Once there was home…

Malam Jabba, Pakistan (I visited in 1992) photo © Copyright by Khadija Yousaf

Unlike most people who come to the UAE to make a living, some of us Pakistanis are the most unique, people like me who have been living outside of Pakistan for the past 43 odd years (some six or seven spent back home). That’s four decades and a lifetime of living away.

I’m sure it’s hard to imagine for most what that feels like. It’s unlike most Pakistanis who live here for some years, but there are thousands like me who have lived away from home, just far too long. When that happens, ‘where you belong’ becomes hard to understand for one’s self and even harder to explain to others.

There are some idiosyncrasies that keep you from wanting to go back. We came here way too long ago, decades ago. We have seen our country go through abnormal hell, hell that doesn’t want to seem to end. We are used to a largely ‘system-first’ (extravagant at times) lifestyle that works one particular way and it suffices our needs. We’ve fallen in love with an environment that promotes Islam and it’s culture and see it in practice in public and elsewhere. We’ve lived in a society where its leaders welcome diversity, promote love and tolerance. We’re spoilt, we’re hemmed in our ways and some of us like me, are at a point in time in our lives where ‘back home’ we’ll be utterly irrelevant. That’s a very few of me types.

الحَمْد لله

Back home has never been back home for too long and there are too many stories and experiences that keep me from wanting to go back.

The usual call from family and friends is to come see them, to enjoy, to eat without measure, to celebrate Eid, to see the country, to keep in touch with our roots, to let our children know where they come from and to know the place where if one day things went wrong, we may have to go and live. It’s a poor sell really.

Home is where the heart belongs and home is where in my opinion your basics are sorted out for you, where there’s basic governance, where you have basic infrastructure, basic functioning municipalities and basic amenities in cities, basic security, basic livability. Fresh air to breathe? Just basic, nothing fancy. I’m happy with basic.

UAE offers too much in terms of basic, it’s just too damn polished, exceptional to live. As for Karachi where I was born, it’s a mess right now, an utter mess that requires its own post, one that is harshly brewing up in my mind. Just hang in there it will come.

Suffice to say, back home Karachi is unlivable on many levels and it offers poor living conditions. It’s worse today than it was during the years I lived there, many many years ago. If you know anyone there who are still in their right mind, they’ll tell you.

I haven’t visited for eight years now. 10 years away from home? BIG GRIN – I see it as one of those things where you want to make it 10 and everyone goes ‘wow’ that’s a long time, ‘aya karo’ (hopeful way of asking someone to visit), one of those things you want as a badge in your collection.

Do I care not having visited? There were times I wanted to, yet most times something or the other kept me away. Something still does. May be I’m at that stage of my life when you just want to leave to never return, you’ve had enough. Somewhat like Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah when he left only to be called back by Allama Iqbal. The analogy doesn’t hold because unlike our Muhammad Ali Jinnah who had to head back to do what he eventually made happen, we have an excellent Prime Minister now in place, who’s trying to reset the entire nation. Besides that, who am I?

Once there was home, and then we left.

Steak of the economy

Delicious rare rib steak grilled perfectly photo © Copyright by TR Davis.

Being the topic that it is, asking someone how they are doing or how their business is doing gets you varying answers from ‘people are loosing jobs’ to the ‘economy is in tatters’ and a few ‘Alhumdolillahs’ here and there. What does anyone know about the economy anyway? We’re not economists.

The question often answered is not how they are doing, it’s how they were doing in the early 2000s or 2010s in Dubai versus how things are today some nineteen years later. Today UAE’s economy is gigantic, it’s more stable, it’s been growing and it’s up for takes. The only problem is, there’s been steady growth, modest changes and little tweaks here and there. There’s no oncoming boom for speculative markets or ideas. There’s no way you can become a multi-millionaire over night. There’s no returns like before. It’s still vibrant, livable, lovable, a fresh of breath air when compared to back home.

Wherever back home is.

If you’re a small business owner like me, you may want to, from time to time evaluate the actual course of the economy at a more natural level as compared to studying or trying to study macro-economic indicators, which to us poor souls mean too less at the micro level. So here are some micro-level indicators with my observations on how the UAE economy is actually doing:

Observe McDonald’s pricing. They’re unreasonable at the moment. McDonald’s have been promoting various price focused deals from 2018. Some of them were good from a price-point perspective.

My take: They’re cashing in on their loyal customers. They want you through their door rather than someone else’s. They’re shy of repricing their cash-cow products to lower prices. Bundling is the way they’re going at the moment.

Observe Billboards. One out of three advertises an ‘advertise here.’ Most adverts are for multi-billion dollar brands. Other advertisers are too few or advertise too little.

My take: Empty billboards tell a story. There aren’t many takers for that expensive ad space. There’s an air of caution. There’s not much to say at the moment.

Observe what the Hypermarkets are doing. Most are ‘hyperer’ today than ever. They’ve got an offer or two on great products in every major category that undercuts pricing of all other brands in that category.

My take: You can live way cheaper if you simply drove around the city and chose well. Most offers aren’t from unknown brands. There are excellent offers from some of the top brands in the market. You’ve got to know what you buy, at how much you have bought previously and how much they cost today. It’s excellent.

Observe how frequently top-brands are Bombarding you with SMS messages and what’s being said. There’s an onslaught of SMS messages right now. Some of them are silly.

My take: First you can block SMS spam, so do that. Second, ‘frequency’ is the question here. The desperation that you sense behind it. It’s the same old product or service, the frequency of messages makes you want to believe it’s time-bound. It’s not. Is it desperation? To some extent it is.

Observe car dealerships. Car prices are almost where they were last year, where they were the year before, where they’ve been for some years. Service centers have reasonable offers on service (at discounts), extended warranties and accessories. You can ‘buy today and pay next year’ or make your ‘summer dreams’ come true.

My take: Most people are buying the right cars today when compared to yesteryears. The right car would last you way too long, just way too long. So you’ve got great offers at your table if you’re in the market for a new car. Add to that, if you live in Dubai, you really don’t want to buy a new car. You can use the metro or hire Uber, it’s just that simple (and cheaper if you do it right). New utility car? Meh.

Observe big spenders. Public or private, they’re spending modestly. There’s a sense of planning, an ongoing effort to enable lower-costs and ‘keeping’ customers is more important today, than before.

My take: This is the best time to setup business in the UAE if you really, well like me, understand to some extent what’s going on. Some of our costs at home and business have been lower this year. If you track this kind of a thing, it’s fantastic. We’ve got lower bills, renewed products and services and an ease-down on fees. It’s easier and it’s attractive.

Observe your customers. Our customers haven’t shut-down. Some of them are experiencing slower than usual cash-flows and everyone does, every summer. All of them pleasantly renew our services at the same rates (we revise prices every three years). Some have ordered new accounts this summer. Some idea/concept based customers have cancelled some services or altogether gone out of business.

My take: The economy is holding up. There’s enough business out there. If your customers are experiencing a slow-down, adjust your costs, get rid of debt, focus on acquiring new customers and stay put. Have you wondered being in the UAE, you can sell to the world? Do that, just don’t give in, not yet.

Observe your vendors. Utility companies are at it to get their money. You’ve got 2-4 weeks to pay up, that’s it. Businesses are flexible with payments ever more than before. You can negotiate lower fees for services you buy at good readjustments. It’s a more welcome ‘today’.

My take: Your vendors may be willing to give you a one-time, one-off, just-this-year discount that can help. Even a modest discount of 10% is great. Just be truthful to them about your situation and remember, they’re facing the same issues you may face, so be humble. As for large businesses or vendors like Utility companies or Amazon Web Services or Google, you can still lower your costs.

Observe yourself. Are you consumed by the fear of having to pay VAT on every nominal transaction you make? Are you consumed by the fear of days when corporate tax will be a reality? Are you afraid that you may loose your job? Are you living a lifestyle that’s not in line with your income? Are you dreaming dreams of a time well gone away?

My take: If you’ve lived in the UAE for longer than you can remember, or would have to calculate (2019-1996=23 years) your economy has been good. There are ups and downs, there are times you love and times you want to forget, yet there is always time to rethink, rewind, recuperate, recover, readjust, replenish, rediscover, rebound, retrench, reinvigorate, refine, redo… reconquer.

The only question is, are you willing to bite at the steak of the economy?

Summer ends 23 September

Deserted Al Seef, Dubai Creek afternoon in June heat photo © Copyright by Khadeeja Yasser

As dawn breaks I’m scanning a few topics to write about. I’m trying to develop a habit of writing every morning and some ideas take precedence over others.

It’s quiet at the moment. I’ve set our pedestal fan to low speed. It’s not daringly hot at 6:24 a.m. to switch on air conditioning (which I usually prefer to use at a few scheduled times during the day) and darkness has faded away. The heavy curtains in our lounge make me feel that it’s still dark outside. It’s not anymore.

Living in the desert from when I was carried here (Oman) as a baby (the use of the word baby in reference to myself, makes me chuckle), some 43 years ago has had its toll on my mind. I simply hibernate or tend to follow a well thought out hibernation plan when summer arrives. Calling summer ‘summer’ in our desert (UAE), is an entire stretch of the term. It’s not just summer, it’s a long, long, tiring summer. It comes, it stays, stays some more and then tries to fade away.

Some years I’ve felt the coming of summer from mid-February. The year 2012 after Ghost Protocol was released (December 7, 2011) felt like one. I recall that February was hotter than usual and unusual dust-storms reigned. There was a dust-storm in February too! The timing of that dust-storm scene played by Tom Cruise couldn’t have been better (watch him run through the DIFC Gate Building in Dubai chased by a cinematic dust-storm). That year we had a lot of dust-storms, or that I may have noticed them a little more than usual.

Other years it can feel the heat’s having a late start with some refreshing rains in late March (2009 comes to mind) or anywhere between December and March. However by April, early or mid, it begins to heat up with tiny heatwaves of a few hot days followed by a few cooler ones, then hotter days and less-cooler ones, until we slowly forget what cooler days felt like, for the next five to six months. It depends on how you look at it and whether 40 degree Celsius days in September count as cooler days (which they are) compared to days that can be as hot as 48-49 degrees in some months (I must add, I haven’t seen these high temperatures this year, and I’m correct, the highest recorded temperature was 45 degrees Celsius in August).

If you google “when does summer end in uae” you’re told “Summer 2019 in Northern Hemisphere began on Friday, 21 June and ends on Monday, 23 September. All dates are in Gulf Standard Time.” That’s three months – three intensely hot and humid months of a very long summer that never seems to want to end.

Ironically, this year on June 21st we had an unexpected moosla dhar barish or cloudburst in Ajman (where I live) after Jumu’ah salat while we enjoyed a nice meal of biryani at lunch. June rarely sees any form of rain in these parts so it was an absolute pleasure and mercy. And that marked the official beginning of summer this year!

So when’s summer in the UAE? It’s from May to October with two fade-in and fade-out months of April and November. Those can be pleasant months when they want to be. We can expect rain at unexpected times during these months and when that happens it can be very heavy and local to some areas.

As for humidity, we had 100% humidity in Ajman yesterday and this makes the outdoors absolutely impossible to traverse. Unless of course you’re planning some natural form of sauna therapy which can be good for your body. Carry water if you want to try this.

As for me, I prefer hibernating in summer months. I rarely try to go out. When I have to go for tasks that I must carry out, I try to get back in as fast as I can. The UAE is designed to keep you cool when you’re indoors which is a blessing! If you buy the right car, you cool a little better driving. I absolutely want to go out by September but for the past few years, this month instead of August is crazy humid. So I’m indoors for now.

Summer ends Monday, 23 September, at least in ‘the half of Earth that is north of the Equator’. I’m willing to believe that.

The story of us.

Natural human tendency is to settle, to abide within a certain mental and social framework and to seek the constant – the unchanging, the stagnant, the lazy.

In an environment where the majority being led are busy fighting fires in their daily lives, or have lost hope to persecution, plunder and injustice,… leadership or the qualities of leadership amongst us die or lay silent. In such lands, the status-quo marches forward with a menacing non-defeating loud thud – a devilish giant, a maniacal system that reins loose and suppresses those that could have stood against it.

Such any system isn’t of its own, it’s the outcome of hate, of injustice, of race, of hunger, of suffering, of loss, of sacrifice, of greed, of falsehood, of ignorance, of arrogance, of dishonesty, of chance, of opportunity, of insanity, of shame and of vacuum.

This gives birth to insipid, unthinking, egoistic, manipulative, uneducated monsters who assume power, position and place in society as its leaders – the look-up-tos to whom society succumbs to for want of their daily bread or for menial favors that ought to be given rather than begged for. People are kept busy, too busy, to think, to educate, to access information, to improve, to better their lives or to simply live happily. The are forced to feed the never-ending cycle of disgust.

Amongst all this, the protagonist of our story, our savior, the leader to become, the one who will deliver us from our bondage, our hopelessness, our failure, is born.

As the protagonist is brought up, lives within, gathers name and honor in and amongst the suffering people – ‘his people’ – the cycle of injustice grows, reaches its peak, touches the weakest, poorest first, the affluent next, the heartless eventually, encompassing everyone as it feeds on every hope for justice, rears its head in absolute unrelenting command, only to bow to the devil’s desire to insult, injure and incinerate man.

Does the protagonist know his time has come? Probably not.

Life, circumstances, truth, compassion, empathy and revelation from Allah (God Almighty) have inspired men to stand for justice and rise above the desires of the self. In that vein we see great men who walked this earth in our little human history as protagonists of great stories.

We all love and so do I love and cherish many truths of the triumph of justice. Amongst the Prophets of Allah and other greats, here are a few real stories close to my heart:

The story of Moosa (alihassalam), Firaun and the Bani Israel.
The story of Muhammad (rasoolallah), Quraish and Islam.

The story of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, British Raj and the creation of Pakistan.
The story of Imran Khan, the Corrupt and the quest for Naya Pakistan.

The story of us.

Change the thinking at the top

Change the thinking at the top, and you automatically change the thinking at the bottom. Remember this: when you take over the leadership of a group, the persons in that group immediately begin to adjust themselves to the standards you set. This is most noticeable during the first few weeks. Their big concern is to clue you in, zero you in, find out what you expect of them. They watch every move you make. They think, how much rope will he give me? How does he want it done? What does it take to please him? What will he say if I do this or that? Once they know, they act accordingly.

The Magic of Thinking Big, David J. Schwartz, PhD, 1959

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has been saying this for longer than I can remember. I’m only worried about the group he leads. They’re only too clever.

Strong tea

Strong tea, photo © Copyright by Yasser Masood

There are days when I wake up thinking I want strong tea. It’s just a state of mind that lasts a few minutes and then I’m happy to have my usual tea.

I don’t run on tea like most Pakistanis claim they do, or actually do. I have tea once when I wake up and once early afternoon. Other times I just have lots and lots of water.

Tea is embedded in our DNA, it’s a natural taste we love and enjoy. We Pakistanis even make it more ways than most other cultures, so when it comes to tea, it’s personal and it’s serious. You don’t mess with someone’s tea-love.

The usual times people have tea in our culture have been once early morning and once early evening. That’s where I live and breathe when I crave for tea, it’s at those times. Else, it’s just not tea time and I move on.

Then there are self-presuming tea aficionados amongst us who think tea is an any-time drink and indulge in tea-love that’s simply silly and dangerous. If you fall in this group, you’re either dehydrated, sleep less or you’re addicted to sugar.

Tea for me is entirely optional and I have seldom craved it in Ramadan (the superb month of fasting and reconnecting to our maker). I do remember having a harder than usual time getting started early morning in Ramadan if I had taken a nap after Fajr and before work-time. That’s a slower than usual start because of a heavy sehri (suhoor) meal followed by a short nap. Tea at sehri wouldn’t have made it any better.

Strong tea is not “karak” tea which is widely available in the UAE. We’ve not named strong tea a name either. In our culture if tea is good we say “chai achee hai” which means tea’s good. This means tea is well brewed, the mix of milk is perfect and so is the amount of sugar in it. This also mandates that tea was brewed over a stove. There are various recipes and you can achieve great results when using teabags with an electric kettle or microwave too. Like anything, there could be a thousand ways to prepare tea.

The purist can disagree and I accept their argument as a defeat because at the bottom of my heart great tea is made over a stove and served in the traditional way using a tea pot and a tea cosy. Throw in some lovely tea cups and saucers and I’m going to want to have tea this way, every day, rather than any other godforsaken way.

Reality is, this isn’t my childhood and this isn’t when we used to visit my grandmother’s home Mubarak Manzil in Karachi where traditionally prepared tea would be served with all bells and whistles. I remember the feeling of seeing a tea cosy for the first time at one of my aunts’ homes – ah – that feeling of true amazement of wanting to uncover the tea pot, only to be told that I was too young to do it and that you would remove the tea cosy only when someone wanted some more tea.

Today, life’s an addiction and my greatest addiction is not tea, it’s computing. I need my day-start tea in less than five minutes, which until recently I was able to prepare in less than 120 seconds (all steps from start to finish) using a mug, a tea bag, a tea spoon of honey (rarely sugar), milk and boiling water from our electric kettle (or on some days using a microwave oven). Yes, it’s tea and it works well. It’s Tea-cup One.

Tea-cup Two is doubly optional and having this depends on two factors. How badly have I tired as I progress during my work day and whether I feel like having a cup of tea early evening. I take a little more time preparing this cup and usually do so before or after praying Asar. I have good quality time this time of the day, so tea at Asar is for pleasure. If I’m not in the mood or the early hours of the evening are waning, my system skips the need for tea. It’s that simple.

‘Tea is good for you’, ‘you must have tea’, ‘a good tea is a must’ are all cultural norms that you may or may not subscribe to – when we have nothing to do as a people, we choose to gather up and have tea, which truly is an amazing thing, at the right times.

So why do I crave for strong tea? It’s just a bug. It’s my wish to double the dose of tea in my tea cup, which for whence I remember I haven’t ever. I have at times, when making tea over a stove used little more tea powder than most would, just to turn the bitterness up a notch or two staying well within the boundaries of the recipe set by our family and friends (yes, friends too advise you on tea in our culture).

Pakistanis know tea by many names like ‘chai’ (brewed tea with sugar and milk added), ‘pakee wi chai’ (tea brewed in milk with sugar, or brewed tea with unusual quantities of sugar and milk), ‘tea-bag wali chai’ (the infamous tea-bag tea when you add boiling water, milk and sugar), ‘saadi chai’ (brewed tea without milk or sugar) and at many times we add ethnicity to the names of teas from various cultures in Pakistan, so its a vast subject and of little interest to me.

Strong tea is simply great chai. It may boost your spirits, lift your haziness, fulfill your day, yet it does very less to solve (if not elevate) our problems (as a nation).

Have it, enjoy it, gather around it and get some great work done.

This watch tells time…

… among other things.

Apple Watch Series 5 with Always-On Retina display.

I have owned an Apple Watch from Series 0 (zero), or the first version of the Apple Watch. It was simply called the Apple Watch then (four years and some months ago).

I bought mine from a listing on eBay.com and had it shipped all the way to the UAE. It was one of those purchases, the call for which, begins deep from within your heart.

What transpired over the two years that followed is one of the most exceptional experiences of my life. My Apple Watch purchase triggered a series of events that resulted in the creation of an online store at jadopado.com that first became a “Trusted Store” and soon achieved a “Super Store” badge on that platform. It’s a story worth telling some day (and I will). Both that store and JadoPado.com are no more.

Early 2019 I gifted my Apple Watch Series 0 (zero) to my dearest friend’s son who loved it and took it up to Turkey on a school-trip with his friends. The young lad has since become an Apple Watch fan and I was delighted to see his 16,000+ step count in a single day on that trip.

My current Apple Watch is a Series 2 Nike that I bought online from Carrefour UAE at an excellent price of AED 799 and later purchased AppleCare+. Series 2 is a fine watch, it’s just not as quick as the later models, nor is it lacking in any major way (but a few unsupported ones).

Apple Watch Series 3 starts at AED 799 from Apple UAE (from 10/09 keynote day) in limited colors (of course). You read that right.

The problem with considering any purchase ‘an excellent price’ today is that it’s bested in some way or the other in six months therefrom.

I picked Series 2 for the simple reason it is water resistant and can be used when making wudu, taking a shower (with some caution) or shallow water activities (like swimming or being at a waterpark). Series 0 (zero) and 1 (one) were splash proof and mine lasted some four years in normal use without a hitch. I also made wudu with it at times.

Series 4 is now Series 5 with one big improvement. It has an always on display aptly named the: Always-On Retina display. This lets you glance at the watch without raising your wrist (but that burned some calories for sure?), something I’d love to try, if not, buy today.

The Always-On Retina display on the new Apple Watch Series 5 will propel Apple Watch sales like never before. The always on display is fantastic and it will be a massive distraction in places like the masjid with some folks glancing at your wrist or when you’re in a dark place and your watch face is eerily always on.

Is this when you buy your first Apple Watch? If you haven’t bought one, I’m not really sure. If you’re not an iPhone user, you can’t really own one for its want of an iPhone. If you own an iPhone, you may be someone who loves watches that aren’t digital. So it depends on well, you.

Series 5 is a compelling purchase for anyone who seriously wants to use technology to assist them in maintaining a healthier than usual lifestyle. You may simply want to buy one to monitor High or Low heart rates since High Heart Rate and Low Heart Rate notifications are supported in the UAE. But then Irregular Rhythm Notifications and ECG and some other features are not supported, thus far.

Series 2 is zippy-enough, so Series 3 from Apple at AED 799 is an excellent purchase. Series 5 offers aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, or ceramic materials and being biased towards stainless steel and ceramic (these two remind me of kitchen utensils), my choice of material is aluminum or titanium.

I absolutely love Apple Watch Hermès Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Single Tour at AED 5,199 (44mm) yet if I have to buy one today, I’ll match up Apple Watch Edition Titanium Case with Sport Loop for AED 3,199 (44mm, GPS + Cellular) with an iPhone 11 Pro Space Gray (256 GB).

BIG GRIN. (no emoji here)

And did you know, the new Apple Watch Series 5 opens portals too?

Open a portal with Apple Watch Series 5!

The opposite of Time

Sleep. It’s the opposite of time. Yet in many ways it’s similar to it. It heals, it’s short lived, you can’t have enough of it, once it’s up it’s never back, it’s a blessing, it’s what we need most and value too little.

And, it’s the only way humanity moves forward.

Can’t wait for Apple Arcade

LEGO Brawls, multiplayer brawler set in the LEGO universe.

I’m intensely excited about Apple Arcade which is Apple’s new and upcoming (19/09) gaming subscription service. I love the price point at AED 19.99/month (or $4.99/mo). A one-month trial is included, which is an excellent way to try the service.

I am not a fan of subscriptions and have cancelled some of mine in recent years (Netflix and Playstation for various reason), yet I feel compelled to try and buy the Apple Arcade subscription, for a few reasons:

a. It’s just 19.99 AED/mo. after a free one-month trial. If you subscribe today, I doubt you’ll be asked to pay a higher amount a couple years down the line.

b. It’s fresh and loaded with absolutely new games – 100+ this fall. I wonder how many would follow.

c. I can play the same game on any Apple device I own! So some of these games will be superb when played on Apple TV with a controller (you can use your Xbox One S or PlayStation 4 controller with an iOS device with iOS 13 coming 19/09).

d. I’ll be less worried about intrusive ads when my kids play games (as a rule we disallow any game that is ad-based and prefer to purchase a paid version if the game is really worth having).

e. My family can enjoy the same subscription, which is fantastic.

The casual, not so worthy of my money way for Apple to go about Apple Arcade would have been to create a subscription 1. based on all the games that were already available in the App Store (expensive or impossible), 2. for some of them (which isn’t ideal because I’d always want a game that isn’t in the subscription) or 3. for classic titles (which by the way is what Xbox and Playstation offer today along with the ability to play online). Apple chose to go about Arcade differently, creating an entirely new service with new games and giving it a riveting price point. I love that feeling of exclusivity.

The only problem I foresee is not having the time to play any game during any month and maintain an unused subscription. My kids can play of course 24.7 if we let them loose on gaming – which hurts their eyes and minds! They’re both allowed 30 minutes of screen time on any given day and a little more on weekends. This being school-season, it’s going to be very hard to justify an Apple Arcade purchase to the mother-ship.

I too, am busier than usual. I try all kinds of free games from the App Store when I have a minute and most of these get deleted 2 to 3 minutes into the game. The only game I prefer playing every day is CnC Rivals on an iPad Pro, three to four games per session. It’s the most I can afford during my work days, and on weekends, I’m rarely geared towards gaming. I simply don’t have the inclination.

So the only way to make this work is for Apple to make sure all games on offer are exceptional in taste and arcade-like never ending thrill-inducing. I hope.

Why is Apple creating services like Apple Arcade (or Apple TV+)? First, they have a growing install based of over 1.4 billion devices which really means a huge percentage of these users can simply become early adopters, while others can join later. Second, most of those 1.4 billion device owners are Apple fans and loyal to the brand. Those adoption rates can simply be insane. If a 100 million Apple users decide to opt for Apple Arcade and pay the small fee of $4.99/month, Apple’s bagged 499 million dollars per month, yes, approximately 5.988 or 6 billion dollars per year. That figure in AED is a staggering 22 billion dirhams and then some.

Apple Arcade is 2019s most exiting Apple (product and) service. Apple TV+ comes close (it’s harder to produce 100+ episodes of anything, so it will get there). iPhone 11 (eleven) is exciting too.

So new iPhones

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max – Apple’s new 2019 iPhones.

By now if you care, you know about the new iPhones launched this week. Om Malik’s event notes are good enough summary of the Apple event.

This year’s iPhones are better, like they are every year, incrementally so, year-on-year. There’s all kinds of comment available on the new iPhones, so where you really stand depends on your circumstances and relative knowledge.

My iPhone 8 is as fast and usable as it was on day one with 83% battery capacity reported by Battery Health giving me Peak Performance Capability which is acceptable two years down the line. The phone isn’t slow, on the contrary, it’s pretty zippy.

The most interesting new iPhone is iPhone 11 (eleven or XI) and looks lovely in white. All the other iPhone 11 colors are lovelier this year (oh the XR!). They have a freshness of air about them. In terms of new features I love the idea of a Slofie and it’s going to be absolute fun. The new dual‑camera system is superb and the main reason for anyone wanting to upgrade. Pro chip, excellent. ‘Just the right amount of everything.’ It is.

The overall iPhone 11 design reminds me of the 3GS, its smooth back cover and intense integrated feel. This isn’t 4, 4S, 5 or 5S territory, it’s a bit of 3GS, 5C, 8 and whole lot of XR. The 11’s back glass with its camera bump is one piece of glass. One piece of glass as in ‘milled from a single sheet of glass’. Incredible.

Then there are Pro models. ‘Pro’ definitely aims at Pro photography and not Pro photographers as such. Pro videographers to some degree. If that’s true, its a phone I really don’t need. I’m not the typical photography guy. I take a couple photos here and there and I’m not shooting anything wild in the range of 4K video. So it’s not for me at all if it’s a shooter aimed at photography. Which it is.

In terms of design the Pros are absolutely 4, 4S, 5 and 5S territory in an X inspired body – dark, distant, dangerous. Simply classy in Midnight Green and Space Gray.

I’m dying to comment on the Pro and Pro Max naming scheme, but I digress, this post celebrates new iPhones, let’s keep it to that.

The only real reason why I need a new iPhone is my eyes strain a little using the smaller screen on my iPhone 8. There are many reasons why I may want a new iPhone, but let’s just not go there.

Price seems right this year for all new iPhones, considering today’s models deliver exceptional new features. The new iPhone 11 is priced at AED 2,949 VAT inclusive at Apple UAE for the 64 GB model. Pro models are cheaper than their predecessors at launch. iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XR are priced lower too.

So new iPhones … life moves on.

PS: You can pre-order your new iPhone in the United Arab Emirates at https://www.apple.com/ae/iphone/ from 4:00 p.m. onwards today (13/09), delivers from 20/09 or thereabouts.