I’m a refugee from the land of the dinosaur phone, where you hit a button three times to get a “C” and four times to get an “S.” You can imagine how my world changed when I got the iPhone. My first discovery was that the onscreen keyboard makes it a lot easier to compose and send e-mail or texts. I love that I can access my three e-mail accounts wherever I am. I no longer have to wait until I get to the office to be on top of the action.
The Google Mobile App (Free; google.com/mobile) is one of my favorites. Got a question? Open the app and speak it into your phone; you get your answer in seconds. If you’re in a noisy place, you can type your question. If you’re looking for directions to a business address, you can have Google Mobile find them for you. The app will access the iPhone’s GPS to find your current location and then give you the directions in the Maps app. All this takes just a couple of seconds. Need a contact phone number for Widgets-R-Us? No problem!
E-mail is now as important to business as the telephone, but instant messaging is also becoming a valuable tool. You don’t have to wait for someone to open up their e-mail to get your message—it pops right up on their computer monitor or phone.
I looked at a number of IM apps and settled on BeeJiveIM ($9.99; beejive.com). When I set up Beejive, it automatically consolidated the contact information from all of my instant messaging services. Now I can IM wherever I am. BeeJiveIM starts up quickly and lets you communicate instantly and easily.
While you’re taking care of business, don’t forget your personal, financial planning. If you’re young, you may think this is unimportant. But take my word on this; it will be very important to you 40 years from now.
The iPhone and iPod touch have a simple feature called Stocks that updates regularly and helps you track the performance of your stock portfolio. There are a number of third-party apps that also do this and provide greater detail. But if you’re just starting out, Stocks is just fine.
The fun stuff!
Interested in sports? Want the latest scores and summaries from your favorite teams? Then check out Sports Tap (Free; sportstap.mobi). It covers football, basketball, baseball, soccer, auto racing, and more. With its recent update, you can now get local sports news as well.
If you’re into sports, the Google app described earlier can be a lifesaver. For example, you and your friend are at a sports bar in a heated discussion about the sixth game of the 1986 World Series. Just pull out your iPhone, ask the question, and settle the argument in a few seconds.
If you live near the beach in Southern California, you may need Surf Report (Free; oakley.com/surfreport). Check out the swell direction, monitor the weather, chart a two–day forecast, and more—all from your iPhone or iPod touch. It comes in handy, even if you don’t surf. It’s still nice to know the size of the swells if you’re swimming, sailing, or want to take a walk on the beach at low tide. Another great free app for general weather information is The Weather Channel (Free; weather.com).
The iPhone helps me with a lot of things. I can use it to check the weather, the market, sports scores, and more. I can stay in touch with friends and business associates with e-mail and instant messaging. I can set up a lunch date and surf the Web. And I can do all of this while I finish my drink at Starbucks.
I’ve left the age of dinosaurs and now enjoy the technology of the 21st century. My world changed when I got my iPhone—it was easy!