Monday, April 13, 2009

A Quick Review Of Every App On (And Off Of) My iPhone: Part II: The First Page

First page

The "FixYourThinking bookmarklet" - I like to check my website from time to time ;-)

The "camera app" ... Out of all the applications other than email, I use this application/feature of my iPhone the most. Prior to my iPhone, I had a Nokia 6201i and an Apple Quicktake 200 digital camera (I also had a Fuji 40i and a Canon s250). I have longed for an Apple digital camera since they were discontinued in 1997. Nearly 10 years later ... my wishes were answered with the iPhone. I immediately sold all of my digital cameras and I use the iPhone camera exclusively. Could it be better? Yes. Would I like a zoom? Yes. But I believe that Occum's Razor also applies to photos. The simplest photo with the simplest camera is usually the correct one. I find myself taking 3-5 photos almost every day. I enjoy being able to post pictures directly from my iPhone to this blog and I specifically created a recurring feature article called "iPhone Snaps" to showcase some of the interesting things I take pictures of with my iPhone camera.

The "photos app" ... I like the organization of the photos app - it is nearly identical to iPhoto. I would like to see basic picture manipulation like cropping and resizing ... maybe the ability to place text on a picture. I realize there are some apps in the app store that probably cover the bases of photo manipulation, but I just don't see paying for something that will most likely be added for free in a future iPhone OS update.

The "Fox News bookmarklet" ... The best source for news without the editorial or sensationalism. Without ever customizing the news it seems like the stories I want to read about are just automatically organized for me - almost like mind reading.

The "What's On app" ... I'm not a very avid television watcher ... but when I am watching I like to know what's coming on and when. This is by far the best "TV guide app". It's well organized, easy to set up, and easy to customize. It is tedious to initially get all the channels in order. In the future, I hope that this app will allow you to exclude categories of channels out of your "guide list" - such as shopping and infomercial channels. Since I have DirecTV I have seemingly dozens of useless channels on my dial. I would also like to see "package view" - where the channels in a given provider's package are the only ones viewable - excluding the hundreds of premium and payperview channels that aren't in my monthly purchased package.

The "iPod app" truthfully I only used my previous iPod - a 30GB 3rd Gen as a music and file backup. Rarely did I use it as a music player. I didn't really think I would listen to my music any more having it on my iPhone. I've actually listened to music more and bought more music in the last year than I have since my childhood. Additionally, I was able to sell my iPod on eBay and make a few bucks. I still use my iPhone as a double backup for important files and the main bulk of my favorite songs in my music library. I do wish initial rumors about the iPhone having an onscreen touchwheel would have panned out. I really like the iPod wheel and just wish the iPhone had it. I like the coverflow view on the iPhone a lot - I'm just disappointed that Apple doesn't have some sort of automatic artwork instead of leaving unknown albums with question mark on them. I also dislike that there is a lot of manual tweaking needed to get the iPod app just right - for storage optimization for instance. I recently found out that I had a lot of repeat album artwork - taking up nearly 30MB of extra space. It took me several hours to fix it.

The "Settings app" ... this is probably my least favorite of anything "Apple included" on the iPhone. This app is essentially the hall closet for the phone and incorporates too many settings. It's really overwhelming. I think each app should have it's own separate settings area within the app. I imagine a lot of people are not realizing the full potential of their iPhone because they've never visited or become lost within this app. In my opinion WiFi and Bluetooth should be an app. There's so much tweaking that needs to be done within an easier to access manner with these two "features". I find myself needing to access "WiFi settings" a lot - and it's just a hassle to have to click through several menus to change or tweak what I need to.

The "Weather app" ... Do I like this app? Hmmmm. Yes. Do I like weather forecasting? No. I've downloaded just about all the weather apps, including AccuWeather and The Weather Channel's app. They are ridiculously complicated and just as inaccurate. Just about all weather forecasting is inaccurate. All the other apps in the app store (that are free) have advertisements within the forecasts. I would love to see a radar view, but I imagine Apple will leave this to third party apps. Again, this is more a gripe with weather forecasting because all other sources usually say the same - but on my recent trip to Daytona Beach the weather forecasts for each day were generally 5-7 degrees off.

The "Shazam app" ... this is my favorite iPhone application hands down. It gives the most impressive demo of the iPhone's powerful potential and well ... seems like magic. Before, I looked up sings in commercials on the internet two or three times a week ... some songs can take a lot of time researching. Artists must love this app as I can't imagine that it's not aiding significantly in their sales and discovery. I've found very few songs that Shazam doesn't pick up. The app works simply. Just launch, hit tag now, let it analyze about 10 seconds of the song, and it will tell you what the song is and provide links on YouTube to the music video and links to iTunes to preview and buy it. You can also sing or hum into the microphone and Shazam will analyze you in karaoke mode - I've had limited success using Shazam in this manner but it does work - I guess I'd have to attribute it to my being "off pitch" and a bad singer.

The "Stocks app" ... I don't know why it matters to me as I don't really buy and sell securities and stock often ... I suppose I like to look at the stock market as a mood indicator. I like to watch the steady rise of Apple stock while other tech companies fall and since I have Coca Cola stock - I like to pay attention to it. This app is perfect in my opinion - and does it's job. It is easy to customize and use.

The "Maps app" ... I used Google Maps a lot before I had my iPhone and I use it even more now. I sold my GPS and use Google Maps as my exclusive means of navigation now. I really hope the iPhone OS will add true GPS to the iPhone or Apple will allow TomTom to release a nav app.

The "Merriam-Webster Dictionary bookmaklet" ... why would you buy a dictionary app when you can just bookmark a dictionary website? I use this here for this website and quite a bit during my day.

The "Wikipedia bookmarklet" - I use Wikipedia a lot. I add to Wikipedia often. This is one of the top uses of my iPhone - a constant instant education.

The "HP iPrint app" ... I reviewed how to use and configure this app here. I only wish it would print more than photos (or screenshots).

The "Contacts app" ... perfect - what I have always wanted on a Phone - and integrates perfectly with the Mac OS Contacts. This single application has helped organize my life and time tremendously.

The "Calendar app" ... I use this app quite a bit ... I just wish it were easier to sync multiple calendars amongst iPhones and Macs.

The "iGoogle bookmarklet" - this saves me from having almost a dozen other bookmarklets on my iPhone and wasting screen space ... it just aggregates headlines, stocks, movies, and other things that interest me. Perfect!

The "Tetris app" ... I wanted to avoid having games on my iPhone ... but once Tetris came out and I played it on a friend's iPod Touch ... I had to have it. The best version of Tetris is still on the original Nintendo NES followed by the original Gameboy version. It's really in the controllers - the iPhone touchscreen just isn't the best interface for Tetris.

Here's some really short reviews for you:

Phone app ... perfect!

SMS app ... perfect but I wish I could send MMS (picture messages). I will explain why AT&T has placed this limitation on the iPhone later in this review. I sent more text messages the first month of owning my iPhone that I have ever sent in my whole life.

Mail app ... perfect / couldn't be better has saved me $100's if not $1000's

Safari app ... perfect ... I just wish the iPhone had Flash support but I understand why

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