Experiencing the iPhone

My New iPhone

by David Price

I was born two years before man landed on the moon. My earliest memory is actually watching the moon landing on a static-filled black and white television, up at our cottage in New Hampshire. I have grown up in the age of hand-held electronic gadgets, and I have seen them all. The very first has to be the transistor radio, followed by those nifty electronic calculators that we used to write “ShELL01L” upside down. I guess I have always been intrigued by these devices, because I can remember owning all of them. Digital wrist watches were cool, with their glow-in-the-dark faces and their nifty electronic beeps. Remember the first hand-held electronic video games? I had this “football” game which was really just a bunch of red dots on a screen. You controlled one electronic light and had to evade all the others on your way to scoring a touchdown. In eighth grade, I even remember having a digital watch that had a scaled down version of Space Invaders on it.

There was some electronic innovation in the eighties, of course. The eighties gave birth to some of the technology which today practically runs our lives, like the cell phone and the personal computer. There were some cool gadgets too, like the Walkman. Everybody had to have one of those. This was also the time of the birth of the Compact Disc, which would go a long way to revolutionizing music. I bought my first VCR in the eighties, too. Then in the nineties, cell phones started to catch on and become an affordable technology. The Palm Pilot was a nice digital replacement for

those hefty day planners some people used. Personal computers and video games took a giant leap, and the internet was born. It’s all gone crazy since then, hasn’t it? Now we have technology that looks like it is straight out of science fiction. Star Trek even seems a bit short-sighted, doesn’t it?

What if I were to tell you that there is a device that can replace just about every hand-held device you have ever owned, except for possibly the Taser gun? That device is, of course, the iPhone. I purchased my iPhone about six weeks ago and I am constantly amazed at how useful it is. The keys are the apps. You have to find the right apps, but once you do, you find out what an amazing little device this is. Where do I begin? Last week, my wife had to travel to a bridal shower in an unfamiliar town. She was going to just use the GPS, but couldn’t find the power cord. I pulled up the GPS app on my iPhone, programmed in her destination, and sent her on her merry way, with my iPhone, unfortunately. But hey, at least the emergency was solved. When she returned from the shower she told me it was a good thing I had given her the iPhone, because the directions she had received from my mother were wrong.

Another app I particularly enjoy is called “Around Me.” This is another one that uses the GPS feature, and will show you just about any kind of business in the area that need. Around Me lists stores, banks, atms, bars, coffee shops, gas stations, hospitals, movie theaters, and, well, you get the picture. It is very useful. As a contractor by trade, I travel to wherever the jobs take me. Sometimes we find ourselves in unfamiliar cities looking for a bank, or someplace to grab lunch. Problem solved. With the Xfinity TV app, I can set up the DVR to record a show from anywhere. I also have a local news app, which has proven useful with traffic and news alerts. I like sports, so I have a few of those apps that keep me updated with scores and information. Do you like space? I have two NASA apps; one for regular news, and one for NASA TV. There are also cool sky map apps like Sky Safari and Star Walk. With Star Walk, you can point your iPhone at the sky and it will identify constellations and satellites for you. If you are one of those people who has all those rewards club tags hanging from your key ring, there is an app called, you guessed it, Key Ring, which will scan all of those into your phone so you don’t have to carry them around anymore. If you just can’t live without your social media there are apps for Facebook and Twitter.

Is going green important to you? Thanks to the iPhone, paper and pencils are now obsolete. The iPhone is a notebook and a calendar. With the Stitcher app, you can link to magazine articles that interest you. Combine this with the Nook and Kindle apps and you have the ability to carry around a small library. Add a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, and word search app, and time spent sitting in a waiting room flies by. You actually have access to what you want to read, not what the dentist office sees fit to provide (like two years of Golf Digest or Woman’s Day). If you are a comic book geek, you can even get some cool comic book apps like Comixology, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Dark Horse Comics. Comic books delivered right to your phone. Who knew? Last month, I attended a science fiction convention in Boston called Arisia. An app called Guidebook took the place of a paper program and listed every event available at the con.

I have tried to show how this amazing little device can take the place of every other device you own. The iPhone was based on the iPod touch, so saying it plays all your music goes without saying, but I also added the Pandora radio app, because I don’t like to clog up the phone with too much music. I am always trying to improve myself or learn something new, so I like to rotate an audiobook through there. I would rather leave enough space for any cool apps that come along. Flixster is great if you like to go to the movies. I’ll never call Movie Phone again. You can even watch movies and TV on your phone with either Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes. I’m not really one for watching video on the small screen, but my kids seem to like it. One app that looks cool, but I haven’t had a chance to try yet, is called Bump. If you and another person both have this app, you can just touch phones and it exchanges contact info. I like to get little bits of inspiration once in a while, so I also have the Notes from the Universe app by Mike Dooley. I’ve saved the games for last because I’m sure most of you are familiar with many of the addictive games that are available. In case you are not, many of the favorites are Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Tetris, Bejeweled, Doodle Jump and Words with Friends. That’s pretty much everything I have experienced with the iPhone so far. Six months or a year from now, who knows what else I will be doing with this amazing little device? To sum up, it’s awesome.

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