Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Love my iPhone

A few weeks ago I bought myself an iPhone and not only have I not regretted it for one moment, I think its the best phone I've ever had.  And the weird thing is ... I'm fond of it.

It's the same feeling of fondness I had back in law school when I had a Mac.  I knew that, as an adult woman, I shouldn't have emotional feelings for inanimate objects but I couldn't help it.  I often said that I loved my Mac. When I went back into the workplace and had to revert to PC world again, it was a downer. 

I was hesitant about the iPhone. I wondered if it was worth the cost; I wondered if it would live up to its hype.  But I needed a new phone and I needed to make a decision. Over the holidays I checked out my sister's new iPhone and decided I was going to do it.  

I've loved it from the first day.

When I was in DC it was a godsend.  We were constantly using it to get information.  I downloaded an app that contained information about the metro system, including a map and a function that would tell you when the trains were due to arrive at a specific metro stop.  I used it to check in for our flights on Southwest so we could get "A" boarding passes even though we were walking around the streets of DC at the time. I used it to find information about tourist attractions.  I used it to text and phone and e-mail (on multiple e-mail accounts).  It was great.  The only downside is that this is my personal phone, not my work phone, and my work place doesn't support iPhones.  So I still had to carry around my work PDA to (try) to get my work e-mails.  (This turned out to be a waste of effort since T-Mobile had terrible service over that weekend and I was without internet and e-mail service for days, but that's another story.)

Now that I'm home I'm trying out the different apps.  Today via Bookninja I came across a new app described in the LA Times Blog "Jacket Copy" called SNAPTELL.  

Dave Weich from Powell’s pulled out his iPhone and showed his colleagues a new free app (name?) that had them all gulping their wine and gasping for air. The app allows iPhone users to simply point their phone at a book jacket (perhaps one they like the looks of on Powell’s store recommendations shelf) and the phone instantly provides a price comparison of everywhere that book is available online.

Well that was interesting.  But it seemed to be just another way to drive local booksellers out of business. I continued to read and it turns out that the app will also give you price information for stores in your area. 

I decided to try it out.  I searched for it in the App Store and it turns out to be free.  I downloaded it.  I clicked the camera icon that appeared at the bottom of the screen, pointed my phone at my new copy of The Book Thief and snapped the picture.  It asked me if I wanted to use that photo or retake the shot (just like it does when it is in regular camera mode).  I clicked "use photo".  Within a few seconds it gave me 21 online prices ranging from $7.10 and 9 local prices from $5.59. Clicking on the local prices line, the first place that came up was the Target store about 8 blocks away from me.   Well, that's not going to help local booksellers either but it is impressive.

I could also access the Google Shopping results (prices and reviews), ebay results,, barnesandnoble and Yahoo results.

I'm committed to buying books from my favorite independent bookstore, Puddn'head Books, but I know I'll still order some books online. It's just too easy to have them delivered directly to my office.  This is a handy little app to have - maybe even to snap a photo while I'm book browsing and pull up all the reviews etc.

Next I need to learn to use the app that identifies the music that is playing and lets you buy it from iTunes.