SmartPhone, Part 1

In November of 2011, I got myself an iPhone 4S. This was when they were new on the market. Black, 32 gig, if you were wondering.

It was an uphill battle to convince my parents that I should be able to have a smartphone. On Tuesday, my dad got himself an iPhone 5, the first day his contract was up and he was able to get a new phone. My mom has had hers since last year. They now both believe firmly that the things are darn useful. I’ll be upgrading mine this year when the contract is up for renewal, but that’s only because I want to, my current phone is still really awesome.

So, what can it do? This post, and the one next week, are going to be a detailed look at the apps I have, and the things they’ve replaced for me. Note that, while a few are Apple specific, almost all of them will be available on any Android phone, and good luck to anyone with a windows phone.

Obviously, it replaced my previous phone. And, simply as a phone, it is much better. Contacts are easier to access, voicemail is easier to listen to, I can use Siri to call someone hands-free. (The voice over on my old phone was GARBAGE.) I like the sound quality more, and it’s easier to do things like put the phone into speakerphone mode.

It also replaced the text-messaging on my old phone. Again, this is much improved. I have long fingernails on one hand (because of my guitar playing… I need to do a post on them sometime.), and typing on a tiny phone keyboard with physical keys was a royal pain. Now, it’s all touch, and I’m decently fast at it. I can, obviously, also use dictation or Siri to speed things up even more, especially when, like today, it’s cold out, and I’m wearing gloves. (Touch Screens generally work via the electrical impulses in your fingers, and if you have gloves on over your fingers, it won’t respond at all. If I need something that I can’t use Siri for, I have to use my nose, which looks ridiculous.)

The text messaging is also improved in that there is iMessage on there, and I can message more Apple devices than just my phone. I can also send messages to Apple devices through iMessage from my computer, making it even easier than typing on a phone, when possible.

I also have the facebook messenger app on my phone, allowing me to message even more people. And, like iMessage, this one also interfaces with the computer, as well as Android apps, and whatever you can receive FB messages with. They’ve also added a new calling feature, as of yesterday. I don’t know if I’ll ever use it or not.

So, a summary of the above; my phone has replaced all of the features of my old phone, and does a better job at every single one that I can think of. For that alone, it’s a better phone.

But that’s far from everything. I’ll talk about my handful of most used apps here, and the rest will come in a post next week.

It has replaced my alarm clock. This is because I can set the alarms to be at different times, turn them on and off, set reminders with them, and change the sounds with them. I can also move my phone across the room easily, which forces me to get up in the mornings to turn my alarms off. Note: I still have my physical alarm clock in my room, next to my bed, but that’s mostly because it hasn’t broken yet. When it does, I expect to get rid of the thing, and not get a new one.

It has replaced my pocketbook calendar. The calendar on my phone is incredibly useful. Not only can I put events on it, I can put them to repeat. I was thus able to enter an entire semester’s worth of classes in about 5 minutes. I can also set it to remind me about events, and record information about where I need to go for the events. I can set up calendar information from my computer. But the best part is that it syncs with other calendars. I also have my dad and my mom’s calendar’s on the phone, and they have mine on theirs. It’s incredibly useful, because we can keep track of where each other is, and when they’ll be available again.

Mail and internet. While it didn’t specifically replace anything (I still check my email and surf the internet on the computer much more than I do on my phone.), it it still incredibly helpful. With the internet built in, I can search for and look things up at any time (except the middle of nowhere…), where as before, I would have to wait until I arrived somewhere with internet access, and hope that I had my computer with me. I always have my phone with me, so now it isn’t a problem. Also, receiving mail has been very helpful on occasion. For example, a handful of my classes were cancelled last semester when my teachers were sick; they emailed the entire class when this happened. I only received the email before class because I had my phone with me. Some days, I was able to go home as much as three hours early because of this. I am also able to receive and respond to time sensitive emails much more easily and quickly, which has saved a lot of hassle on many occasions.

Camera. My phone has an 8 megapixel camera. It may not be the best on the market, but it’s pretty darn awesome. It’s better than our old (5-6 years old.) digital camera, which cost about as much as the phone, new. It’s also so much more convenient than carrying a camera around everywhere, in addition to everything else; and it has allowed me to snap a lot more pictures. Also, if you dig back through the archives, you’ll find my Spain trip pictures; every single one of those was taken using my phone camera.

That’s it for today, folks. Expect more next week.

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