The most useful features of the Iphone, are its productivity and personal information management tools. Some of the ones that come with the phone, are fine (in fact there all fine really) but some of them have been superseded with more advanced and modern tools written by 3rd party developers.
I have been working with the Iphone now for 6 months, and thought I would write down my own recommendations.
1. Contact Manager. The one that comes with the phone, is fine. There are a lot more powerful ones out there, but I just dont need their elaborate features. I did try a clone of the iphone contact manager, that showed pictures in the list (forget the name) but it didn’t have texting direct from the the contact list, so I dropped it.
2. Calendar. Ive replaced the standard one, with SaiSuke it has much more advanced scheduling, and synchronizes seamlessly with Google Calendar. This is pretty important, as when I’m planning at home, it can be useful to use a full sized screen. You can also use different colour for different appointments, and whole host of other things.
3. To do list/Notebook. The Iphone is supplied with a simple notebook, designed for note taking and writing down to do lists. I use these features very heavily, so have actually replaced this with 2 independent apps.
Todo by appigo. Syncs with Toodledo (for full screen work) has a wealth of prioritisation, scheduling and categorization features. In the end, how much is recording a good idea worth to you. To me, they are priceless.
Notebooks by Alfons Schmid. Its easy to create new documents and open previously created ones. It supports landscape typing and is invaluable on long train journeys (most of this blog, was typed out in it, before being transferred to the Internet). It doesnt really “sync” as such, I just email the documents to myself when there finished.
4. Email. The standard mail client would be fine, but I’m a keen hotmail user, and I found that mBox Mail offers full synchronization of contacts and folders. It also allows me to type emails (some of which are quite long) in landscape format. It has multiple mail signatures for business and personal and allows photos to be taken and emailed from within the app.
5.SMS/Texting tool. If its after 6pm, and and work related, don’t bother with email, the person your contacting, will be in their car, on a train, in the pub etc. Send a text. The one that comes shipped with the Iphone, shows the history of the SMS “conversation”. Its the best on the market.
Its been (embarrassingly) pointed out to me, that back when I was a keen windows mobile user, I was critical of the Iphone. Thats not my memory of it at all. I still believe that certain smart phones are far more powerful (in terms of technology) than the IPhone.
The point I made (and still believe) is that that IPhone, does much more, with much less, thanks to the practical and commonsense design of its user interface.
In interesting article I was reading about the Oldest journalism school in America makes Iphone a requirement. I also saw this fantastic article about the 10 best and worst Iphone apps. The good apps are fantastic, and the bad ones are hilarious (especially the one that you can use to practice kissing !).
A program I absolutely swear by, is simply called remote. The basic idea, is that you launch I tunes on your PC and the Iphone will show you all your play lists and songs on the the handset, when you select them, the songs play on the computer, through speakers. Doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but I like to lie on my bed and play loads of different music, and it just saves me from having to keep walking back to the computer. And its free.
A few people (including my friend Makala) are keen on using near to me. The basic idea, is that you launch the program and it gives you lists of things like taxis, restaurants, bars and police stations, which are near to where you are. I think the program is pretty good, but it has 1 small problem, that isn’t mentioned in its advertising.
It basically looks at where you are, finds the center of that town and then provides directions from there (rather than where you are actually sitting). In one example here in Chester, it listed the Frog and Nightingale, as a nice bar near the Canal, approxomately 580 metres away.
Problem is, we were actually sat in the Frog and Nightingale at the time. The Chester Cross is considered to be in the exact center of Chester, and its from here, that the program was doing its calculations.