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!

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Nexus 7 2014 tablet; 7 months on

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I bought the nexus 7 tablet more than half a year back. It was cheap, and it was at that time the all-round best performing android tablet. Even I’m a hardcore Apple fan, I gave the iPad a miss due to several reasons. One, being that I foresee myself not using the tablet as often as my smartphone, so it didn’t make sense for me to spend so much more on a device that would ultimately be underutilized.

And I was right. 7 months on, and looking back, I barely used my tablet anymore. I only use it for one purpose 95% of the time; the read my kindle books. Reading on a bigger tablet screen, is a better experience than on a smartphone. Though I still read it on my smartphone while commuting to work everyday. I only read it on my tablet while I’m at home. Other than that, it just sits there on my coffee table not doing anything. Largely underutilised, I am glad I made the right decision in buying a cheap android tablet than an iPad.

That doesn’t mean that I hate the tablet. I love it. It has a gorgeous screen with colors that pop right out. But I still haven’t seen a need to incorporate another device who purpose largely overlaps with that of a smartphone. And I own the iPhone 6, a fantastic smartphone that is extremely capable. On the productivity side, I guess I am still a PC centric person. I find working using the PC much more productive than on a tablet. I appreciate the potential for tablet to improves one’s lives. Its apps offering are limitless. But still my lifestyle just doesn’t have any room for a tablet.

Preregistration

The preregistration for the new iPhone 6 was up on Singtel’s website yesterday. I took the opportunity to register my interest by entering my personal particulars including my email address.

The preregistration is similar to past practices of registering your interest in getting Apple’s new phone. With your email in their mailing list, you will get up to date information on when you can place your orders through their website. In addition, you will be able to select a time slot to make your purchase and collect your brand new iPhone.

iPhones sell like hotcakes in Singapore, and Singapore is one of the most wired nations on earth. Pre-registering, singtel would be able to anticipate demand, and hopefully fulfil the initial orders for customers who are extremely eager to get their new phone on launch day itself. They will email customers who pre-registered, the date and time for the actual pre-order. Most likely, the initial batch of phone would be sold in minutes. Yes that’s not a typo, really, in minutes, as soon as the preorder page is up, people would be scrambling to secure their iPhones.

As before when newer models is iPhone are released, I have already ore registered, now I just have to wait their email and announcement of when the order page is up. I am also waiting for the contract phone prices to be released. Hopefully it’s not too expensive. I am planning to use some of my flexi-benefit scheme from the company that I’m working in, to offset some of the cost associated with subs handset upgrade. Hopefully it’s within the amount I’m allowed to claim so that I would essentially be free when I get my new iPhone.

Fingers crossed, hopefully I’m fast enough to secure my order. And by the way I have expressed my interest in getting the iPhone 6, 4.7 inch, 64gb space grey version.

Digital magazine subscriptions

I have been a National Geographic subscriber for more than a year now. The subscription I am talking about is the digital version of the magazine. It has all the contents of a regular physical magazine, but you read digitally, from your iPad or iPhone. Though you don’t have the physical copy, there are several advantages to subscribing to a digital one. First, is the portability and mobility of carrying the magazine. You don’t have to add extra weight to your bag when carrying the physical magazine around. The Nat Geo app, which allows you to read the digital versions allows you to read comfortably on your iPhone or iPad. This is great for commuting, especially when you want to insert reading time in between traveling without the hassle of carrying the actual magazine.

 

The digital magazine comes packed with interactive features not found in the physical copy. Sections such as daily news, instagram photos, interactive maps, visualizations, diagrams and embedded video clips that enhances the story and articles being written and told are not found in physical copies. This makes the entire experience much more immersive, meaningful and best of all, being able to better connect emotionally to the stories being told about places, people and events around the world.

 

The subscriptions are usually cheaper. Physical magazine subscriptions usually costs more. This is mainly because of the actual printing, and distribution of the magazine to your doorstep on a regular basis right to your doorstep. With the digital version, you simply download data, digital bits and bytes that would ultimately make up the magazine itself. It is hassle free, as the downloads are usually automatic and comes on the day the issue is released, as compared to waiting for a couple of days to allow the magazine to be shipped to you. And because there is no printing involved, you save the environment along the way, saving paper and ink.

 

Of all the magazines that I’ve looked at, National Geographic is by far one of the best. It has its own dedicated app to download, manage and read the magazine. The magazine is also formatted correctly depending on whether you are reading the magazine from your iPad or from your iPhone. This maximizes comfort when reading text and and interacting within the pages no matter what the screen size is. Therefore, they actually have a dedicated team ensuring that the experience you get out from reading the magazine is consisted throughout, regardless of where you read it form.

 

I have contemplated subscribing to other magazines such as The New Yorker, Discover Magazine and perhaps American Scientific. However I am still hesitant, as the digital counterparts are not as robust and mobile-friendly compared to National Geographic. However, one distinct advantage is that you can read all the articles featured in the magazine from your PC, from their website, just by logging onto your account. Paywall articles will become accessible to you once you are a subscriber. If you wish to read from your phone or tablet, you can ready the PDF versions of the magazines. However, I find the PDF versions to be clunky, and difficult to navigate, and it is not different than reading a scanned copy of the magazine with no way to reformat the article to suit the screen size of your tablet or phone. The New Yorker however has its own dedicated app to read the articles just like National Geographic, but that magazine features articles that touches on topics like the Arts, politics, general interests and current affairs. I’m still not sure if the articles in the magazine would be enjoyable to read, considering the topics that are featured, despite its excellent reporting.

 

Discover magazine and American Scientific have apps that allows your read the digital versions on your mobile or tablet, but they simply offer simple pdf versions of the magazine, which like I said, makes reading clunky as the documents are oversized, and you have to constantly zoom in and out to read that little snippet of text somewhere in the magazine. Simply put, it is not optimized for reading on your mobile devices. What makes it attractive though is access to the articles from the website itself, and the website has a very good layout to begin with with regards to reading long-form articles. Simply log in and you have the full access to all the articles and materials found in the actual magazine itself, and they even throw you access to past editions as well. Subscription is also very cheap, considering they are waiving the cost of printing and shipping the physical magazine.

 

So there you have it, the pros and cons of reading digital magazines. I am most probably going to try out subscribing to Discover magazines, because they have an offer of subscribing 2 years worth at a very very cheap price.