First Report on Using the iPhone
June 3, 2009 9 Comments
Today I received a comment at a different post asking what I think about the iPhone now that I’ve been using it for a few weeks. Here’s my reply.
Almost daily I’m amazed by the iPhone. I never used a cell phone for email before owning an iPhone. It’s a breeze. Text messaging has a cool and pleasing look, and message history person-to-person stays in your stream until you clear it (like Apple Chat application). (Unlimited text messaging with AT&T costs $5 a month.) The Safari browser is incredibly stable and quick, using the network options on the iPhone. And, of course, there’s the ease of syncing iPhone apps and their databases with their corresponding apps on my Apple laptop.
The truly remarkable thing about the iPhone is its power to run applications designed for virtually every purpose. As one of my colleagues told me after I flipped for the iPhone, “iPhone users size each other up based on the applications they have downloaded to their iPhones.” I’ve discovered there’s a little (sometimes large) community of enthusiasts for specific applications. It’s like you join a club and make new friends simply for having such a little thing in common. And I have to admit, it’s pretty satisfying when, (a) you ask someone if they have some application, A, and they say no, then (b) they watch your quick demo of A on your phone and confirm the “Wow!” factor with their own exclamations, and (c) they start searching to download A on their own iPhones. Yep. I’ve had this happen. Always makes me feel my app choice was “right.”
Speaking of apps, here are the ones I have on my phone as of this moment:
(1) First screen (left to right, top to bottom): Things, iCal (standard), Google Calendar, Camera (standard), Settings (standard), TripCase, Packing, Maps (standard), Clock (standard), Stocks, Weather (standard), Quickvoice, Text (standard), iTunes (standard), Notes (standard), WunderRadio
(2) Screen two: SplashID, Calculator (standard), Corkboard (standard), iTweet 2, Photos (standard), Fast Web, App Store (standard), AppSniper, link to home page on my laptop browser, Pandora, AOL Radio, Contacts (standard), iFitness, Fandango
(3) Screen three: iPhoneHome, iLounge, iPhoneApplication List, iPhone Widget List, Widgeteria, Wordress link, PocketExpress
(4) Screen four: White Pages, Yellow Pages, IMDb link, iCafe, iPhone Freak, WOWIO, Tor.com, Memoware, WebScription, Biola Portal link, Night Stand, YouTube (standard)
(5) Screen five: Alarm System, Equate, Quip, Eye Security, KitchenCafe, iRuler, Google Earth
(6) Screen six: Stanza, WordBook, WordBreaker, Dictionary, eReader, Classics, 3000Facts, History
(7) Screen seven: Travel, Urbanspoon, Park Maps
(8) Screen eight: iTakeCredit, Daily Finance
(9) Screen nine: FlightControl
Many of these “apps” are links to online services or web pages, which are launched when you select the app. Notice that I have nine screens. The first screen utilizes all the screen space available, with the maximum of 16 apps visible (four across and four down). Other screens show fewer apps. This is because I’ve organized my apps into broad categories or themes, and separated them by placing them on screens by theme. I discovered this possibility quite by accident. But it’s very handy. (There’s lots about the power and versatility of the iPhone that you learn simply through use. I’ve also perused three or four books devoted to iPhone use and discovered a handful of useful tips I probably wouldn’t know about otherwise. For example, holding down the caps key—a metaphor for keeping your finger on the shift “key” on the keypad—and sliding it to a letter of the alphabet capitalizes the letter. This is convenient when you want to cap a word in the middle of some text, for instance. Simple trick, but very handy.)
Some of the apps are iPhone versions of applications I’ve been using consistently on my laptop (Things and Splash ID, for example). I haven’t used all of the apps I’ve listed. The ones I use the most are: everything on the first screen plus Splash ID, Fast Web, App Store, AppSniper, Fandango (used it last night to find a movie and location while on the road), and FlightControl.
FlightControl is the only game app I mess with. You get addicted to landing airplanes and helicopters. I enjoy recommending this one to people (especially guys) because they have all liked it so much. I’ve found that if there’s someone in a small group who isn’t interacting and looks bored, I can launch this app, hand it to them, and watch them come to life.
It’s easy to move apps around onscreen and from screen to screen. So in recent days I’ve had two travel-related apps on the home screen: TripCase and Packing. This is because I have a trip to St. Louis this weekend. When I return home, I’ll move these apps to the screen reserved for travel apps. TripCase stores my flight itinerary and tracks any changes in flight schedule, keeps me posted, and sends the same information to designated “followers” (e.g., anyone meeting me at the airport). TripCase has other features I’m not using for this trip. Packing is a database app that keeps a master packing list arranged in categories, and any specialized packing lists I create for specific trips or kinds of travel. I’ve created a packing list for St. Louis, so that everything I take with me is included. I’ve kept list like this on my laptop until now. This app puts everything at much more convenient disposal. And I’ve often wished I had a list I could consult before returning home to make sure I don’t leave anything behind.
I haven’t actually used FastWeb so much yet. But it speeds of web surfing on the iPhone without launching Safari. Fandando speaks for itself. AppSniper is great for tracking applications you have discovered but haven’t purchased, and for being notified when the price on those apps is lowered.
Every phone is fully customized by the configuration of apps.
Are you convinced yet?
Thanks, Tim, for asking the question that prompted this post!