iPhone apps have been around as long as I’ve had an iPhone.I got my iPhone about 6 months in, on Christmas of 07, as many people did. Apple hadn’t yet allowed iPhone apps developed with the SKD (and at that point, had no intention of releasing such a thing) and so the Jail-breaking community took the lead and reverse-engineered the iPhone platform for their own purposes. Save for a few games, I didn’t do much with it then and I frankly don’t do much with legit apps now.
I found myself asking the question why that is. Why, with all the functionality and convenience that the iPhone offers, don’t I use that extensibility more often. Below are two of my home screens. I didn’t include the first of the three because there’s nothing there that isn’t included in the box.
So I’ve got a fairly good assortment of iPhone apps. A few games, a few social apps, and some productivity stuff. I have two ToDo type apps, one is a Safari Bookmark to Google Tasks, the other is a Todo app that I was testing out.
Quick Google Tasks Aside: I love tasks, I think it’s great, the iPhone interface is awesome. That said, the major problem that I’m running into is accessibility. I want to see my task list whenever, not just when I’m in cell range. I know… You’re first reaction is something along the lines of “When are you outside of range of a cell tower?” At the very least, the answer is when I’m driving home from work. I wander outside of data range for a few miles because I live on the edge of town, instead of in the center of it. The other one that I see happening, is when I’m at Costco, shopping. Giant corrugated steel warehouses tend not to be the best environment to receive a cell signal in. So if anyone from Google working on Tasks sees this: make a Tasks API, so it can be run locally. The expansion opportunity I see there is huge.
Okay, anyway, back to iPhone apps. What I’ve found is I only use iPhone apps when I don’t have a better alternative available to me. While I can write a blog post while I’m waiting for a movie to begin, or to get my food at a restaurant, it’s usually not a long enough time for me to write out what I would normally otherwise. There’s no way I can type as fast on my iPhone as I can on my keyboard. I tried WordPress on my iPhone, but the best use for it I found was to move pictures (either screenshots or pics with the camera) up to this site so I could use them while I type this on my desktop. If I want to provide a status update, I go to Twitter or Facebook. If I’m trying to pass time, I’ll play a game. I’ve found that the games I get on the iPhone are the free ones and only stay there for a week or so. Their novelty wears off and I replace it with another game to pass idle time.
I think in the end, iPhone apps are a reflection of mobile life, which is compact and quick. A twitter update makes more sense than a blog post because you’re out doing things. That’s the case for most iPhone apps: You only do it as long as it’s easily dropped and picked back up again. This may even be a side effect of Apple’s app policy of “One at a time”.
What apps do you keep on your iPhone/Device? What do you do with them?