iPod, iPhone, iWork, iBlog, i i i...

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...I guess advertising works.  I certainly didn't need an iPhone.  A coworker had one, and, sure it look looked spiffy and simple to use, but a phone is a phone is a phone (and a camera).  An extra iPhone$30 a month for a data plan was certainly not in the budget.  And I already had a perfectly good Razor.

So maybe it's those commercials.  Apple seems to have done almost everything well through their history (Microsoft's existence to the contrary), and as I watched "app" after "app" being demonstrated... yeah, I was weak.

I've had the iPhone for about 4 months, which, for other cell phones, is more than enough time to get used to it.  After all, by the time you figure out how to enter people's names and phone numbers, all that is left is find the alarm clock option.  But with the iPhone, the graphical user interface simplifies things greatly.  The problem is that you can litter your phone with so many of these little graphics, and each demands to be interfaced.

Certainly, it's easy to use.  The default applications work well and meet the majority of most needs - phone, pictures, weather, clock (includes alarm!), notes, contact list, etc.  But their slogan of "There's an app for that" has turned out to be the biggest adjustment.  The iPhone doesn't rule my life, but I've found it conveniently handy time and again. 

Ever have a question at dinner that otherwise would just pass, never to be resolved?  A star in a movie? The capital of North Dakota? The odd emblem on Tiger Woods' hat?  The answers are there at your fingertips, wherever you are.

Such as in Las Vegas.  Somehow or another, the protective filter over my camera lens got lost, and I needed a new one.  Where doyelp I find a camera store?  Yelp to the rescue - searching by "camera," it presented various stores by distance from my present location. Some of these were just for photo processing (which seems almost an anachronism).  But finding what appears to be a real camera store, I press against the listing with the tip of my finger and, in a very short time, and I'm looking at a steet map with a blue pin where I am and a red pin where I want to go.  And my pin moves with me as I travel.

One default application that caught my interest in the commercials is Shazam.  Ever wonder what that song is that you're hearing?  Shazam "listens" to the music, then tells you.  I tried this as I was playing a “deep cut” on a Paul McCartney disc – “Famous Groupies” – shazama song which would likely never be aired… no problem.   Later I was demonstrating it to my father-in-law and gave it a far greater challenge, and again it scored with the oh so tremendously popular “Clarinet Concerto in A (liadagio, opening)”.  But it was right.  Other songs it has identified include “Pirate Love” by Johnny Thunders, “Vibration” by The Congos, and “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon.  It does struggle with some live recordings, but overall, this app gets an “A.”

One thing I hate is the bias in the local news.  With the iPhone, I can now read bias from other locations!  USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, (London) Telegraph, LA Times, Associated Press... and I'm sure there are others.  These obviously don't include all the content of the papers, but it's more than sufficient, and all of them are free.

For sports information, there is, appropriately, goodsportacular competition.  I really don't want (or need) more than one source, and Sportacular was the first one I found that worked well and logically.  However, ESPN lately entered the contest and has the muscle of some of their "newsline" content.  Another revision or two in their sorting options, and it could emerge as the winner.  An honorable mention, which speaks to the potential of an application for literally everything, was one specific to the Masters golf tournament, from which I could access the leaderboard and watch live video (with sophisticated narration, of course) from two holes.

There are ample reference applications also - Wikipanion, Google, Flixter (theaters and movie listings near your current location), Google Earth (ever wonder what Pyongyang, North Korea looks like from above? Just zoom in! Sure you can do this at home, but the iPhone is perfect for all those moments when you have a few minutes to kill.)  Add ebay, amazon, and others, and each is basically a "shortcut" application so you don't have to first load the included Safari browser and then "surf" to that site.  But they are tailored for iPhone use, which makes them easier to use.

Certainly, not all applications are good - many are actually very bad.  Beer Brands is one such debacle.  It has a lot of brands included, plus their brewery locations.  But that's about it.  It would be handy to check which ones you've tried before, make notes on them, assign personal ratings, or develop a favorites list.  In time...

Next up:  Photography and graphic options.

1 comment :

  1. Shazam is just fantastic. I think I have spent more money in the lawst 12 months thanks to it than I have spent on buying music! It has its limitations, but it works well enough.