Wednesday, December 28, 2011

iPhone Update: Still Getting To Know My Gizmo, But It's True Love

When my very first iPhone arrived around December 8, it took me a couple days to activate "Snickey," knowing that once he was reality, there was no turning back to my previous dim-witted smartphone. Of course, it's not like anyone actually reads an instructions manual, but since the 4S doesn't come with one, it's all left pretty much to intuition. I felt trepidation...

And boy, has it been a stop-and-start process, with some real dumbass gaffes along the way. But sure enough, day by day, app by app, Snickey and I are falling in love. There's no doubt—as any iPhone owner knows—it's a match made in tech heaven... but the learning curve is a little more testy than I anticipated.

For example, it took three days to figure out where the hell my voicemail could be accessed. On another occasion, I took my digital voice recorder to conduct a face-to-face interview with pal Tinatin... and she gave me a "poor little darling" look, as she showed me the kickass Voice Memo app that comes standard on an iPhone...

Or the time I took my point-and-shoot digital camera to an event and was asked why I wasn't utilizing the iPhone camera instead. The response: Uh, duh, I forgot.

But bit by bit, just like all of us, the iPhone is so thankfully ubiquitous that everyone I know trades fave apps and tips. Friend Dennis informed me that two clicks of the main menu button shows what apps are open: If you don't close them from time to time, they all remain open, draining battery life. Even Tinatin didn't know about that one.

And of course, the 4S' Siri is straight from The Jetsons, capable of sending texts by simply saying them aloud (though, irritatingly, sans punctuation), while she's helped me find any number of destinations... with limitations. Last week, I attempted time and again to ask Siri where I could locate the nearest U.S. Post Office in the city: She simply could not figure out "U.S Post Office, USPS, post office" or "nearest postal office." Then again, someone asked me, "Why didn't you just say, 'Where can I mail a letter?'" Whoops.

Tonight, I truly realized the miraculous possibilities of this space-age gizmo in my hand, when I was able to deposit a check to Chase Bank by simply accessing the Chase app, following simple directions to take pics of the front & back of the check and verify my account number. ATMs used to be pretty damn cool; now, who needs them anymore?

Three weeks in, I have some 40 apps, including:
* Shazam: recognizes songs heard in public simply by syncing app. Beloved and effective.
* HopStop, NYC Subway: great apps for figuring out how to get where you're going sans drama.
* Chase.com, Mint.com: unbelievable flexibility for scanning checks, checking balances, transferring funds, while mint.com is the ultimate budgeting tool, aligning all accounts and credit cards in one place.
* Dragon Dictation: Talk and it converts to words. No more annoying transcribing.
* IdolsNow: My pal Fred Bronson's app that offers all goings on with top American Idol finalists. Absolutely consummate among fans.
* Vonage Extensions: As a Vonage subscriber, allows me to make international calls free from my iPhone. Rockin'!
* AroundMe: Intuitively searches out popular destinations based on your whereabouts.
* Carbonite: My Mac laptop is backed up virtually via Carbonite. I can access every iota of hard drive content  on my iPhone via its app.
* Dropbox: Increasingly popular way to share info, photos, documents with other users (and yourself), instead of emailing or YouSendIt.
*Boost Magic: Battery running low? Plug in and this provides a quick jolt without having to wait for a full charge.
* Flashlight: Genius little app that lights up everything around you. Perfect when you're walking through a dark alley or drop a quarter under the table.
* Clock Free: A fabulous alarm clock app that wakes you with either a gentle tone or your choice of hundreds of internet radio stations. Absolutely wonderful... and free.

And I have a feeling this is just the beginning... iYee-iHaw! *