wrist would make the upgrade to the cellular model a compelling option. I still that there are lots of improvements that can be made to the battery life of such devices.

Apple should continue to  heavily invest in wearables R&D. It will be exciting to see what they can come up with in their smartwatch segment.

I did the unthinkable.

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At 3.01pm on the 14th of September, I did the unthinkable. I fired up the Apple Store app on my iPhone X and pre-ordered the new iPhone XS Max. For the first time in my life, I blew more than S$2000 on a phone. Call me crazy, and I will agree with you. Why the hell did I do that?

Now, I am not suffering from buyer’s remorse because my remorse hasn’t reached that stage yet. Rather, I felt remorseful that a phone would cost so much. My current iPhone X was already hard to swallow at S$1888. At S$2000, I think it is safe to say that this upcoming phone just broke the camel’s back. With such exorbitant prices, my ability to upgrade phones on an annual basis is no longer possible. I think it is safe to say that the iPhone XS Max will be the first phone that I would use for 2 to 3 years. The time of annual phone upgrades is gone.

The only consolation of mitigating the full financial impact of such a purchase is that I was able to sell my current phone to someone else for S$900. I still had to fork out more than S$1100 just to get the new phone. My brain is telling me that buying this phone is a completely irrational decision. My heart tells me that this is the phone to get and that you will enjoy all the new benefits it bestows upon you when using it. So we shall see.
One feature of the new iPhone XS Max is the bigger screen. I loved the Plus models of the previous iPhones. Imagine having the size of the new iPhones at Plus model sizes but all screen and no bezels. With such a size, I might actually consider for the first time watching TV shows and films on my phone while commuting.

So there you have yesterday marked the day when I did the unthinkable. I will be getting the phone (Hopefully) on the 21st of September 2018.

The benefits of wearing an Apple Watch

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I bought the Apple Watch series 3 last November. It was an impulse buy. I had some additional cash and I thought: why not? I went to the Apple Store, and bought the black aluminium Nike edition 42mm Apple Watch. I didn’t know what to expect. There was no way to predict whether I would like wearing a smartwatch on my wrist in a daily basis, or if this is just a fad. I was wearing a Tissot Visodate automatic watch previously and I love the classy look of that watch. It just goes well with any apparel that you wear, be it casual or formal. I was a bit apprehensive on how it would look on my wrist from the get go.

Now almost 1 year in, and I have benefited from wearing the Apple Watch greatly, more than I anticipated as a matter of fact.

The more I wear, the more I am convinced that wearing a smartwatch has provided me with intangible benefits that is certainly hard to quantify.

At the very basic level, tracking your heart rate, your sleep and overall activity level had made me more health conscious. I am a 30 year old male and I exercise regularly. Not to look good but primarily so that my fitness level is up to par for me to pass my annual IPPT. Wearing the Apple Watch has enabled me to workout smarter and more efficiently than before. With its ability to track how fast I run, and how many calories I burn, and how long I have been working out and how often I work out per week, the swath of data that Apple Watch keeps track allowed me to not only pace my workout at more regular intervals. It has also enabled me to vary my workout routine, so that I know I am getting an all around workout regime that not only focuses on my cardio workouts but also my strength workouts.

Tracking my sleep patterns also enabled me to keep track on whether I am getting enough sleep and whether I should hit the sack earlier the next day if I am running on a deficit. The quality of sleep can also be tracked, which is useful as it partially explains why I wake up feeling tired despite the full 7 hours of sleep.

Lately, attempting to close all 3 activity rings is strangely satisfying.

Notifications pushed through the watch is extremely useful now, as I can do a notification ‘triage’, pushing important and urgent notifications from text messages, breaking news headlines to my wrist, but leaving everything else secondary to my phone. That way, I know which notifications are important and which can be left to be checked at a later time. This feature is extremely useful for me as a researcher who is constantly having to wear gloves which sometimes prevented me from fishing out my phone in my pocket. Now, important notifications is pushed to my watch and I can take a glance at it anytime from my wrist.

Driving is also another situation where I no longer have to glance my phone to read text messages, which is dangerous, but instead I can simply take a peak on my watch worn on my wrist while driving and perhaps reply with a set of short replies with a touch on the watch.

Other useful features to have is the ability to control music on my watch wireless. I love this feature and it is extremely convenient at parties and gatherings.

Siri features is also a great bonus to have. Now I can just enable Siri and command her to control my lights, without having to use the phone.

Overall, I initially thought that wearing a smartwatch would make my life more complicated. One more gadget to charge and make use of, now that I have bought it. But over time, I have come to appreviate

 

New Macbook Pro just launched! Shocker!

I did not see that coming. If you go to the Apple website, there you see it, the new Macbook Pro lineup, with all new internals and an option for the new, powerful 6-core processor in the 15-inch models. New T2 chip, more RAM, more storage and better display and keyboard. What’s there not to like?

So tempted to get the new Macbook Pros, but unfortuntely (or fortunately, because in this case, I have absolutely no budget in getting a new laptop) mine is still working fine and in pristine conditions. And I just use laptop for typing and surfing. I don’t need the extra processing power for anything.

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I returned my Airpods.

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After 4 days of using it, I decided to return my Airpods. This is the first time that I had to return an Apple item because I was unsatisfied with it, and also because the money could be better spent elsewhere. Knowing that the less satisfaction I get using a product, the less often I will use it. So before it gets to that point, I decided to use the opportunity to return it and get a refund.

The Airpods, back from my initial impressions that I wrote a few days ago, is an amazing product to use. I really love it, from the design to the ease of use and the above average sound quality that is coming out of the earbuds. But after using it for several days, especially during my daily commute to and from work, there is something that Airpods lacked that I didn’t realise it could be that critical for me until I start to miss it. It is none other than noise isolation. In a crowded, noisy train, the Airpods, to me personally, just fails in the audio department when there is so much outside noise polluting the audio that is coming out from the earbuds. It got to the point where I no longer enjoy listening to music anymore. While I admire how easy it is to use the Airpods, the compactness of the entire package and how the earbuds just ‘disappear’ in your ear after a few minutes of wearing it, nothing beats having good audio quality coming out of a pair of earpiece or headphone.

There is just nothing else that is more important than choosing earphones or headphones by how good they sound. You can design the lightest, smallest, easiest to use earphones, but if the sound is terrible, I am not buying it. So after evaluating my needs and priorities, I came to a decision that the Airpods were simply, not for me.

I went down to the Apple store, where I collected my Airpods, told the staff that I was here to return an item. After giving my name and assigning me to a staff member, I waited until it was my turn to be served. One of the staff members approached me and asked me what was the item in question. I told him that I was here to return the Airpods. He was then curious as to why I decided to return it and I told him that it was simply not for me, as I placed audio quality the highest when it comes to earphones or headphones. I told him that without noise isolation, it was a no deal for me and despite trying very hard to get used to the idea of having outside noise polluting whatever music I was hearing, it dawned on me that having a noise isolating earphones was a way for me to find peace and a way to shut out all the noise from outside. It was something very much overlooked, but was essential, when I realised I was starting to miss it.

He checked the item to make sure that everything is intact and there wasn’t any visible damage to the item. I returned within the 14-day window. I was a little concerned as to whether they will take the product in and give me a refund, as the Airpod case was showing some visible scratches. If was made of plastic after all. But he accepted it and within minutes, the refund was confirmed and he informed me that the money should be reflected within 5 business days. No fuss, no trouble. Perfect.

Maybe the day will come when they might release Airpods version 2 or something, something beefier, this time with noise isolation. Till then, I will stay away from any audio related products from Apple.