Why the iPhone Has Ruined Me for Every Other Phone

@montaignejns??Made an interesting statement last week on Twitter:??Just looking at my iPhone apps. I actually have 8 apps that I use more than the phone "app". That got me thinking, how much do I use my iPhone as a phone?

After some careful consideration, not that much.

Since this summer, I've been jailbreaking my phone. This gives me access to a few "non-Apple approved" apps as well as some interesting functions that the standard iPhone doesn't allow. It's also made me even more productive with the little computer in my pocket.

My Top Ten Most Used apps:

1. Facebook: I am an unabashed, unashamed Facebook-aholic. I've loved Social Networking since the first time I signed into Facebook and MySpace (why wasn't this stuff around when I was actually IN college?), but what Facebook has evolved into is so cool. It's the hub for your online life. A place to catch up with friends, play games, waste time, express yourself, share photos with family and "poke" people that you otherwise would never interact with. The 3.0 version of the iPhone app is only lacking push notifications to make it the best app on the iPhone.

2. qTweeter: Jailbreak app for instant tweeting/Facebook status posting. It runs in the background so you can post from any application.

3. Tweetie 2: recently updated version of the best Twitter app for iPhone. It's fast, it's pretty and it just works. Three things you want when you're talking about instant gratification social networking.

4. Messages: The text message/SMS app built into the iPhone is not only really well built, but is the #1 way I communicate with family and friends. Text messages are quicker, less intrusive and more efficient than actual phone calls. Unless I'm driving, this is probably the way I'm going to answer or pose a question to you during the normal business day.

5. Byline: A Google Reader app, that turns a great service (Google Reader) into a perfect mobile news service. It's got offline caching (although with the iPhone I'm almost never really offline), integration with my folders, labels etc. as well as the ability to email links or open them in Mobile Safari. If you read more than a couple of websites, I strongly recommend Google Reader. If you read those websites on your iPhone or iPod Touch, I strongly recommend Byline.

6. 1Password: One of the most brilliant programs for Mac has a perfect mobile translation and it keeps me from using 12345 for all my passwords. If you use a Mac, get the desktop version of this immediately.

7. Trip Cubby: The first (and one of the few) apps I actually paid money for. This tracks mileage for work reimbursement or tax deduction purposes. While my needs and use of the program are simple, it's got a lot to offer to anyone who travels for work or charity.

8. ESPN Radio: Before the iPhone, I had three things playing in my radio. 1. A mix CD, probably Beatles or Zeppelin, 2. Local talk radio, or 3. ESPN Radio. It's the only reason I know anything about baseball, the way I can ever have any kind of conversation with my wife about soccer, and the source of most of my football knowledge (which is extensive). This app cuts my ties to the fuzzy AM station that carries ESPN near me, and keeps me from searching the dial while travelling. Now, I just plug in the iPhone and choose whether I want the stock national show, a different local show from roughly 15 major markets or one of the myriad of podcasts available from ESPN. Genius.

9. Wikipanion: I've joked on more than one occasion that the iPhone is the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" made real. This app makes that true. Sure, Wikipedia can't always be trusted as accurate. Sure, you should balance anything you read there against your own good judgement. But if you wanna settle an argument over the year in which the New England Patriots were formed, or how many Bond movies Connery appeared in, this is the app to do it.

10. What's On: My grandfather had a TV Guide. My father has an onscreen guide brought to him by his cable company. I (he of no cable, over-the-air, watch-it-online notoriety) have "What's On". It allows me to create multiple "locations" so that when I'm in Baton Rouge at the in-laws' place, I don't have to hunt for the newspaper or wait for the TV Guide channel to roll around to something interesting. I know what's playing and on what channel wherever I am, pretty much instantaneously. You can even set push reminders in the app for shows you don't want to miss. Handy for a man that needs to remember when the good college football games start.

Alright, so in honesty, I probably use my "phone" app more than the last three or four on this list. That wasn't really the point of this post. The point is that while I could find a gadget to give me most of these functions other than the iPhone (a laptop would do just about any of them) I already have my phone with me. And THAT is the real beauty of the iPhone (or, to be fair, any full-featured smartphone). You are tethered to the phone (most people anyway) why not make it as useful as possible???