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Summary:

Apple has done a lot in terms of pushing sometimes marginal technology to the fore, something it may be able to do with NFC soon, too. But narrowing down that list to a few choice selections that stand out above the rest is surprisingly easy.

iPhone 4S

Apple has done a lot in terms of pushing sometimes marginal technology to the fore, something it may be able to do with NFC soon, too. But narrowing down that list to a few choice selections that stand out above the rest is surprisingly easy. Here are the Apple technological innovations I’m most thankful for.

1. The iPhone. It seems like a no-brainer, but in terms of actual impact on my day-to-day life, nothing beats Apple’s smartphone for transformative power. The iPhone was my first smartphone, and though I’ve temporarily strayed once or twice since then, it remains my go-to mobile device. But why should I be thankful for a device that costs me an arm and a leg each year when I upgrade, and also natters me incessantly with notifications, both meaningful and otherwise?

Because for all its downsides, the iPhone means that I can better stay in touch with friends and loved ones. It also provides tons of entertainment, has reduced the amount of devices I lug around on most trips from four or five to one or two, and includes all the joy of an iPod, too, which would’ve made this list if it wasn’t for the iPhone.

2. Screen sharing built into every Mac. If you manage a multi-Mac household or small business, you know what I’m talking about here. The ability to quickly and easily view and interact with the desktop of any Mac on your local Wi-Fi network is an amazing time-saver that lets me update, manage applications for and coordinate the efforts of all four Macs in operation at my home from my central work computer. Girlfriend runs into a technical problem? Connect, fix, done.

3. iTunes Home Sharing. This feature was one that made a lot of sense for long before it was implemented. Why shouldn’t any Mac or iOS device on your local network play back your iTunes library, so long as they have the proper credentials? That you can both stream and transfer music between libraries on Macs has saved me a lot of headaches, and size restrictions on iPod touches (which usually remain in the house anyways) are no longer an issue.

4. Combo audio in/out ports with remote control. Some will no doubt call me crazy for putting this on a list of tech I’m most thankful for, but considering how much I use it, I don’t think it’s out of place here. Obviously on iPhones and iPod touches it’s great for answering calls and controlling playback, but it also works terrifically well when on your MacBook or iPad watching movies or fielding Skype calls. It’s a thing that I never missed until I had it, and now can’t live without, even on my desktop iMac.

5. The App Store. Another pretty obvious one, but my appreciation has some qualifications. For example, I think the vast majority of the App Store is pretty much a waste of time; even well-designed apps aren’t necessarily useful in the long term. But for the few apps that remain glued to my home screen, like Delivery Status Touch, Next TTC, Instapaper and Reeder, the App Store’s thousands of low-quality, throwaway applications are more than endurable.

Those are my five, but I doubt they’re everyone else’s too. Let us know what Apple tech you’re most thankful for in the comments.

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