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Summary:

With Apple’s recent banning of the Google Voice App from its App Store, some technorati are ditching their iPhones. The reasons given for switching from the device tend to be more politically-charged than practical. While I think it is important for us to understand the corporate […]

iphone_3G_SWith Apple’s recent banning of the Google Voice App from its App Store, some technorati are ditching their iPhones. The reasons given for switching from the device tend to be more politically-charged than practical. While I think it is important for us to understand the corporate politics behind the companies whose products we use, I also believe that we choose our mobile devices for four main reasons — and politics isn’t one of them:

  1. Access – what kind of coverage does the service get?
  2. Availability -- what services are available in one’s area and what devices do they carry?
  3. Pricing — what services offer the best pricing packages?
  4. Features — what functionality does the devices they offer provide?

For me, it’s the features of the iPhone and, in particular, the ecosystem of apps available through the App Store, that really set it head and shoulders above its competition. To show why I think it is shortsighted to ditch the iPhone, I’m going to share some of the apps that are on my iPhone that have made a massive difference to my work process and productivity. You couldn’t pay me to give up my iPhone because of all of the efficiencies it has brought to my work.

Here are seven key categories of apps that bring productivity to my fingertips, and the apps that I use:

  1. Voice memos. I often have multiple apps on my iPhone that do similar things, just to test them all out. I am currently using iTalk (note: there is also a premium iTalk version), iRecorder, Audioboo (more for publishing audio commentary) and now there are is the new Voice Memos feature included with the latest version of the iPhone operating system.
  2. Time tracking. Currently on my iPhone are TimeXchange, TapTimer, and the app from Task2Gather. My only downfall right now is picking one to use on a consistent basis. I’m actually holding out for an app from 5pm, the project management system I use, to input my time working on projects.
  3. To-do lists. I’ve had a slew of to-do list apps on my iPhone, but am currently using Zenbe. However, there are many to-do list applications that can sync with whatever software you use, including ToodleDo.
  4. Document access. I have a PDF Reader, as well as MiGhtyDocs to access my Google Docs, and Datacase to store and view files on my iPhone.
  5. Blog publishing. I can edit my blogs from anywhere using apps for Typepad and Tumblr (Tumble free or Tumble Pro). And I just downloaded BlogPress to try on multiple blog publishing platforms, including Blogger.
  6. Social networking. I’m able to access my social networking sites including MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Tripit and Skype. You can also try TweetMyFace for Twitter, MySpace and Facebook posting all-in-one.
  7. Twitter access. Because the two most common ways I stay in touch are email and Twitter, being able to easily access my multiple Twitter accounts is critical for me. I use Tweetie most of the time but still use Twittelator, and am trying out the Tweetdeck app now. I’m also trying Boxcar to get push notifications of my DMs and @ mentions.

Throw in email and Web access as well as “clipping” apps such as Instapaper (Free and Pro) and Evernote, newsreaders including NetNewsWire, and reference apps such as Wikipanion (Free and Plus) and the Dictionary.com app, complete with dictionary and thesaurus, and you have an elegant, portable mini workspace.

How do you decide on what mobile device to use — or not use — to get work done from anywhere?

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  1. It is annoying occasionally that Apple restricts certain apps, but i dont love google thaaaat much so as to ditch my iPhone over the issue. I can still use the iPhone apps that are my faves on iPhone – Skype and HyperOffice – so i’m happy :).

  2. I can do all of those things on my Blackberry. Plus I’m not tied to AT&T, and I can actually type an email without wanting to throw it through the window.

  3. Brandon Tomlinson Thursday, August 6, 2009

    I can do all of this on my g1, it’s cheaper (also I can get phone insurance)

  4. I will ditch my iPhone for the next gen iPod Touch (comes out in September) plus the Verizon Mifi. This allows me to retain the iPhone apps and functionality while freeing myself from AT&T (which is the main problem for me).

  5. I will ditch my iPhone for the next gen iPod Touch (comes out in September) plus the Verizon Mifi. This allows me to retain the iPhone apps and functionality while freeing myself from AT&T (which is the main problem for me).

    That is our plan – no AT&T for us, even though we have been looking longingly at our friends’ iPhones. We agree with your linked article: “it has the potential to be a game-changer”

  6. David Turnbull Thursday, August 6, 2009

    It is a bummer how Apple’s app store policy is a tad iffy, but it’s certainly not enough to ditch my iPhone. There’s just too much functionality for me to consider anything else.

  7. Simon Mackie Friday, August 7, 2009

    @Veit — that’s a good idea.

  8. I used to want an iPhone and part of me still does, but lately, I’ve been thinking of getting an android or something similar. I’m not sure Apple and the app store are quite as bad as some of the blogger-elite have made them out to be, but Apple’s policies multiplied by their inconsistency in regards to apps have really turned me off.

    Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone has already been a “game-changer” and Apple has set a new standard for what a phone can be, but their recent actions have also made them (and to some extent- AT&T) a landmark case in “how NOT to do things”.

    I’d rather take my chances with apps on an unregulated and open platform than submit myself to a unpredictable review board that decides to only filter mass-spammers after getting 900+ apps in or blocks some apps because you can look up the Kama Sutra, etc.

  9. I also believe that we choose our mobile devices for four main reasons — and politics isn’t one of them

    Obviously others disagree. The only way to really show displeasure with something a company does is vote with your pocketbook. If this stuff had happened before my recent 3GS upgrade I wouldn’t have given Apple the money. They are getting a bit carried away and its getting worse….not better…contrary to what Phil Schiller would have us believe in his response to Gruber over at Daring Fireball.

  10. I hate AT&T (except rollover minutes), but love the iPhone. I’m totally non-technical but once I found out how easy it is to jailbreak and get the GV app, it was a no brainer. The only thing Apple and AT&T have accomplished is forcing thousands if not millions of people like me who would never have considered such an idea to jailbreak their iPhones.

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