productivity tools

My iPhone – One of my best productivity tools

By May 4, 2009 6 Comments


I got my iPhone 3G just a few months ago.  I am not sure how I lived without it. You can read the tech specs here.

I’m serious. I have been a PC user all my life. I am now considering that maybe my next computer ought to be a Macbook.

My first smart phone was the HTC 8525. But the limited memory and the instability of the Windows OS made it painful to use over time. I keep too many contact records and my habit of adding pictures to the Outlook contact record and then syncing my contacts to the phone just overwhelmed the memory and caused the device to lock up.

See my post on having pictures in your phone (Can you remember everyone you meet?); what a boon to an overtaxed memory (mine that is:)!

So now, let me count the ways that an iPhone makes me more productive:

1. Email – ok, you can do this on a Windows mobile phone, but not as seamlessly as iTunes makes it!

2. My Calendar – same comment as #1.

3. My Contacts – again, #1, but better, seamlessly integrated with the phone. Tap the number in the contact record and it dials for you.

4. ToDo’s: #1 yet again, although to be fair, not built-in, an add-on application. Many to choose from. I’ll admit to one frustration here because I have become spoiled. I use TouchToDo and although it integrates with Contacts seamlessly, it does not automatically dial the phone as in #3 above. On the plus side, it implements a light version of  David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology  and syncs with Google’s calendar. Read a more complete review here.

5. The weather – very easy to retrieve with the built-in app, or the free Weather Channel app. Road warriors need this.

6. Apps for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today – pick your favorite – right at your finger tips. And the ability to email an article to a client or prospect right when the notion strikes you.

7. Social Media updating wherever you are. I have apps for LinkedIn, Facebook, Tweetie, for Twitter, and MotherFeed, for FriendFeed. I also use NetNewsWire for following my favorite podcast or vidcasts. I also have a WordPress app so that I can approve comments on my blog on the road. This may not be your cup of tea, but if it is, you can’t beat it. If you are on the road and caught in a traffic jam. Do something useful (ok, at least something you enjoy:)

8. A combination regular and business function calculator.

9. The Internet at my finger tips. Truly. Big screen and a browser, Safari, that is superb. Tap the screen on one column in the Wall Street Journal and it expands that column to fill the screen and make it eminently readable. Also Wikiamo, an app for reading Wikipedia, beautifully formatted.

Then we get to the sexy applications.

10.  My newest favorite (did I mention free?) app is AroundMe. Since the iPhone has GPS, I am able to just tap on coffee, gas stations, hotels, banks, restaurants, etc and it tells me where the nearest ones are and then uses Google Maps (a built-in app) to give me directions. How great is that for a road warrior? Special thanks to Allen Weintraub for telling me about this app.

11. SnapTell uses the built in camera to take a picture of a business book you see on a client’s desk and then pattern matches it to identify it and report where you can buy it online or where the nearest actual store is that stocks it.

12. Google Talk uses the phone to do voice input, location-based searches. Say “pizza delivery” and it will give you the appropriate answer for where you are at the moment.

I can go on and I know I am sounding like the iPhone ads on TV, but seriously, this phone has allowed me to leave my laptop behind unless I am going to do hard core Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

Some favorite personal apps of mine include: Shazam for listening to songs on the radio and identifying the artist and allowing me to buy it in ITunes if I want. Urbanspoon for choosing restaurants by cusine, location and price. Flixster for getting local movie listings. What’s On for TV listings. Yelp for reviews. Public Radio to stream live radio from my home broadcast area to anywhere I am worldwide. Apps for PayPal, eBay, Craiglist, and Amazon. Amazon’s Kindle application in case I didn’t bring my Kindle with me on a business trip. YouTube videos which I could never play on my Windows Mobile phone. Oh, and I was able to stop carrying a separate MP3 player for my audio books because of the built-in iPod.

By the way, 95% of these apps were free and the two or three I purchased were $.99.

I have resisted downloading whole movies but you can with 16GB of memory.

What are your favorite apps? Business or personal.

Photo credit: Johan Larsson

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