The Future is iPhone-tastic

March 26th, 2008 44 Comments

maps2.pngLately, I’ve been bummed that the SDK announcement underwhelmed, handcuffing would-be developers with restrictions that make apps significantly less functional than expected. As a user, I want more apps that do more.

And then a couple nights ago, I got a reminder of how sweet the iPhone really is.

I was at Nicholas Restaurant, a great place Eddie introduced me to, picking up some Lebanese food for dinner. Nicholas doesn’t take credit cards, which for the life of me, I cannot remember, even though I’ve been there several times. They do take personal checks, which I find very odd.

Anyway, so I’m stuck with no cash.

I don’t know about you, but I hate paying ATM fees. So, I want to get cash out of my bank’s ATM to duck the fees, but I’m not sure where the nearest ATM is. Enter the iPhone.

I go to my bank’s site and discover they have a mobile version, which is nice. I enter zip code and scroll to find the nearest ATM to me. Also nice. Then I see they have options to “Drop Pin on Map” and get “Directions to Here”. So. Very. Cool.

I drop the pin on the map, use the My Location feature of Google Maps to location my rough location, and I have turn-by-turn directions to the ATM, which was within a few blocks. No fuss, no mess.

This is why I bought an iPhone in the first place. I’ve used the My Location feature several times to find my way around places like downtown San Francisco, San Jose, Pittsburgh and Hawai’i. I know it’s not GPS, but I’ve not been disappointed yet. The only drawback is that it doesn’t tell me audibly which way to go.

Couple My Location with the power of the Interwebs, and you have a really useful tool. I used search recently to find Fed Ex Kinkos near a zip code. Google automatically puts the results on a map, but in the iPhone version, you can open the map with all the locations in the Maps app. Then use My Location to find the closest one and get directions. Apparently, there’s a video on how to do this already.

This stuff rules. I found myself wondering if all the restrictions in the SDK will matter, since I can get pretty complete funcitonality right now, for free.

Pretty futuristic stuff, and if you don’t believe me, check out the reprint of “What Will Life Be Like in the Year 2008?” originally published in Modern Mechanix in 1968. Oddly, my story highlights the correct predictions (the power of computers) and the incorrect ones (money has disappeared).

Do you have any iPhone stories, good or bad? If you don’t have one, why haven’t you made the jump? Sound off in comments.


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44 Responses to “The Future is iPhone-tastic”

  1. Pink iPhone Says:

    Made On My Mac â?? Everything done, seen and played with on my macwrote an interesting post today on Here’s a quick excerpt Lately, I’ve been bummed that the SDK announcement underwhelmed, handcuffing would-be developers with restrictions that make apps significantly less functional than expected. As a user, I

  2. Gearfire.com Says:

    Dean Lucaswrote an interesting post today on Here’s a quick excerpt This is why I bought an iPhone in the first place. I’ve used the My Location feature several times to find my way around places like downtown San Francisco, San Jose, Pittsburgh and

  3. Gearfire.com Says:

    Dean Lucaswrote an interesting post today on Here’s a quick excerpt This is why I bought an iPhone in the first place. I’ve used the My Location feature several times to find my way around places like downtown San Francisco, San Jose, Pittsburgh and

  4. Carl Backstrom Says:

    3g , Replaceable Battery , GPS , standard headset .

    As soon as those are taken care of I’ll probably buy my first Apple product since the Newton ………. maybe.

  5. Carl Backstrom Says:

    3g , Replaceable Battery , GPS , standard headset .

    As soon as those are taken care of I’ll probably buy my first Apple product since the Newton ………. maybe.

  6. Jake Says:

    @Carl: You sound like you’re still mad about that Newton purchase. Do you have a preferred alternative you’d like to push?

  7. Jake Says:

    @Carl: You sound like you’re still mad about that Newton purchase. Do you have a preferred alternative you’d like to push?

  8. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake Ah I have a much older hate for Apple than just the Newton, that’s just the last Apple product I broke down and bought, it just ended up being much less than the hype made it out to be.

    I have an HTC Hermes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_TyTN which I like but is a definitely a brick , good for street fights, but ever since I put a HTC Touch interface http://www.htctouch.com/ on it pretty much rocks.

    Don’t get me wrong the iPhone looks awesome and I mess with one everytime I get my hands on one, but other than the full webbrowser , very nice, there isn’t a whole lot it does that a regular smart phone doesn’t, except not look like a brick.

    If I’m going to get locked into the Apple Store and the AT&T plan I want to wait for the hardware to be 2.0

    Or maybe I’ll just wait for a gPhone.

  9. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake Ah I have a much older hate for Apple than just the Newton, that’s just the last Apple product I broke down and bought, it just ended up being much less than the hype made it out to be.

    I have an HTC Hermes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_TyTN which I like but is a definitely a brick , good for street fights, but ever since I put a HTC Touch interface http://www.htctouch.com/ on it pretty much rocks.

    Don’t get me wrong the iPhone looks awesome and I mess with one everytime I get my hands on one, but other than the full webbrowser , very nice, there isn’t a whole lot it does that a regular smart phone doesn’t, except not look like a brick.

    If I’m going to get locked into the Apple Store and the AT&T plan I want to wait for the hardware to be 2.0

    Or maybe I’ll just wait for a gPhone.

  10. Meg Bear Says:

    I am soo looking forward to this, finally something to help with my sense of direction disability…fingers crossed for mothers day.

  11. Meg Bear Says:

    I am soo looking forward to this, finally something to help with my sense of direction disability…fingers crossed for mothers day.

  12. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake Yup sure 1st time I break down and by Apple it had to be the Newton.

    I like the different HTC products especially the HTC Tilt and HTC Touch http://www.mobiletechreview.com/phones/ATT-Tilt.htm I have the HTC 8525 both are definitely bricks though.

    I know 3 people personally that have had battery problems within weeks, which is why replaceable batteries would be nice, On long trips it would nice to have a charged up extra etc.

    Not saying that I won’t ever buy and iPhone, the web browser and form factor are absolutely #1 right now, it just seems like it locks you to much into the ‘Apple’ world, software/usage wise.

    And how long till a phone that is looks almost exactly the same and is running Windows or Symbian comes out without all the lock in.

  13. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake Yup sure 1st time I break down and by Apple it had to be the Newton.

    I like the different HTC products especially the HTC Tilt and HTC Touch http://www.mobiletechreview.com/phones/ATT-Tilt.htm I have the HTC 8525 both are definitely bricks though.

    I know 3 people personally that have had battery problems within weeks, which is why replaceable batteries would be nice, On long trips it would nice to have a charged up extra etc.

    Not saying that I won’t ever buy and iPhone, the web browser and form factor are absolutely #1 right now, it just seems like it locks you to much into the ‘Apple’ world, software/usage wise.

    And how long till a phone that is looks almost exactly the same and is running Windows or Symbian comes out without all the lock in.

  14. Carl Backstrom Says:

    battery problems with iphone

  15. Carl Backstrom Says:

    battery problems with iphone

  16. Dan Norris Says:

    @Carl Wait, are you saying that if the phone runs Windows that would not be locked in? Personally, I haven’t ever owned a Mac (though I did have a kick-ass Apple IIgs with 1Mb RAM back in the day), but if I’m gonna be locked in, I’d rather lock in to Jobsworld than Gatesland. Having worked with Windows a lot, I sure don’t think Jobsworld could have anything quite so frustrating. And, even if it is a little frustrating, at least I’d be cooler than I am now (no where to go but up really) for having an Apple.

  17. Dan Norris Says:

    @Carl Wait, are you saying that if the phone runs Windows that would not be locked in? Personally, I haven’t ever owned a Mac (though I did have a kick-ass Apple IIgs with 1Mb RAM back in the day), but if I’m gonna be locked in, I’d rather lock in to Jobsworld than Gatesland. Having worked with Windows a lot, I sure don’t think Jobsworld could have anything quite so frustrating. And, even if it is a little frustrating, at least I’d be cooler than I am now (no where to go but up really) for having an Apple.

  18. Jake Says:

    @Carl: I’ve not had battery issues yet, but I always travel w/the charger, which is simply a USB cable. That’s a bonus.

    Lock in doesn’t bother me b/c I want function, and I get that w/o even jailbreaking it. After a jailbreak, you get a whole lot more.

    Was your second comment a SEO-seed?

    @Dan: Don’t be disappointed, but I’ve not observed a self cool factor rise post-iPhone.

    I like that computing power is cheap enough for me to have an XP laptop for work, and a Macbook running an Ubuntu virtual machine. This allows me to bork all the major O/S in a single day.

    Life is good.

  19. Jake Says:

    @Carl: I’ve not had battery issues yet, but I always travel w/the charger, which is simply a USB cable. That’s a bonus.

    Lock in doesn’t bother me b/c I want function, and I get that w/o even jailbreaking it. After a jailbreak, you get a whole lot more.

    Was your second comment a SEO-seed?

    @Dan: Don’t be disappointed, but I’ve not observed a self cool factor rise post-iPhone.

    I like that computing power is cheap enough for me to have an XP laptop for work, and a Macbook running an Ubuntu virtual machine. This allows me to bork all the major O/S in a single day.

    Life is good.

  20. Jake Says:

    @Meg: Good luck with that. You should create a Google Alert for your children to track all your iPhone pinings, something like “meg bear wants iphone”. Then, post that comment in all the posts here and on TalentedApps.

  21. Jake Says:

    @Meg: Good luck with that. You should create a Google Alert for your children to track all your iPhone pinings, something like “meg bear wants iphone”. Then, post that comment in all the posts here and on TalentedApps.

  22. bex Says:

    Far be it for me to continue my role as the serial contrarian, but… cell phones suck.

    In my opinion, cell phones have yet to cross the threshold to become more useful than a map and a plan.

    For those of us who carry cash and know where we’re going, they have little benefit.

  23. bex Says:

    Far be it for me to continue my role as the serial contrarian, but… cell phones suck.

    In my opinion, cell phones have yet to cross the threshold to become more useful than a map and a plan.

    For those of us who carry cash and know where we’re going, they have little benefit.

  24. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake no SEO bad fingers, well like I know three people that have had problems and more than haven’t. Truthfully I don’t really care so much about the software, iPhone does what my phone does now (except 3g) I just want better hardware specs. To be fair I did have to return my phone once because it got so hot here in Vegas that the solder on the ribbon cable melted.

    @Dan I’ve been able to re-rom my phone multiple times to try different interfaces and have a bunch of third party programs, the HTC has been the most modifiable phone I’ve ever had.

  25. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake no SEO bad fingers, well like I know three people that have had problems and more than haven’t. Truthfully I don’t really care so much about the software, iPhone does what my phone does now (except 3g) I just want better hardware specs. To be fair I did have to return my phone once because it got so hot here in Vegas that the solder on the ribbon cable melted.

    @Dan I’ve been able to re-rom my phone multiple times to try different interfaces and have a bunch of third party programs, the HTC has been the most modifiable phone I’ve ever had.

  26. Jake Says:

    @bex: Ouch. What’s so sucky about cell phones, smart or not? I’ve not heard anyone say that having a cell phone is bad, unless it’s a work phone (a la beeper) that blows up all the time.

    @Carl: I was wondering if your locale affected your phone decisions. You don’t think a jailbroken iPhone would be the sweetest mod ever?

  27. Jake Says:

    @bex: Ouch. What’s so sucky about cell phones, smart or not? I’ve not heard anyone say that having a cell phone is bad, unless it’s a work phone (a la beeper) that blows up all the time.

    @Carl: I was wondering if your locale affected your phone decisions. You don’t think a jailbroken iPhone would be the sweetest mod ever?

  28. Floyd Says:

    Jake,

    Your original post hints at a point that’s been floating around in my head for the past two weeks: I’m not sure the new SDK is all that relevant . The value I get from the iPhone is threefold: 1)a cell phone, 2)a Web appliance, and 3)a great UI experience. It’s already a fine cell phone and provides a great UI experience. Most of the apps I want are already available so long as I consider the iPhone to be a Web appliance (you share a great example in your post). As I don’t have any hard evidence yet that the SDK will improve any of those three areas (and “improving” is very different from “changing”), I’m not convinced that the SDK will be all that relevant. Going back to my Missouri roots: show me.

  29. Floyd Says:

    Jake,

    Your original post hints at a point that’s been floating around in my head for the past two weeks: I’m not sure the new SDK is all that relevant . The value I get from the iPhone is threefold: 1)a cell phone, 2)a Web appliance, and 3)a great UI experience. It’s already a fine cell phone and provides a great UI experience. Most of the apps I want are already available so long as I consider the iPhone to be a Web appliance (you share a great example in your post). As I don’t have any hard evidence yet that the SDK will improve any of those three areas (and “improving” is very different from “changing”), I’m not convinced that the SDK will be all that relevant. Going back to my Missouri roots: show me.

  30. Jake Says:

    @Floyd: I share your opinions about the SDK. I was hoping for something closer to what you can do with a jailbreak, minus the carrier switch.

    The iPhone has huge potential for standalone web apps, divorced from the browser. Maps is just one example. I can’t get too geeked about widgets or AIR apps on a traditional computer, but the small interface of the smart phone makes them much more useful.

    The SDK handcuffs apps, making the really cool web apps impossible. So, I was excited, but not anymore.

    Carl’s point about lock-in to iTunes is valid too. If the SDK does produce decent apps, I will have to buy them, or hope Apple rolls them into updates later.

  31. Jake Says:

    @Floyd: I share your opinions about the SDK. I was hoping for something closer to what you can do with a jailbreak, minus the carrier switch.

    The iPhone has huge potential for standalone web apps, divorced from the browser. Maps is just one example. I can’t get too geeked about widgets or AIR apps on a traditional computer, but the small interface of the smart phone makes them much more useful.

    The SDK handcuffs apps, making the really cool web apps impossible. So, I was excited, but not anymore.

    Carl’s point about lock-in to iTunes is valid too. If the SDK does produce decent apps, I will have to buy them, or hope Apple rolls them into updates later.

  32. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake: >> I was wondering if your locale affected your phone decisions.

    Huh?

  33. Carl Backstrom Says:

    @Jake: >> I was wondering if your locale affected your phone decisions.

    Huh?

  34. Jake Says:

    @Carl: I was wondering if the Las Vegas heat affected your phone decisions, i.e. the extreme heat. I find my iPhone gets pretty hot when I use it for an extended period of time. That can’t be good in 100+ degree heat.

  35. Jake Says:

    @Carl: I was wondering if the Las Vegas heat affected your phone decisions, i.e. the extreme heat. I find my iPhone gets pretty hot when I use it for an extended period of time. That can’t be good in 100+ degree heat.

  36. Carl Backstrom Says:

    Yeah man, but it’s a dry heat!
    http://www.moviesoundclips.net/movies1/aliens/heat.wav

    It actually gets pretty hot as well guess it’s just the nature smart phone’s.

    The main factor was it was ,at the time, the best rated to be used as a cell modem for my laptop, and I’ve absolutely got my moneys worth in that respect.

  37. Carl Backstrom Says:

    Yeah man, but it’s a dry heat!
    http://www.moviesoundclips.net/movies1/aliens/heat.wav

    It actually gets pretty hot as well guess it’s just the nature smart phone’s.

    The main factor was it was ,at the time, the best rated to be used as a cell modem for my laptop, and I’ve absolutely got my moneys worth in that respect.

  38. Scotty Says:

    “I go to my bank’s site and discover they have a mobile version, which is nice. ”

    Why do you need a mobile version? Isn’t one of the iPhone’s big selling (marketing) points that you get the “full internet”? It’s pretty funny that the “full internet” is one of the great claims of the iPhone, yet so many sites are creating “iPhone friendly” versions of their site. I guess it’s marketing vs. what consumers actually want their experience to be like…most folks truly don’t need the “full internet” on their mobile device, just pages that let them quickly access the information they’re looking for.

  39. Scotty Says:

    “I go to my bank’s site and discover they have a mobile version, which is nice. ”

    Why do you need a mobile version? Isn’t one of the iPhone’s big selling (marketing) points that you get the “full internet”? It’s pretty funny that the “full internet” is one of the great claims of the iPhone, yet so many sites are creating “iPhone friendly” versions of their site. I guess it’s marketing vs. what consumers actually want their experience to be like…most folks truly don’t need the “full internet” on their mobile device, just pages that let them quickly access the information they’re looking for.

  40. Jake Says:

    @Scotty: You’re partially right. As an example, when I’m in line somewhere or killing time, I like the “full internet” versions because I have time to bounce around, zoom in and out, scroll up and down, etc.

    However, when I need information right away, I can’t be bothered with waiting for Edge to load all the graphics, finding the store locator, entering the zip code, etc.

    So, it’s nice to have two choices. One bummer is some sites, like nfl.com, force me to look at their crappy mobile version by redirecting me to it when I go to nfl.com.

    So, Apple over-markets the utility of “full internet”, and websites compensate by offering slimmed down iPhone versions.

  41. Jake Says:

    @Scotty: You’re partially right. As an example, when I’m in line somewhere or killing time, I like the “full internet” versions because I have time to bounce around, zoom in and out, scroll up and down, etc.

    However, when I need information right away, I can’t be bothered with waiting for Edge to load all the graphics, finding the store locator, entering the zip code, etc.

    So, it’s nice to have two choices. One bummer is some sites, like nfl.com, force me to look at their crappy mobile version by redirecting me to it when I go to nfl.com.

    So, Apple over-markets the utility of “full internet”, and websites compensate by offering slimmed down iPhone versions.

  42. Jake Says:

    @Carl: Las Vegas heat feels like the vent of a huge air conditioner.

  43. Jake Says:

    @Carl: Las Vegas heat feels like the vent of a huge air conditioner.

  44. 2008 April 08 | ORACLE-BASE Blog Aggregator Says:

    [...] iPhone has a great example of this in its Maps app. The beauty of taking apps out of the browser is you can focus on the app [...]

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