iPhone: How do I use thee? Let me count the ways

This post is a little out of character for me–my posts are all much about very low-tech subjects.  But since this blog is about being astonished and telling about it, I feel compelled to talk about one of the astonishing accomplishments of a person who accomplished his mission of “putting a dent in the universe.”

I, like so many others, have spent time over the past few weeks examining the achievements of Steve Jobs since he died in October.  So many friends of mine talked of actually having cried when he died–it was almost like when John Lennon died.  But Steve Jobs was not a rock star in the literal sense of the word.  In fact he was in many ways what the Occupy protesters are protesting:  the head of a huge corporation that made billions, and who knew instinctively how to make money (one case in point, talking Steve Wozniak into NOT giving away his early technological achievements back when they were both part of the Homebrew Computer Club).

What so many of us actually grieved for was the loss of the person who had such passion for his creations that he changed the lives of each one of us, and that sounds hyperbolic, but it is the truth.  I, for one, found out about his passing on my iPhone, and then used my MacBook to read the news in greater depth.  In a weird way I felt that this very fact connected us as if we were some kind of technological distant cousins.  Uncle Steve was gone.

The inspiration for this post was this:  I was at a job just last week in which a quick snapshot was called for of the notes that were up on the dry-erase board our team was using, so I reached for my iPhone, saying to my client, it seems these days if you a phone, you don’t need anything else.

So, that got me thinking about how true that actually was, based on how I use my iPhone:

  1. 6:00am:  I wake up early to work on a report, using my iPhone’s alarm.  I’ve chosen a soft, soothing ring, like “Harp” because I’m home and if I oversleep, no big deal.  But if I’m on the road and need to get up for an early meeting, it might be “Piano Riff” or “Xylophone”–much ruder, but much less likely for me to sleep over it.  No more calling the hotel desks for a wake-up call.
  2. 7:30am: I’ve worked on my report for an hour and half and now Nessie is looking to go for a walk.  I wonder if I need a hat, so I check the weather app–43 degrees. Iffy.  I grab the hat.
  3. 7:45am:  While I’m on the walk I see a turtle cross the path by the creek, so I take a picture with the camera, upload it to Facebook.  The rest of the time I listen to my iPod:  some music, and a daily Podcast by pray-as-you-go.org.
  4. 7:50am:  Done with the walk, so I check my calendar to see what meetings I have.
  5. 7:55am:  I read the daily Liturgy of the Hours readings on my Universalis app
  6. 8:15am:  I catch up on my finances.  I check in with Mint and input transactions from the day before to my YouNeedABudget app.  Mint reminds me I have a bill to pay today.
  7. 8:45am:  After breakfast and 20 minutes of yoga I log my meal and excercise on my MyFitnessPal app.I really want to get that report done, so I use my TaskTimer app, which is like a stopwatch, which is great for me because I tend to get distracted very easily.  But when I use the TaskTimer, I know I’ve pledged myself to 45 minutes of straight work.  Amazing what you can get done in 45 minutes of concentrated work.
  8. 11:30am:  At lunchtime I’m meeting a friend for lunch at a restaurant I haven’t used before, so I can either use my map app, which came with the iPhone, or I can use the more GPS-like AT&T Navigator.  In this case, because I have to drive and there seem to be a lot of turns, I go with the AT&T Navigator.  On the way, I listen to my iPod.
  9. 12:05pm My friend is a little late, so I read some of my book on my Kindle app.  Surprisingly, it reads very well, considering the screen is so small.  I sync it with my Kindle purchases, and the bookmarks always are in sync.   Or I could play a little Tetris.
  10. 12:10pm Also while I’m waiting, I check my blog stats on my WordPress app.
  11. 12:30pm  At lunch my friend hasn’t seen my kids in a while, so I show her the photos on my phone.  We also talk about the hardships of traveling, so I pull up a really funny comic monologue on travel by comedian Brian Regan on YouTube.
  12. 1:10pm  After lunch, I check my email and voice mail in the car parking lot, and return a couple of urgent emails.  I can tell which ones to ignore–the ones that aren’t identified through my contacts.
  13. 2:00-5:00pm  The rest of the afternoon I spend at my computer doing assorted tasks, taking all my business calls on my iPhone.  Hardly ever use the landline.
  14. 5:30pm  I see a QR code for a magazine article I’m interested in, so I use the code scanner I’ve downloaded and get the article and a coupon to use on a shopping trip.  I save the article to Evernote.
  15. 6:00pm  On the dog’s evening walk, I check out movies on my Redbox app and reserve one for the evening.
  16. 7:00pm  After dinner, we check in with my son, using FaceTime.  (I actually hate FaceTime because I’ve seen myself on the reverse camera feature and it’s a pretty scary sight!  If they could only create an app with a gauze feature to soften those wrinkles).
  17. 10:00pm  And before bed, I want to say a rosary, but I can never remember those darned mysteries, so I pray using my Rosary app.  If only my grammar school principal, Sister Ellen Marie, could see me now!

So there it is:  17 ways to use the iPhone.  I could have added more, but that would have taken me to a different day, and I didn’t want to exaggerate the number of applications my iPhone has in a typical day.

I love it.   A clock, an alarm, a camera, an outdoor thermometer, a stopwatch, a navigator, a music player, a mail server, a breviary/rosary, an address book, a concierge, a filing cabinet, a TV, a movie screen, a motivational tool, a shopping assistant, a financial manager, AND, did I forget to mention, a full-featured telephone:  All this in one elegant pocket-sized package.

And that’s just the applications used in my tiny corner of the world.  Amazing.

How do you use the iPhone in YOUR world?


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