You may have seen the leaked information on the new iPhone that should be coming out in a couple of months–exciting stuff! That got me to thinking: we have had iPhones since the first generation, and we use them ALL THE TIME. They are fantastic on their own, but there are some apps out there that really make the iPhone shine. What might some of those apps be, you ask? Well, let’s take a look:
We use Milebug every time we get in our car. Your mileage is only tax deductible if you keep a detailed log; I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but if you are, paper and pencil isn’t going to work for this.
Milebug saves your commonly used locations, can track both personal and business mileage, and can track mileage for multiple cars. It will also generate PDF forms that you can email to yourself and print off for written proof of mileage for THE MAN. It also calculates and shows you how much of a tax deduction you get for each trip you enter. This is motivating to continue making sure you update the log every time you get in the car. In January, we drove to East Tennessee for our first wedding of 2010. $251.35 tax deduction.
Before we switched to Mac last year, I used to spend every morning downloading/typing in/updating all of our financial records in Quicken. In addition to being Lameosaurus Rex, I would always miss one or two things here or there, and then I’d have to dig through all the transactions and figured out HOW my totals were off by $0.57 or some other ridiculously small amount.
At the time, Quicken wasn’t available for Mac, so I looked for new solutions. Enter: Mint.com. Wow. Why didn’t someone think of this before? You can access almost all of your financial records online; why do you need to type them in manually, then download them manually, and then match the downloaded transactions to your manually entered transactions? Mint.com just automatically connects to your accounts, and automatically updates them all. You can categorize them to the proper tax categories, you can create budgets, and best of all everything syncs to the iPhone automatically. Not only has this saved me over an hour every week, but putting together my 2008 taxes was the easiest and fastest year, yet.
If you’re not using Shazam, you should be. Ever since I first downloaded this program, I was amazed by the fact that it actually works. You just open it up, hit the ‘tag’ button, and it will listen to 30 seconds of any song that is playing… Then it searches a music database, and returns the details of the song. Artist, song title, album, and a link to purchase via iTunes. How do we use this? At wedding receptions, of course. I’ll tag music that the crowd is really into, and then make note of it so I can play those songs and similar songs when our clients come in to see their wedding images. It turns out that for whatever weird reason that everybody doesn’t like exactly the same music that I do. So, hooray for Shazam, and hooray for the fact that it is FREE.
Are you using the GTD (Getting Things Done) method for task management/to-do/goals? We don’t utilize the full GTD system, but we do try and use the task management portion in addition to setting and achieving our goals. I’ve tried many to-do iPhone apps, and Things has been the best, so far. It is simple, intuitive, and it syncs with the desktop version.
Having said that, no matter which program you use, even if it’s a pencil and paper, you should be using something. Justin & Mary Marantz reminded me a few months ago that 80% of Americans have no goals at all. That’s right. It’s not that 80% don’t keep track of their goals—80% don’t have any goals AT ALL. 16% of Americans do have goals, but they don’t write them down, leaving only 4% that do write them down! And only 1% review their goals regularly. I don’t have a fancy chart in front of me, but I’m sure if you made a chart showing various income distributions in this country, that you could overlay a chart of goal tracking, and there would be a HUGE correlation. If $9.99 helps put you in the write down/keep track category, then you should get this app yesterday!
I Am T-Pain ($2.99)
Wow. Wow. Wow.
For a mere $2.99, you can sing into your iPhone mic, flip the on switch, and you too can be T-Pain. Seriously. Five minutes ago, I was T-Pain. Five minutes from now, I could be T-Pain again. The best part is that after I’m finished being T-Pain, I can go back to being Sean. No big deal. Just like that.
I really enjoy writing impromptu songs about whatever I happen to be doing at any given time. Here, let me share. If I was writing/singing out loud right now, my song might go something like this:
“I’m writing a bloooog post… about iPhone apppppps… I’m not sure yet…. How many apps Imma recommend… But when I figure it oooooout….. I’ll update the blog post tiiiiitle…. With the number of appppps…. That I recommmmmmended!”
Yes. Now imagine THAT… but in T-PAIN voice!
THAT. JUST. HAPPENED.
And so I repeat: Wow. Wow. Wow.
Honorable Mention: Trapster (Free)
Nobody who is reading this ever speeds, right? You know, because that would be wrong and against the law and stuff. Well now that we’ve determined that this app wouldn’t have any use for me, or anyone else who is reading right now… Let’s just veer off into Hypotheticaland and say that someone was interested in knowing where speed traps are set up. Why would someone want that information? I have NO idea—that would be crazy to be interested in that information! But if someone did, enter: Trapster.
Trapster has push notifications, so you don’t have to have the program open and running; however, it is dependent upon other Trapster users flagging speed traps and submitting them to Trapster in order to notify other users… So, it doesn’t always have everything listed. In addition to this, with push notifications, you might not hear/see the notification by the time you are being pulled over. Also, if you pass a speed trap, I’m not really seeing how realistic it would be to submit a report to Trapster as you’re passing by… Because as you’re clicking the flag button, you’ll probably get pulled over for texting even if you weren’t speeding.
So… I’m not going to count this one as a recommendation. “A” for effort; but maybe this one will improve with time.
Five. Five iPhone apps. T-Pain: “Fiiiiiiiive iPhone aaaaaaaapps… that are aweeeeesome!”
Bonus Feature: It’s a Phone!
Yeah. You read that correctly. Did you know that on top of all this other stuff that you can make calls with these things? I know. Incredible! It does so many awesome things that sometimes you forget its a phone. Well, forget no more–now you know.
What is your favorite/most useful iPhone app? Leave your comments, below!