People often look at me with a blank stare when I start talking about the iPhone. Most are too polite to say it, but I can hear them thinking out loud, “what is the big deal, it’s just a phone”, or “I can’t believe anyone would spend that much money on a phone, don’t they give those things away?”
There ususally isn’t enough time to show them all the things I do with my iPhone everyday, so I thought this week’s blog would be a good place to provide some real-life examples of how the iPhone helps me with my daily life. And hopefully after reading this post, you will realize what I have learned – the iPhone is not just a smart phone. It really is a very compact, always connected, personal computer and media player that you can carry in your pocket.
So here it is – a typical day with my iPhone . . .
6 am – iPhone is removed from its docking cradle from which it has received an overnight battery charge and synched its email settings, contacts, calendar, Safari bookmarks, music, photos, podcasts, ringtones, home movies, and Survivor TV episode. A new synch, care of Agile Web Solutions, maker of the awesome 1Passwd application, even synchs my web forms, wallet, secure notes, identities and passwords from my iMac. (as of this post, 1passwd for the iPhone is still in beta and needs some kinks worked out, but the guys at Agile are making great progress.)
6:45 am – The iPhone is placed in its ProClip custom cradle on the dash of my Honda Insight ready for the 40 minute commute to work. This cradle holds my iPhone inches away from my steering wheel making finger gestures with one finger possible without removing my hands from the steering wheel. I plug a cable from my receiver into the iPhone’s headphone jack so I can listen through the car’s stereo system. I use an inexpensive RCA to mini jack from Radio Shack with a 3.5mm audio extension cable adapter from Radtech for the iPhone’s recessed headphone jack.
As I depart, the iPhone switches from my home wifi network to Edge. I tap on Calendar to view any upcoming events on my personal calendar. Then I tap Weather and view the current temperature and five-day forcast. I quickly tap Maps and use a bookmark to my commuting route to check the traffic report. I plan another route after seeing red (traffic moving less that 25mph) on my original route and the iPhone has saved me frustration and 15 minutes of sitting in traffic.
As I enter the main road out of town, I tap iPod and then tap on Podcasts and select the next podcast to listen to, on the way in to work. As I listen to the Podcast, I occassionally tap back on Maps to check for any traffic changes in my commute. This occurs without any pause to the podcast I am listening to – true multitasking.
7:00 am – The iPhone’s alarm rings reminding me to call my wife and wake her for a special commitment she has for the day. After dismissing the alarm that I had set at her request the night before, I double-click the home button bringing up the favorites screen on the Phone application. I touch her name and am connected to her for the wake up call. While on the phone with her, she asks what the weather is for the day. I tap the home button, and then Weather, to review the current temperature and forecast with her.
7:40 am – I arrive at the parking garage and after parking the car, I tap on Safari and the bookmark to the KJV Bible. After a couple of taps, I read the scripture mentioned on the podcast I was listening to on my commute. The iPhone alerts that new mail has arrived, so I tap on Mail and scan the subjects before leaving my car. These messages can wait until I get to my desk. I move the iPhone to my Case-Mate holster on my belt and make the five minute walk to my office.
7:45 am – During my walk to the office, the iPhone alerts again, this time it is a calendar reminder for a report that is due today. I read and then dismiss the alert, glad to be reminded because I would have forgotten that it was due today. As I enter my office, the iPhone switches from Edge to my office wifi network.
7:50 am – At my desk now, I remove the iPhone from its holster and place it beside my computer and plug it into its ac-to-usb adapter. (the standard fare that comes with the iPhone) I click on iPod and select some classical music to listen to as I start my day.
8:30 am – While doing some budget planning I need to make some quick calculations. I could use the calculator on the PC, but that would mean switching away from the worksheet I am working on, so instead I tap the iPhone’s Calculator and use it to do the preliminary math.
8:40 am – The iPhone alerts with an SMS message. I tap on View Message and am reminded of my 9am meeting in the Purchasing office. I’ve setup my corporate email system to send appointment alarms to my iPhone’s email address generating an SMS message that provides the time, location and details for the appointment. (iPhone’s email address is ##########@cingularme.com, where the pound signs represent your iPhone cell phone number)
8:55 am – I remove the usb cable from the iPhone and return it to its holster on my belt and depart for my meeting. Halfway to the meeting, I need to make sure of the location so I tap SMS and bring up the appointment alert and am satisfied that I am heading to the correct location.
9:00 am – I set the iPhone on vibrate mode as the meeting starts. A few minutes into the meeting, the iPhone vibrates once, indicating new mail has arrived. I set the iPhone on my planner and while listening as the meeting progresses tap Mail and glance down at the subject and text of the message that has just arrived in my inbox. This is a phone message from my office. A vendor I need to talk with has just called the office. I excuse myself from the meeting and click on the phone number in the email message sent by my office and the iPhone offers to call the number. I accept, and quickly connect with the vendor I have been trying to reach. Had I waited until after the meeting, I may have missed him again.
9:30 am – I have moved back to my office for an appointment with my office coordinator. As we start the meeting, I tap on Notes and then on her name. This note contains things we need to discuss which I have been collecting in the notes application since our last meeting.
9:45 am – During our meeting, we need a phone number for a local meeting place. Again I could use the PC, but that would mean opening the browser, visiting Google, etc. etc. Instead, I tap on Maps on the iPhone, type in the name of the location and up pops the contact number which I provide to the meeting coordinator. She is amazed as she has been trying to get a working contact number since yesterday.
10 am – Working on a presentation at my desk, I need some photographs of a time management page from my planner and a picture of the volumes on my office bookshelf. I remember that I can use the camera in my iPhone. I tap Camera, take the shots and then email the two shots from the camera roll to myself. A moment later the two pics arrive and I easily move them into my presentation slides.
11 am – I am at another meeting and need a coworkers phone extension. While I don’t keep everyone’s contact information in my address book, I’ve saved an email message with a current contact list attached in an Excel worksheet. I tap on Mail and switch to the documents folder, (where I keep mail with attachments I may need), and open the worksheet right on the iPhone. This is a list of over a hundred employees extensions and pagers. I locate the employee and make the call to their office.
11:30 am – As the meeting wraps up, a coworker asks about my grandkids. I grab my iPhone, tap Photos and show off some recent photos. (The last 12 months of photos I have imported into iPhoto on my Mac are automatically synched every night and always up to date.)
12:00 noon – As I take a short lunch break, I tap on Safari and then on bookmarks to take a quick look at a couple of blogs on my iPhone. Since they are bookmarked on my iPhone and formatted for the small screen, I actually prefer reading them on the iPhone, even though I have a large screen at my desktop workstation.
12:20 pm – My manager calls on the phone, and while she begins talking, I quickly tap on Notes and then her name. After answering her question, we discuss some issues I’ve been collecting in her notes. (I keep a notes page on everyone that I meet with on a routine basis, so I use our time wisely whenever we meet, or happen to speak on the phone)
1:00 pm – My daughter calls and asks for some directions. I quickly tap on Maps and enter the origin and destination, and provide her with directions and the estimated time for the trip.
1:30 pm – I have a presentation to give at a clinic I haven’t visited before. As I get ready to depart, I tap Mail and open the message I had received a week ago containing the contact information and address. I tap Maps and enter the address and learn that the trip will take about 15 minutes. Upon arrival, I check the email again to locate the contact name so I can ask for them by name at the front desk.
2:00 pm – An associate asks about the availability of a wireless network in the area. I use the iPhone to check by tapping on Settings and locate a public network. I provide the name of the open network for them to use with their laptop.
4:00 pm – Before leaving for home, I need gas, so I tap on Safari and then on my Cheap Gas bookmark. I enter the zipcode for the area I am in and up comes a list of stations with low prices. I’m in luck, there is a station with a great price right up the road.
4:00 pm – My iPhone alarm sounds and displays “Time to go home”, which gets me away from my focus at the PC and ready to leave for the day. Before the iPhone, my Office Coordinator would have to remind me that it was time to leave or I would be leaving late everyday.
4:10 pm – As I get ready to depart for home, I place the iPhone back in its custom cradle in the car and plug in the ear buds (standard fare included with iPhone) for the trip home as I will usually make or receive at least one call. I again tap on Maps to check traffic, and then tap on iPod to start listening to the next Podcast. As I depart the garage, I double-click the home button to activate the Phone application and view favorites, clicking my wife’s name to place a call to home. The podcast pauses and I am connected. My wife asks me to pick up some bread on the way home, so after finishing her call, I click on Contacts and P to locate the number to Panera Bread. I call the store to reserve some of our favorite Asiago Cheese bread! When I finish the call, my Podcast automatically resumes where it left off.
5:00 pm – While picking up the bread the iPhone alerts indicating that a new email message has arrived. I tap on Mail and see that the training manual I’ve been waiting for has arrived in the office. I don’t need to respond, but feel better knowing that the urgent issue has been handled.
5:15 – I decide to stop by the barber shop on the way home for a quick haircut. While waiting my turn, I tap on iPod and Video to view a TV episode of Survivor, keeping me entertained while waiting.
5:45 pm – After arriving home, I quickly change as steaks are waiting for the grill. Since I’ll be keeping a close eye on the steaks, I take my iPhone out on the deck with me so I can get up-to-date on the news of the day while cooking. I tap on Clock, then stopwatch and start for the first three minutes of cooking. When three minutes has passed, I click on lap and lower the heat. Just eight more minutes for perfect steaks. While waiting, I tap on Safari and then on a bookmark where I can view scrolling headlines as well as the major Times’, Wallstreet Journal and USA Today, all specially formatted for the iPhone by iActu.
7:00 pm – While out shopping, I spy a UPS unit that I’ve been meaning to purchase to keep our VOIP and Internet going during a power failure. But I’m not sure the price is the best I can find. While in the store and looking at the product, I tap on Safari and then use my bookmark for Cheap Products to check the product’s price at Amazon and other Internet outlets. The price at the club where I am shopping is actually $50 less than at Amazon, so I go ahead with the purchase. Had I waited to check prices and purchase on my next trip, it may not have been available.
7:10 pm – My wife and I discuss a song I heard on TV the night before. While most of my the music I have in iTunes and synched to my iPhone consists of over 900 songs imported from my own CDs or vinyl, this song is not something that I have. While she is shopping, I tap iTunes and then search for the song and make the purchase. (I had located an unprotected wifi connection in a local business in order to use the iTunes feature.) By the time she returns to the car, I have downloaded the song and we are listening to it right from the iPhone. The next time I synch with my Mac, the song will be added to my iTunes music folder.
7:20 pm – My wife wants me to check and see if her father is online and to send him a chat message if he is online. I tap on Safari and click on the bookmark for Bee Jive’s chat application formatted for iPhone. Instantly my buddy list comes up and I see that he is not online. However, if he had been, I could have chatted right from the iPhone to his computer.
7:30 pm – The windows are open at home and we are worried that a storm may be coming. I tap on Safari and the bookmark for Accuweather Radar, specially formatted for iPhone and saved with my zipcode, and note that the storm has passed our house. No need to hurry home.
7:40 pm – My wife is looking for an email message with some information she wants for a purchase while out shopping. Since I don’t synch her email to my iPhone (way too much mail for me) I tap on Safari and use my SoonR bookmark to connect to her Mac back at home and look at her email inbox. Message hasn’t arrived yet. (The SoonR application can be used to browse any PC that has the SoonR agent installed and can be used to view and search documents, email and photos. I have connections to both my wife’s and my iMac’s and have access to the files on each workstation from anywhere with my iPhone.)
8:00 pm – Still out shopping, I am browsing a book at my local book seller. While not intending to purchase the book at this time, I do want to save the name of the book for a possible future purchase at Amazon. I tap on Notes and open my “Books of Interest” note and add the title of the book. I also want to check out a website that was mentioned in the book, so right there in the store, I tap Safari and enter the URL for the site. The author has a pdf on the site that I would like to use in a project at work, so I download and review the pdf right on my iPhone. Then I tap on Share to send the link to my work email address so it is waiting for me when I return to work.
8:30 pm – What about that new TV series, does it start tonight? I tap on Safari and then on my TV Forecast bookmark and view my customized listing of TV shows. Yes, “The Unit” is a new episode tonight at 9pm, so we need to get home to tune in.
8:35 pm – On the way back home, I tap iPod and play some of the tunes i’ve been repurposing from my old vinyl LP’s and we smile at hearing the old sounds. (I’ve been using a hook up directly from my preamp to the iMac and use Amadeus II to record, edit and import our favorites into iTunes for synching.)
9:00 pm – Back home now its time for some fun. While watching “The Unit”, I play some hangman, solitaire and yahtsee, all specially formatted for the iPhone, during the commercials. Perhaps in the next post, I’ll provide a list of my favorite games for the iPhone.
10:00 pm – it’s getting late, so I finally return the iPhone to its dock for a recharge and synch for another day. I sleep easier knowing that my iPhone will be ready to start a new day even before I am.
. . . The iPhone really has become essential to my business and personal life. John