Hack the Day is probably the only blog never to have talked about the iPhone. I decided to change this now that the iPhone has launched. Everyone is claiming that it will make their lives more complete and more productive, two justified reasons to pay the price.
But is the iPhone the ultimate productivity tool, as some have been hoping? I take a look into how this device will impact your working style (disclaimer – I wasn’t lucky enough to be born in the iPhone country, so all information below is based on blog reviews and Apple’s documents) and what applications to use for your organizing and productivity purposes.
The device seems to have a decent score at this point, thanks to the easy-to-use software keyboard. Reports claim that you can get pretty fast to a decent typing speed in the built-in apps. Most importantly, it comes with a note-taking app, almost perfect for scribbling down a quick idea. iPhone Notes does have limitations(no “doodle” mode and a strange font) but writing stuff on the screen keyboard is definitely easier than on other PDAs. If Apple decides to sell iPhone keyboards accessories, it might even become your on the road writing tool of choice, replacing even your laptop. The best part of Notes? You can send your notes as email in just a couple of touches.
The iPhone Calendar looks great and works better than any other smartphone calendar. Its killer feature seems to be the list view, listing today’s next actions. Unfortunately, you can’t manage multiple calendars the way you got used to in Outlook or iCal makes any attempt of implementing GTD the iPhone’s built-in calendar impossible. Not being able to schedule separately contexts or projects kinda ruins the whole idea, doesn’t it? Things are not desperate yet, as Leopard might bring a solution by merging email, notes and tasks in a single outlook-like application. And we all know that GTD can be implemented on Outlook, right? In the meantime, the fact that you can sync it with the Mac one should be enough for the unpretentious.
3rd party To-do lists
- OmniFocus – it seems the OmniFocus development team is planning something tasty for the iPhone users : an iPhone compatible web front-end of OmniFocus, running as a webserver on your own computer and syncing tasks with it.
- Ta-da Lists – The wonderfully simple app from 37 Signals has been quickly adapted into a lovely iPhone-friendly interface.
- @task for iPhone
Zoho, the online office suite, has announced the iPhone version of their online office suite – iZoho. It’s free and covers your major needs – online Word with Zoho Writer, online Excel with Zoho Sheet, online Powerpoint with Zoho Show and online Access with Zoho Creator. Rivaling the Google Documents suite, using iZoho from the iPhone seems like the perfect choice for the office manager on the go.
Remote computer access
A little birdie has just brought the breaking news: your OSX desktop is now available remotely on the iPhone, thanks to the magic hands of the QuickSilver creator(QuickSilver is the world-famous application software launcher we’ve written a while ago). The technical wonder doing this is called Telekinesis and allows you to stream music and movies, run apple script programs, control iTunes(so you’d use the iPhone as a very expensive music remote control) and generally do whatever you want with it – you can pretty easily build your own iPhone apps. Talk about never leaving your computer shut down, right?
Managing your budget becomes a critical matter now that you must pay the iPhone AND the monthly fees. It’s compulsory to keep them under control, also by means of 3rd party online apps that are iPhone ready. The first apps that come to mind for managing your expenses are ExpenseView and iPhoneMiles (for tracking your car mileage), but I bet my monthly finances that new ones will appear in the following days. Oh, and since we’re talking Finance we shouldn’t forget the Stocks widget showing you live updates of your portfolio. It comes pre-installed, so no 3rd party here.
Thanks to the unlimited data plan, you can stay online all the time and find great deals for almost anything. Some of the services designed specially for the iPhone include: travel bargains via iPhoneTravel, shopping(comparing Amazon prices) or movies.
Procrastination? Just a bit…
‘Nough said for now. From the looks of it the iPhone is here to stay, and although the packaged-in software is far from satisfying the productivity-oriented manager, 3rd party apps come to the rescue, revolutionizing the entire software application paradigm along the way. No GTD app for now? There may be a great one in development just around the corner. If it’s not, maybe you should get started building the perfect one. The iPhone users around the world will be grateful.
[tags]iPhone, productivity, get things done, applications, roundup[/tags]