This isn’t some kind of virus alarm but it’s still a big dork deal. Especially if you’re a massive tool like I am. Apple released the latest version of the iPhone’s software today and it contains a ton of cool new – and useful – features that you don’t have to buy the new iPhone (released tomorrow) in order to get.
When I read all of the new phone’s features earlier this week, having just purchased the current one a little over a months ago, buyer’s remorse immediately set in. “Damn it – I should have waited.” As my local copy of iTunes automatically began downloading the 230 MB update a few minutes ago, that remorse was replaced with joy. A window popped up listing what was new in the update for current iPhone owners. I quickly realized nearly all of the new features I bemoaned not waiting to purchase so I could enjoy are included in this very software update for current and older models. Well raise my rent!
Here are the additions I’m particularly interested in adding to my productivity/silliness arsenal, and you can click through to a full list as there are many more I don’t give a fig about.
Cut, Copy & Paste with shake to undo Not being able to copy and paste has been a real headache for me. This is at the top of my “thank fuck” list. The shake option will also be perfect for days when you long for your old Etch-o-Sketch.
Landscape keyboard in key applications I have large frigging fingers. Enough said. Thank heavens for this addition.
Enhanced Messages application – Send and receive photos, contacts, audio files, and location via MMS. I gotta tell you, it was weird to shell out for the iPhone and not be able to do simple things like take a picture and text it to a friend like you’d been able to do for years with regular cell phones.
– Forward and delete single or multiple messages Don’t you miss having texts forwarded to you by friends writing to other friends “in confidence”? Or drunkenly forwarding something personal to the wrong person? Happy days are here again.
Spotlight search across iPhone
This new tool allows you to search Mail, Contacts Calendar, Notes and iPod tracks simultaneously. I can’t yet envision how this may be useful, unless you’re a big fan of Elvis Costello and he also owes you money, but I’m willing to fiddle around and find out.
The Best New 3G iPhone Apps.
There you have it, and my list doesn’t mention about 100 brand new applications, also being launched today, which take advantage of the more technical upgrades. Personally, I can’t wait for iShitPants (see the video). If you’re an iPhone owner – get updating.
In an attempt to better utilize my new Apple-flavored device for work-related tasks, I am attempting to transfer my email universe completely out of Outlook and into Gmail/Calendar. Last night I installed Remember the Milk on the phone and also added plugins for it to Gmail and GCalendar. This quad-fecta should conceivably connect my task list, calendar, email addresses, phone numbers, email accounts and all in a mobile-friendly manner.
There is, however, a problem. I’ve been using Outlook for over a decade and I’m having a really hard time envisioning GMail ever having the fanatical level of organization that I’m used to and require – lest I lose the plot, tear off my shirt and go sit at the end of my dock for the rest of the business day.
There are no folders. Filters can replace Outlook rules, but there are no folders to sort mail into. I don’t like the way the conversation threads have the most recent emails at the bottom of the page. Having all 7 of my frequently used email accounts aggregated into GMail should be convenient – but I don’t like having it all bundled together on the same screen – even with GMail’s “labels” attached to each separate account. Am I doomed to return to Microsoft’s diabolical fold? I’ve attempted similar transformations in the past.
Here’s what I’d like. Nay – what I’d love. Share your systems. We all have one. Especially if you use GMail. Share your personal processes and workflows here in the comments and list any online or application based tools you depend on to get the job done. How does everything talk to each other? Phone syncs? IMAP? POP? Let’s get it all out on the table. I’ll get the ball rolling with some specific items to address:
What do you use for email?
How do you manage your contact list?
To what extent is your mobile device part of your workflow?
What do you use for a calendar?
Have you modified any of the above with plugins or addons?
Take it from there, if you dare. You’ll feel better, I’ll blatantly steal your best ideas and we may all learn something useful in the process. You make me want to be a more productive man.
Apple, how I loathe thee, let me count the ways. It’s been exactly seven days since I traveled to Kingston, bit the bullet and bought an iPhone. As a long time PC guy and legacy Blackberry fan it was a tough decision but admittedly – I in no way regret it. What a wonderful little piece of gadgety goodness. Here are some of my initial thoughts after a week of use.
General iPhone Observations
I’ll start with my very favorite feature – voicemail. With my Blackberry and every other cell phone I’ve ever owned I hated having to call in, enter a password and then listen to 17 voicemails on Sunday morning which went something like “Hi, this is Skip. But you probably know that cause my name will be in your call log. Anyway, just wanted to call you and see what you were up to. Call me back, but it’s in no way important and I shouldn’t have even left this stupid, redundant message. Bye.” On the iPhone voicemail callers are presented in a list as buttons, and you can listen to delete them in any order without having to enter a password! There is also a “speaker” button at the top right of the voicemail screen which allows you to listen to said messages without even having to put the phone up to your ear. I love this!
The call quality and volume is always top-notch, and I’ve yet to drop a signal or ask someone to repeat themselves. But then again, Mushmouth doesn’t call me anymore.
I bought an accompanying headset which is great for the car, never getting laid again and lying on the couch without the strength or motivation to sit up and grab your phone. It synchs seamlessly with the iPhone as soon as you switch it on and you can answer calls by tapping the top of it. It’s also very subtle so I’m not going to look like a complete iTard. Operative word there being “complete”.
It’s nice to have a camera on my phone again and I look forward to using it with Facebook and TwitPic to share my silly adventures. I’m hoping to find a WordPress plugin that can auto-post to the blog as well. There’s no flash and it only works well in bright areas but I can live with that.
The UI is terrific, with nothing but a touch screen and solitary button to worry about. The screen keypad takes some getting used to, but after a week my speed and accuracy has improved dramatically. I do, however, type in landscape mode whenever possible.
Email is definitely decent with the ability to separate different POP accounts into multiple inboxes. Currently I’m running everything into GMail and then over to the phone using IMAP to save on data transfer costs. I have yet to come up with the ideal workflow for the email, but I’m getting there. I am seriously considering abandoning Outlook altogether and using Google Mail, Calendar and their respective Remember the Milk plugins for all business processes. This is a scary jump to make but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s the way to go.
iPhone Application Ruminations
Landscape is an app which allows you to write emails and texts using the landscape keyboard layout. This is excellent for fat-fingered behemoths like myself who cry themselves to sleep with a melted dollop of Ben & Jerry’s on their chest every night, pining for their Blackberrys.
Smacktalk consists of nothing else but a series of animals (guinea pig, terrier, kitten, chihuaua) who repeat whatever you say to them in a high pitched voice. When I visited my father at the hospital last week he laughed his head off, which is rare. This one is obviously going to be huge with children and dementia patients.
Dad’s favorite app, however, was definitely Galaga – where the classic 80’s arcade game is recreated on the phone with startling accuracy, right down to the soundtrack. I hope to see a lot of other old games brought back to life in this way. May I suggest Spy Hunter?
VoiceNote is another app I’ve used a lot over the last week. When I think of something that needs to be done and I don’t have one of my trusty notebooks in front of me I simply open it up and record the note to be captured somewhere later. Simple, but great for disciples of GTD such as myself.
Facebook kind of goes without saying, as does the Tweetie app. Good integration with these popular websites/enormous wastes of time.
Fex pulls all my friend’s profile photos out of Facebook and assigns them automatically to corresponding names in my iPhone address book. Not entirely necessary, but very neat!
Chordmaster shows you the fingering for any guitar chord you can imagine and also plays an example when you strum the screen. You can also use it to properly tune your mighty rock axe.
The Google app lets me check email, calendar, RSS feeds, documents and every other major tool that they offer under a Google account. It tends to be so slow that I don’t use it much, but hey – I live in the damn woods. Maybe this one will get more use in civilization.
Those are the applications I’ve installed and used so far. I would love to hear about your favorites. No doubt there are several hundred I haven’t gotten to yet. If you have any iPhone app recommendations please leave them in the comments. Jesus, I love technology. It’s an amazing time to be alive.