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 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.